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Michelle Kruger appointed President of Austal USA

Shipbuilder Austal has announced that the Austal USA Board of Directors has appointed Michelle Kruger President of Austal USA. Michelle has been Interim President since July 2023 and assumes the permanent role immediately. Michelle joined Austal USA in 2022 as Vice President of Global Services and Support, responsible for global post-delivery vessel repair and warranty services. She quickly and successfully implemented a number of business strategies, developed key government and commercial business partnerships and oversaw the delivery of projects that have added value to the business, according to a statement. These included the opening of Austal USA’s new San Diego waterfront facility and the delivery of a 9,000 tonne capacity dry dock.

Pure Foods Tasmania to raise $1.2 million

Pure Foods Tasmania will raise $2.2 million via rights issue to shareholders. The company which makes brands including Tasmanian Pate, Woodbridge Smokehouse and Daly Potato, will use the funds for working capital, to repay short term borrowings and new investments. The funds will also go to due diligence the company is performing on a number of potential acquisitions. The company will also invest in automation for margin and capacity improvement at Tasmanian Pate and Daly potato. Pure Foods raised $6 million in August, 2022.

Traffic Technologies to raise $1.3 million

Roadway signage and IoT traffic systems company Traffic Technologies plans to raise $1.3 million following the completion of a share purchase plan which saw $329,700 raised from shareholders. Announcing the successful raising the company said that subject to shareholder approval it would also raise $1.08 million from Lazarus Capital Partners. The raising will provide working capital for the completion of current orders and long term contracts, and accelerate a cost reduction programme. Traffic Technologies is consolidating and relocating production facilities to fewer, less expensive properties.

Improved employment outcomes for onshore international students

The latest report from the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) shows that international students continue to experience improved employment outcomes after completing a vocational education and training (VET) qualification in Australia. The report, International onshore VET qualification completer outcomes 2023, shows that 76.6 percent of international onshore qualification completers had an improved employment status after training, an increase of 3.6 percentage points from 2022. Of the 82.8 percent of international onshore qualification completers who were employed in Australia after training, 46.9 percent were employed full-time, a 10.2 percentage point increase from 2022. NCVER Managing Director Simon Walker said: “The positive employment outcomes may reflect the strong labour market in Australia as well as the Australian Government’s decision to lessen restrictions on student visa holders’ working hours in January 2022 in response to workforce shortages.” International onshore qualification completers’ satisfaction with training also increased those satisfied with their training overall rising by 1.6 percentage points to 88.8 percent.

ARM Hub welcomes news of funding under the Industry Growth Program

Brisbane’s Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) Hub will lead the Australian Manufacturing Capability Network (AMCN) which has been selected as an Industry Partner Organisation for the Industry Growth Program. Minister for Industry and Science Minister Ed Husic announced that AMCN and several not-for-profit organisations will work with the Industry Growth Program to help participating small and medium businesses bring new products and services to market. AMCN is a collaboration between industry, government, and universities and will add value to and enhance the support provided to SMEs by offering specialised advisory services, drawing on its sectoral expertise. This complements expert advice on commercialisation and early-stage business growth to startups and SMEs operating within the priority areas of the National Reconstruction Fund priority. ARM Hub Founder and CEO Professor Cori Stewart said: “Australian industry has a scale-up challenge resulting in a ‘missing middle’ of ambitious export-orientated SMEs and startups. “The AMCN will help them by facilitating access to a comprehensive network of technology experts, world-class manufacturing facilities and equipment, and valuable commercialisation services.”

SA TAFE gets $2.2 million investment from federal government

The federal government announced an extra $2.2 million for South Australia under the TAFE Technology Fund on Friday. According to a statement from skills minister Brendan O’Connor, the money will be used to lease four light commercial vehicles and purpose-built trailers to train regional students in cyber security, dentistry, hospitality, and automotive skills. The self-contained vehicles will be equipped with the technology, learning resources, power, water and waste facilities to deliver training in regional locations, and will be based at TAFE South Australia’s Gilles Plains, Regency and Adelaide campuses. The project is part of the $50 million TAFE Technology Fund, which is upgrading and expanding TAFE facilities, including laboratories, workshops, new equipment, and simulated learning environments. “These purpose-built vehicles are critical to providing greater opportunity to people living in regional and remote South Australia to access skills in areas of demand,” said O’Connor.

Hanwha Defence Australia boss steps down

After a decade with Hanwha, inaugural Hanwha Defence Australia (HDA) Managing Director Richard Cho has stepped down from the company, effective May 2. HDA was established in 2019 and has been awarded two multibillion-dollar programs from the federal government for the Huntsman self-propelled howitzer and the Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicle programs, in 2021 and 2023 respectively.  “It is time for the next generation of leadership to guide HDA into the future,” said Cho. “I’m very proud of the work we have done in Australia, bringing significant expertise and investment from South Korea to Australia. The hard work and dedication of the team will  continue to develop and deliver capabilities to our customer.” HDA’s Director of Operations Dean Michie will become Acting Managing Director from  May 3, 2024. 

VAILO makes Boss top ten list

South Australian lighting technology company VAILO has been named in the AFR BOSS Best Places to Work list for 2024, coming in seventh in the Manufacturing & Consumer Goods category. The awards recognise organisations “that are pioneering new ways of  working and pushing boundaries when it comes to workplace policies and practices” said VAILO in a statement this week. Some 600  companies competed for a place in the awards. Over the past 12 months VAILO has expanded into Queensland to focus on the eastern states, with further appointments expected shortly. CEO and Founder Aaron Hickmann said, “If you can create a great working environment, where people are valued and their ideas are celebrated, you’re more likely to be innovative, progressive and stay at the forefront of your industry.” VAILO added that it currently hiring for  roles in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia, with more information available here.

Swinburne joins Latrobe Aerospace Technology Precinct

Swinburne University of Technology has become the first Foundation Member of the newly established Latrobe Aerospace Technology Precinct at Latrobe Regional Airport, Latrobe City Council announced on Friday. The precinct was launched by MP Harriet Shing and “dedicated to pioneering the future of Advanced Air Mobility (AAM), fostering economic growth and underpinning sustainable innovation opportunities for Australia”, according to the statement. Swinburne is the first university to join through a renewed partnership with the council. Swinburne’s Aerostructures Innovation Research (AIR) Hub, will play “a pivotal role in the precinct, bringing expertise in next-generation aerostructures for civil aviation, electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, uncrewed air systems, AAM and space exploration.” Dr Adriano Di Pietro, Director of the AIR Hub, added that membership “enables us to contribute significantly to the AAM future of the Gippsland region and to establish Victoria as a global leader in the sector.”

Picture: credit VAILO

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