Defence role in providing job pathway

Gareth McKnightSound Telegraph

A development specialist has highlighted the potential for indigenous army apprenticeships and the uptake of cutting-edge technologies to offer new ways of providing employment in Rockingham and Kwinana.

The Telegraph reported earlier this month that the region continues to have a significantly higher unemployment rate than the State average.

Regional Development Australia chief executive Colleen Yates said a report published last year — Security and Defence in Western Australia: An Economic Perspective — highlighted the importance of employment opportunities in the defence sector.

“Our report focused on indigenous employment in defence and we have had some conversations with the army,” she said.

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“Normally indigenous training for people to enter into the army has happened over east, which has made it difficult for people from WA.

“We have had a little win as the army has agreed to look at an indigenous training program in Perth in 2019.

“They have set aside a budget for it. It is a five to six-month program for anyone interested in entering the defence force.”

Ms Yates said school students were being urged to further their knowledge in science, technology, engineering and maths topics, but employment opportunities needed to be available for school and university leavers.

She said these jobs could be created through the use of new technologies and innovation in the defence sector.

“One area that RDA is working in at the moment is establishing a drone hub,” Ms Yates said. “We are working with the four universities and other stakeholders to develop the business case for Whitby Falls, which is about 30 minutes from the Western Trade Coast.

“We are hoping to move into some of these other technology opportunities that could then provide employment. It is all about diversifying the economy and ensuring as those kids come out of school, there are opportunities for jobs in areas that they are interested in.”

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