Industry outplacement increases capability

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT John Thompson (author), ABATV Kieren Whiteley (photographer)

Location(s): HMAS Waterhen

Topic(s): HMAS Waterhen, Fleet Support Unit

Able Seaman Marine Technician Ryan Scott measures a bore for a mine hunter generator at Wartsila Australia in Huntingwood, Sydney. (photo: ABATV Kieren Whiteley)
Able Seaman Marine Technician Ryan Scott measures a bore for a mine hunter generator at Wartsila Australia in Huntingwood, Sydney.

The organisation providing maintenance, repair and refurbishment services to the fleet is embarking on a new program to raise the skill and capability of its workforce by engaging the support of private industry.

Fleet Support Unit – Australia was established in 2012 from the five different units across the country and Lieutenant Ben Doherty, Fleet Support Unit Operations Manager at HMAS Waterhen, said industry collaboration was a step change for the capability.

“We are working with a growing number of Defence suppliers and now have technical mastery secondment programs in place with seven Defence suppliers, and we are in final negotiations with several others," Lieutenant Doherty said.

Companies such as CEA Technologies, Thales, UGL, Noske Kaeser, Innovasys, Norship Marine and Wartsila facilitate the upskilling of Navy members by exposing them to work which they would not normally be involved.

“Our people return to us more capable and motivated with new innovative ideas about how we can do things better,” Lieutenant Doherty said.

Able Seaman Marine Technician Ryan Scott started his secondment at Wartsila engine maintenance facility in Sydney’s west in June.

“The experience has been a great one – the knowledge and skills that I’m learning are invaluable, and I understand more about the industry and my trade,” Able Seaman Scott said.

Able Seaman Scott’s supervisor at Wartsila, Nick Cruz, praised his young charge.

“He was very quiet in the beginning but he’s been doing a great job, he’s quick to learn, very helpful and great to have around the workshop,” Mr Cruz said.

Fleet Support Unit - Australia and Wartsila both say the secondment program is an important one. It builds relationships and understanding between the two organisations.

For Able Seaman Scott, it makes him a more skilled technician and a more valuable member of the Navy workforce.