Defence expects scores of retrained mining, oil and gas workers as well as laid-off automotive employees to be part of a shipbuilding boom in South Australia and Western Australia.
The federal government's $89 billion naval shipbuilding program, based mostly in Adelaide, will produce 12 submarines, nine frigates and 12 offshore patrol vessels for the Australian Navy as well as 19 Pacific patrol boats for our neighbours.
It includes a $1.3 billion to upgrade the Osborne Naval Shipyard in Adelaide and the plant at Henderson in Western Australia.
The government will also establish a $25 million naval shipbuilding college in Adelaide to train workers, with the workforce in SA set to triple to more than 5000 by 2026.
Defence Department officials were grilled about how the workforce is taking shape during a Senate estimates hearing in Canberra on Tuesday.
Deputy secretary Kim Gillis, who is in charge of acquisitions, said youngsters considering a career in engineering or trades such as welding could look forward to a 50-year career because of the continuous build plan.
"There are opportunities for people in the oil, gas, mining and automotive sectors to transition into the naval shipbuilding with an appropriate level of specialised training," Marc Ablong from the naval shipbuilding taskforce said.