On the 22nd of October we attended the State Government's "Advanced Manufacturing Gateway Network meeting". The focus was about aerospace and defence. Industry representatives gave presentations about what the future requirements will be for manufacturing in defence and aerospace. Representatives from state government were also in attendance and are looking to put together programs to get school kids into trades and to bolster businesses in the local Ipswich area so that they can apply for some of this work. One of the things that came out of it was that there are enough engineers in the country now to do the jobs that need to be done. In fact, there are too many engineers, but what we are in desperate need of is technicians. For every engineer, you need at least 10 technicians. Technicians do the monitoring and the maintenance, the running of automated machinery, which is steadily growing in industry.
There is a serious shortage of technicians and trades people. To further demonstrate the shortage, the submarine project in South Australia is in desperate need of welders. In fact, they are 5000 welders short for the current project. So, at the current rate of people coming into the workforce as well as over next 50 years, we still won't have enough welders to do the jobs. The reality is that overseas welders will have to be brought in to do the jobs. Getting Australian businesses up to appropriate standard and into the defence way of doing things, is an urgent requirement. There is a lot of long-term stable work available but Australian businesses need to have the appropriate Quality Assurance systems in place to be eligible for defence work.
What sort of businesses should be looking at working within the defence industry? A business that wants to enjoy stable growth and long-term projects. Industries such as engineering fabrication welding and manufacturing. The first step to get in, is to obviously have a service or product that is required by defence. Then ensuring you have the required systems in place. Quality Assurance ISO 9001 is a requirement for just about all the big projects when it comes to defence and aerospace. It's the ticket to get in the door. It's your ticket to grow your business, to ensure stability and continued work.
eQA has clients, such as Frontline Manufacturing, who are already benefitting from working with defence and other government departments. They saw the opportunities and contacted us to become ISO 9001 certified. This is the base requirement, particularly for defence. But once a business is certified there are definite opportunities to secure international manufacturing. By being ISO 9001 certified it shows that you have systems that focus on understanding your customer’s requirements, knowing that you have the ability to do it, that you have trained people that are following the Australian standards or whatever applicable standards, and, very importantly, you can prove it. There are checkpoints and reviews during the process. Proof that you can assure the quality of the work, a final inspection and a final release by someone who is qualified to do that release.
The Australian Defence Force has the highest standards in the world for producing their defence equipment vehicles as they take the life and safety of a soldier very seriously. Their peace of mind and assurance is working with businesses that also take the quality of their work very seriously and they can prove how they do this.
If you think that your company may be able to fill a void in this space, reach out and have a conversation with the team, we could potentially point you in the right direction.