The Diploma of Digital Technologies


The course has prepared the participants with the skills needed to work on the Hunter Class Frigate Program, where they are contributing to the continuous naval shipbuilding strategy and assisting in building sovereign industrial capability in Australia.
 
Subsequent co-horts are currently underway.
 
During the course, students combine theoretical approaches to Industry 4.0 technology with hands-on experience to prepare them for work at the state-of-the-art Osborne Naval Shipyard in South Australia, one of the world's most technologically advanced shipyards.
 
Due to COVID-19, the first co-hort of students began their learning at home – made significantly easier by Flinders’ innovative means to convert key aspects of the course online.

We touched base with a few of the shipbuilder-turned-students when they were completing the course.
 
 
 
Rick

Rick

Rick has been part of the BAE Systems Maritime Australia (formerly ASC Shipbuilding) team for almost 10 years

"It will definitely broaden my understanding of technologies and the effects they have when they’re applied"

Rick, who’s been part of the BAE Systems Maritime Australia (formerly known as ASC Shipbuilding) team for almost 10 years and most recently worked as a technician in the Test and Activation department in Auxiliaries, has fully embraced the new challenge, having enjoyed learning new skills and technologies ever since he was young.

“It all started off a little daunting at first, especially with everything being online, but as I learn more each week, the course becomes better and better,” Rick said.
 
“I’m only a couple months in, but if the course continues as it has so far, it will definitely broaden my understanding of technologies and the effects they have when they’re applied.”
 
Looking forward to getting his hands on new technologies, Rick’s primary focus is to combine his previous experience and new skills to the Hunter program, where he’ll be helping to shape the long term future of the defence industry.
 
“Thinking where this technology could be implemented in the shipyard or on board the frigates is one of the most interesting and rewarding challenges I’ve been given,” Rick said.
 
What I learn from this course and my determination to succeed and give 100 per cent will certainly be an asset to the business in the future Rick, Student
 
“I have learnt a lot of new skills and information that I knew little of previous to this course. As an example, I’ve learnt a lot more about the importance of cybersecurity and why it matters in our industry.
 
“I’m hoping the new skills learnt from the course, added with my years of shipbuilding experience, can provide me with new opportunities when I return to the shipyard.
 
“What I learn from this course and my determination to succeed and give 100 per cent will certainly be an asset to the business in the future.”
 
As for COVID-19, Rick’s solution is simple: find the positive side!
 
“I actually feel the COVID-19 situation has been an advantage for learning digital technology subjects. Even though it was hard at first, it’s forced us to communicate using modern technology.”
Marcelo

Marcelo

Marcelo worked on the Collins Class submarine and the Air Warfare Destroyer program
 

"It is both supporting my career development and establishing a new mark in shipbuilding history here in Adelaide​"
Marcelo was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has worked and lived most of his life in South Australia - working on both the Collins Class submarine and the Air Warfare Destroyer program.
 
He has worked in many diverse roles in his career spanning across Quality, Engineering, Systems Testing, and now, is enjoying the life as a student.
 
“The content of all subjects has been fascinating, challenging, and of interest to me. I believe you’re never too old to learn,” said Marcelo.
 
“The contents of this course is both supporting my career development and establishing a new mark in shipbuilding history here in Adelaide.
 
“A major adjustment for me has been familiarising myself with the online system and the various application platforms used by Flinders University.”
 
As for Hunter, he can’t wait to get on board to support the creation of an innovative and sustainable sovereign industry.
 
“Innovation 4.0 is very new to me as it seems to be the new flavour across manufacturing industries.”
 
You don’t know what you don’t know, so go for it! Marcelo, Student
 
“Learning and understanding Innovation 4.0, the new digital world, and how the applications will be implemented on the Hunter project - that’s what drives my motivation!
 
“Combining what I’m learning with my several years in the shipbuilding industry, I see many opportunities in automation and data gathering for the establishment of the new digital shipyard.”
 
His advice to everyone is pretty straightforward: “You don’t know what you don’t know, so go for it!”
 
Rocco

Rocco

Rocco has previoulsy worked on the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer Program
"This course is helping us develop better insight into planning and solutions"
 
Rocco is another shipbuilder whose role on the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyer Program ended earlier this year, and is now taking part in the digital upskilling program at Flinders University.
 
Rocco’s been enjoying the course and has valued his learning experience, particularly the relationships with his lecturers and fellow students.
 
“One key area that stands out from my study is learning from lecturers, who have both academic skills and industry experience. Together, these two elements give greater depth and insight to the learning experience,” said Rocco.
 
“At the beginning, studying was difficult at times, but I learnt that taking small steps and keeping connected with colleagues is helpful.”
 
Rocco’s experience on previous programs, combined with the course’s primary focus on digital technologies, puts him in good stead to successfully contribute to the Hunter program and growing an Australian industrial capability.
I recommend to learn and grow from a study program if there’s an opportunity Rocco, Student
 
“As new technology is always developing, the knowledge and skills learnt from this course will be a good asset and strong contribution to the capability of sovereign industry,” said Rocco.
 
“This course is helping us develop better insight into planning and solutions. This will make us more effective in delivering a world class product.
 
“BAE Systems and BAE Systems Maritime Australia [formerly ASC Shipbuilding], together with Flinders Uni staff have been a solid and supportive combination, helping to make this a valuable experience. Learning new skills has been a rewarding benefit.
 
“A pathway of learning will always lead to benefits and make you more effective. I recommend to learn and grow from a study program if there’s an opportunity.”
 
Michael

Michael

Having previously wokred as a crane driver, rigger, and a scaffolder, Michael found the chanegover difficult at first, but it quickly proved to be rewarding

​"Everything excites me with these topics, which makes me want to take it all in and learn as much as I can"
Michael has fully taken on the mindset of a student - embracing the digital world and the new technologies that go along with it.
 
Having previously worked as a crane driver, rigger, and a scaffolder, Michael’s changeover to a university student was difficult at first, but quickly proved rewarding.
 
“I found it really hard to begin with - not only starting a new career path, but also doing everything online. But once I got the hang of it, turns out I’m a much better student than I thought I would be!” said Michael.
 
I’m hoping what I take from this course will change my career for the better Michael, Student
 
“Everything excites me with these topics, which makes me want to take it all in and learn as much as I can. I have always loved the idea of technology, but never really knew much about it.
 
“Studying has really opened up my mind about what is going on in the world of technology, and where the future is heading.”
 
Once the Diploma concludes, Michael is keen to begin work on Hunter and play his role in providing the foundation for continuous naval shipbuilding.
 
“The new shipyard will be run through digital technologies, so I know what I’m learning at the moment will help me do my job when I return, whatever that role may be.
 
“I’m hoping what I take from this course will change my career for the better, and will open up some new opportunities for me within BAE Systems Maritime Australia (formerly ASC Shipbuilding).”
 
For anyone about to take on something new, Michael has some sound advice: “It’s always worth putting in the extra work, and always push yourself because you will be shocked at what you can achieve.”
 
Kevin

Kevin

Kevin celebrated ten years with the BAE Systems Maritime Australia (formerly ASC Shipbuilding) team in 2020

"It’s kept me on my toes and I already feel a sense of achievement"
After celebrating ten years with the BAE Systems Maritime Australia (formerly ASC Shipbuilding) team in 2020, Kevin celebrated not with a glass of champagne, but with the submission of an assignment.
 
Kevin is one of 51 shipbuilder-come-students who have traded their tools for lecture notes, currently completing a Diploma of Digital Technology at Flinders University.
 
Kevin started out with us as a Mechanical Fitter, moved into Production Control, and most recently worked within the Test and Activation team.
 
As this was Kevin’s first return to studies since trade school in the late 1970s, first days were challenging—made no easier by COVID-19.
 
The possibilities seem endless. Kevin, Student
 
“The early days were very hard, mainly getting our heads around the courses and how Flinders operates, but I can say now it’s kept me on my toes and I already feel a sense of achievement,” said Kevin.
 
Being a part of a new chapter in Australian shipbuilding, however, has kept him motivated.
 
“Having worked in this industry for so long, I think the range of possibilities for the future of shipbuilding both here in South Australia, and also in the wider industry, is very exciting.
 
“When you look at what is already available to support production, through to management, and what could become available over the life of the Hunter program—the possibilities seem endless.
 
“When I first started the Diploma I really didn’t know what to expect, but I now have a much better understanding of how I can include lateral thinking and my increased level of confidence to future opportunities on Hunter.”
 
In terms of how he’s been able to get the most out of the Diploma, Kevin boils it down to hard work, the experience of his colleague, and knowledgeable lecturers.
 
“The biggest standout for me has been my project team members showing how much experience they have in our chosen fields, which has given us all some really valuable knowledge.
 
“The lecturers have been patient and have helped us so we weren’t put on the back foot. It was with their help I’ve been able to gain a lot of confidence.”
 
Lee

Lee

Lee previously worked on the AWD program

"This experience is going to be very beneficial for the future of defence projects"
Having previously worked on the AWD program, Lee is now completing the Diploma to equip himself with the skills to support the Hunter Class Frigate Program next year.
 
For Lee, it’s been a team-oriented approach that has allowed him to experience the best the course has to offer.
 
“I have been in two great teams for our group work projects, which has really kept the motivation going,” said Lee.
 
“We’ve been given the opportunity to learn new things and to investigate new technologies that could really help us when we begin work on the new shipyard.
 
“So far the course has been really interesting—we have just completed a unit on cybersecurity for the connected world, and it was a real eye opener.
 
“I think everyone has come a really long way, and this experience is going to be very beneficial for the future of defence projects.”
 
This experience will be beneficial for the future of defence projects Lee, Student
 
Adjusting to study life, however, has been no easy feat.
 
Beginning the course from home due to COVID-19, with no prior experience in the learning platforms, was the first big challenge for Lee and the students.
 
“Honestly, it was very difficult at first. We had the kids at home from school, I was trying to find a quiet place to study, and I was still getting a grasp on completing the tasks appointed to me.
 
“It’s really settled down now, though. By the third week, the initial struggles seemed to calm down and the class had settled in, and our understanding of the systems greatly improved.
 
“The lecturers are patient, and some can really relate to our fields of expertise within a production base environment. Everyone seems to be really enjoying the work.”

 

The Hunter-class frigate

Hunter class frigates

Visit the Hunter Class Frigate Program page to learn more about the largest surface ship project in the Australia's history.
Visit the Hunter webpage