The Welding Technology Institute of Australia (WTIA) and the Defence Materials Technology Centre (DMTC) have signed a collaboration agreement designed to support Australian welders, as well as small-to-medium enterprises.

Under the agreement, the two organisations will work together to develop a broader understanding of existing technology footprints and build a program of benchmarking, capacity building, training and certification activities. In particular, the WTIA and DMTC will help build industry capacity in areas of Defence priority, such as the welding of high-strength steels.

According to WTIA CEO, Geoff Crittenden: “Together with DMTC, the WTIA will help Australian welders, suppliers and contractors embrace new technology, upskill the workforce, and gain a deeper understanding of the requirements of Defence industry primes.

“Governments at all levels are becoming increasingly aware of the potential shortfall in qualified welders that will be required to deliver the Commonwealth’s ambitious $100bn Defence equipment programs. The WTIA is committed to ensuring that all new Defence equipment is built by Australian welders and that Defence contractors have no reason or excuse for importing skilled labour to deliver these projects.”

Crittenden and his counterpart at the DMTC Dr Mark Hodge signed the agreement at National Manufacturing Week in mid-May. Under the agreement, both organisations will also work closely with the Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC), the establishment of which was one of the key announcements in the 2016 Defence Industry Policy Statement.