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Bluefin sails into new territory

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AMC’s flagship training vessel Bluefin looked right at home moored alongside the Australian National Maritime Museum’s historic fleet in Darling Harbour, Sydney, in October.

She was part of a record AMC contingent, including a team of 27 staff members and students along with the autonomous underwater vehicle nupiri muka, visiting the city to attend the Pacific 2017 International Maritime Exposition and RAN Sea Power Conference.

Pacific 2017 is a biennial event involving trade exhibitions and conferences that enables the commercial maritime and naval defence industries to display and promote their capabilities to the domestic and international markets.

AMC researchers delivered seven papers at the International Maritime Conference, and the College also formally announced its expansion into key national and international markets with the establishment of the AMC Sydney study centre.

Two postgraduate degrees will be offered from Sydney starting from 2018 – the Master of Engineering (Maritime Design) and MBA (Advanced) (Maritime and Logistics Management).

In the meantime, a pilot program of two short courses in Supply Chain Management and Fundamentals of Naval Architecture was delivered in an intensive five-day format in November 2017.

AMC Interim Principal Natalia Nikolova said the courses were designed to provide Defence and industry personnel with essential oversight into the maritime engineering, maritime business and international logistics fields.

“We’re excited to be able to offer our internationally-recognised maritime training and education from the Australian National Maritime Museum, right in the heart of Sydney’s waterfront precinct. We look forward to establishing our presence here, and working with the surrounding Defence, government and private industries to help develop our maritime leaders and shape the future of this vital sector,” Professor Nikolova said.

AMC Associate Dean (Research) Associate Professor Jonathan Binns said there would soon be unprecedented career development opportunities in the maritime sector thanks to the Australian Government’s multi-billion dollar naval shipbuilding program.

He said there was no better time for professionals in other industries to expand their knowledge base or for school leavers to begin study in the maritime engineering and logistics fields.

“We are in the middle of a national enterprise of naval shipbuilding and must turn our nation from one of design and manufacturing consumer to one of design and manufacturing exporter. There are a lot of different disciplines that need to feed in to the naval shipbuilding enterprise, of which maritime engineering is a pivotal one,” he said.

“There’s going to be a world of jobs. We haven’t been training anywhere near the number of engineers that Australia needs and certainly not the number of maritime engineers Australia needs. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The changeover from buying modified, off-the-shelf vessels to us actually designing the larger part of it is probably sooner than you think.”

This significant investment in naval shipbuilding has seen major international companies such as Naval Group, BAE, Fincantieri, Damen and Navantia show interest in Australia and expand their recruitment programs, Associate Professor Binns said. He believes the role of higher education is to support innovation by partnering with industry in the design and manufacturing process.

“Innovation must have research and education behind it. Otherwise you just do things the way they’ve always been done, and get left behind,” Associate Professor Binns said.

“Research, education and training in the maritime industry now more than ever is all about flexibility in delivery, pathways through education, integration with industry, and specialisation within the disciplines to make sure they cover the relevant material.”

AMC’s strong industry connections and breadth of offering in training, education, research and consultancy means it is well-positioned to respond to these growing demands.

“One of AMC’s most powerful tools is its spread across the spectrum of education. When industry approaches us with a problem, we’re able to offer a solution that could be a two-day short course, multiple PhD programs, research grants, consultancies, or anything in between.

“To have that capacity within AMC to be able to react to that is very powerful. We’re extremely agile and that’s because we’re focused on solving industry problems.”

Published on: 13 Dec 2017