Defence industries: jobs and skills of the future

Defence industries: jobs and skills of the future

Dec 5
As the national centre of naval shipbuilding and current and future submarines, South Australia has developed a world-class defence industry base and highly skilled workforce, with expertise across all defence activities, from systems engineering and integration to large scale fabrication.


John Davis, Chief Executive Officer, Naval Group
Jacqui McGill, Chair, TAFE SA
The Hon. David Pisoni MP, Minister for Innovation and Skills
Brad Yelland, Chief Technology Officer, BAE Systems

Event overview

South Australia is the defence state.

However, it is imperative that South Australia continues to grow its skilled workforce to capitalise on the future build program, as well as leveraging the economic benefits through building upon the advanced manufacturing and research and development capabilities in our defence and space industries. We also need to look beyond the defence sector, to the state’s workforce more broadly, encouraging upskilling and reskilling to allow for quicker transitions into defence jobs of the future.

In an era marked by rapid advances in automation and AI, increasingly mobile workforce and more agile and flexible workplaces - aligning the state’s workforce with the jobs of the future, particularly within the defence sector will play a critical role in driving the state's long term prosperity.

Event presentations

The Hon. David Pisoni MP, Minister for Innovation and Skills MP3 | PDF

Moderated discussion MP3

Delegate handout PDF

Meet the speakers

John Davis
Chief Executive Officer, Naval Group

As Naval Group Australia's Chief Executive Officer, Mr John Davis is responsible for leading the design and delivery of 12 regionally superior submarines for the Royal Australian Navy as part of the Future Submarine Program. John has worked within the Defence industry, both here in Australia and in the United Kingdom, for over 30 years. John has worked for Raytheon Australia, the Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance, BMT Defence Services and the UK Ministry for Defence and brings a wealth of experience to the organisation around the planning and execution of complex Defence projects. 

Jacqui McGill
Chair, TAFE SA

Jacqui McGill is a highly regarded industry leader with more than 30 years in the Resource sector including leading Olympic Dam for BHP from 2016 - 2018.  In 2017, she was on the SA Government Women’s Honour Roll for her outstanding contribution to the community. Ms McGill was appointed as Chair of TAFE SA from 3 December 2018. She is currently a member of the SA Premier’s Economic Advisory Council, Playford Trust Board and Non-Executive Director of the Art Gallery of South Australia.

The Hon. David Pisoni MP
Minister for Innovation and Skills

Elected to the South Australian Parliament as the Member for Unley in 2006, David has been a passionate advocate for many organisations, charities and businesses in the local community for more than a decade.
He was appointed as the Minister for Innovation and Skills in the Marshall Liberal Government in South Australia in March 2018. Prior to that David was Shadow Minister for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and Shadow Minister for Education.
Prior to entering politics David was Managing Director of his own manufacturing and retail company, operating in Adelaide and Sydney.

Brad Yelland
Chief Technology Officer, BAE Systems

Brad graduated from the RMIT with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He secured a graduate position at the Government Aircraft Factories in the Guided Weapons Design and Development Group, as an aerodynamicist and flight control engineer where he took the lead on the introduction of a real-time digital flight simulation capability. Brad joined BAE Systems (AWADI) in 1988 as part of the original design team for the Nulka Hovering Rocket – an Autonomous Hovering Rocket, Anti-Ship Missile Decoy System – which has been standard fit to all Australian and US Navy Surface Combatants for the last 20+ years. He was appointed Chief Technology Officer for BAE Systems in 2019.

Meet the facilitator

Professor Colin Stirling
President and Vice Chancellor, Flinders University

Professor Colin J Stirling brings extensive experience in research, teaching and management to Flinders University as President and Vice-Chancellor. Professor Stirling’s career provides a strong foundation for his ambitions for the University. Born and educated in Scotland he gained a BSc in Biological Sciences at the University of Edinburgh followed by a PhD in genetics from Glasgow University. In 2011, Professor Stirling was appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic at Curtin University, in Western Australia where he was later appointed Provost and Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor. Throughout his academic career, Professor Stirling has established a record of leadership, innovation and successful change management in Higher Education.

Meet the chair

Hendri Mentz
Managing Partner SA, Deloitte

Hendri was appointed managing partner for South Australia in January 2019. He has more than 22 years’ experience in risk management, assurance and consulting to a variety of private and public sector clients. Recognised as a pre-eminent specialist in the design of risk, control and financial management frameworks, he has delivered major internal and external audits and led a number of significant financial management consulting engagements, exposing him to all aspects of organisational governance.

Supported by CEDA members

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