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Holden workers to build ships and subs


One of South Australia’s biggest jobseeker services has backed the Weatherill Government’s plan to have Holden workers help build ships and submarines.

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Workskil chief executive officer Nicole Dwyer said the ASC (Australian Submarine Corporation) was prepared to employ skilled workers from Holden when it closed its Elizabeth plant next year.

“It’s going to be a challenging time,” Dwyer said.

“Everybody’s concerned about it and everybody is trying to put some responses on the ground to boost industry.

“The ship-building industry will be a good boost for South Australia.”

South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill this morning announced that “high-tech shipbuilding” would provide jobs for former Holden workers.

Weatherill said the Government would help Holden workers and component manufacturers to transition into shipbuilding jobs.

He said the automotive supplier and worker programs would help the Holden workers retrain for “South Australia’s high-tech shipbuilding industry”.

“This is a prime example of an economy in transition, and we need to do what we can to provide support for those workers to go from building Commodores and Cruises, to building submarines and frigates,” Weatherill said.

The pledge for Holden workers to transition comes after the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, last week announced the first of the Offshore Patrol Vessels would be built in Adelaide.

Weatherill said the Government would work closely with shipbuilders to determine what skills and capabilities they needed.

Workskil began in Adelaide as a not-for-profit some 35 years ago and now also has offices in Victoria and New South Wales.

Dwyer said Adelaide was yet to experience the full extent of the Holden closure next year.

“We haven’t seen the whole brunt yet of the closure of Holden,” Dwyer said.

“We’re seeing component manufacturers shutting down and that knock-on effect but we haven’t seen the whole brunt of a couple of thousand additional jobseekers flooding the market when Holden shuts.”

Dwyer said the Holden closure would impact most on young jobseekers.

“We’ll continue to see a climb in our unemployment in the next couple of years and we’ll definitely see our youth unemployment rate grow.”



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