Award to combat defence skills shortage

Friday, 04 July 2008

Efforts to combat the skills shortage in the defence industry have received a substantial boost with the launch of an award to recognise the industry’s outstanding young talent.

The Minister for Energy, Resources, Industry and Enterprise, Fran Logan, officially launched the Australian Industry Defence Network (AIDN) Young Achievers Award, at a function at Parliament House recently.

Mr Logan said that while the resource industries were currently driving WA’s economy, the defence industry offered the diversification to support economic growth when the resources boom cooled.

“It is important to encourage potential and recognise the achievements of young people who are making their mark in the defence industry,” he said.

“While the resources boom gains substantial attention, the long term importance of the defence industry to our economy requires that we attract the best and brightest, and this award will be crucial in achieving that.”

Peel MLA, and Chair of the Defence Industry Skills Unit (DISU), Paul Papalia, said that DISU was sponsoring the WA award as it was an extension of its efforts to increase the supply of skilled labour to the defence industry.

“DISU have been running several programs aimed at engaging primary and high school students to promote an early interest in defence-related careers, and as a result we are starting to see increased enrolments in careers such as engineering,” he said.

“By supporting this award we are extending these efforts by supporting young people and rewarding their accomplishments once they’ve entered defence careers.”

Challenger TAFE Managing Director, Liz Harris, said DISU was located within the College, allowing it to draw on College resources and expertise as a longstanding training provider to the defence industry in the southern metropolitan region.

The President of AIDN WA, Graham Priestnall, said the award was inaugurated nationally last year and WA was included for the first time in 2008.

“The WA winner will be announced later this year and will compete for the national award in Canberra early in 2009,” he said.

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