SA to build 5 new technical colleges to skill students for in-demand industries

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

The State Government of South Australia (SA) is building five new technical colleges across the state to address a critical skills shortage in areas that include advanced manufacturing and engineering, defence, early childhood and education, and health.

The initiative aims to take high school students from in school to in-demand. Enrolments opened in May for the first of the five sites – Findon Technical College.

The news is a milestone for the SA State Government, with the completed technical colleges part of a landmark agreement with BAE Systems to deliver advanced manufacturing and skilled employees.

Building works on the training facility – within the existing Findon High grounds – commenced earlier this year and is already more than 30 per cent complete. By 2024, the technical college will be ready to accommodate around 200 students.

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Training programs help meet employer demand

Industry training programs offered to incoming students will focus on three areas of high demand from potential employers:

• advanced manufacturing and engineering (for defence and other sectors)
• health and social support
• early childhood and education.

Findon High was identified as an ideal site for the first technical college because of its reputation for impressive leadership, as well as its strong links to local industry.

There are more employer partners to be announced, but with BAE named as Findon Technical College’s key employer partner, the graduates from the program will to be equiped to support the state’s skills needs in crucial industries, such as defence ship and submarine building, as well as other advanced manufacturing pathways.

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Its convenient location, between the city and the Osborne Naval Shipyard, provides the perfect educational pathway for students from across the region who may be considering opportunities presented by the AUKUS partnership, or elsewhere in the defence industry.

“Technical colleges provide a great foundation for industry to engage with students, provide early hands-on exposure to new industrial technologies, and support career connections,” said BAE Systems, Head of Resourcing and Early Careers Georgette Elston in a media release announcing the enrolments opening.

“BAE Systems Australia is already working closely to support curriculum design and development of employer programs including school-based traineeships and apprenticeship.”

The Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering industry training program features a broad range of topics, including industrial maintenance, welding, computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), robotics and automation. These will be delivered as part of students’ VET and SACE programs.

Practical education streams address sector employment shortages

Early childhood and education, through partnerships with Precious Cargo Education and Goodstart Early Learning, will also be offered as program streams, with training in health and social care delivered via agreements with Helping Hand and Southern Cross Care.

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A total of $208.8 million has been committed to build and operate the five South Australian technical colleges that will provide employers with the skilled workforce they need and students in Years 10-12 with the opportunity to learn in first-class facilities.

With architectural design that replicates the look, feel and flow of industry workplaces, the focus is on creating learning environments that support practical, hands-on skills training that is valued by industry.

Vocational education lays a solid foundation

The technical colleges will deliver vocational education and hands-on training to prepare students for successful careers, while they complete their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE).

The four other sites that have been announced are:


Regional South Australia:

Two new sites to be built at Port Augusta and Mt Gambier.

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All five technical colleges will be operational by 2026.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]