Don’t just take our word for it – in these insightful video snapshots and written case studies hear first hand from business owners and operators who are located in the Illawarra/Shoalhaven
Global Defence Solutions
Nowra’s Global Defence Solutions is a 100% Australian owned company that builds and supplies mobile field shelters for Australian Defence.
Formed in 1998, the company provides Defence, as well as other government agencies and industry, with a range of deployable buildings to be used in the field as hospitals, kitchens, operations centres and accommodation. It also supplies air-conditioning and generators in the field.
Marketing Director and business partner Fran Koster said Global Defence Solutions (GDS) supplied systems to the specifications of the customer to deliver a bespoke solution to whatever was required.
The deployable shelters are available as soft-sided tent structures, or a tailored containerised system that links together.
Fran said the shelters were environmentally controlled, and therefore equally suitable for hot or cold conditions.
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GDS supplies and maintains the systems both in Australia and overseas.
“There are a few companies that do this, but we are the only 100% Australian owned company that builds and supplies shelters to the Defence Force” Fran said.
GDS is the Australian supplier and maintenance support for Swedish company, Dantherm Air Conditioners, which provides transportable environmental control units, developed primarily to provide air conditioning in temporary or transportable buildings, and tents.
Another innovative service offered by GDS is Liquid Repellent Technology (LRT), which, as the name suggests, delivers liquid repellency to products including electronics, lenses, hard surfaced equipment, fabrics and footwear.The liquid repellent nano-coating is physically bonded at a molecular level, so that it provides long-lasting protection, increasing product life and reliability.
GDS is currently testing the product on various equipment for military use, but says the technology offers great benefits for other emergency organisations such as State Emergency Service, police and firefighters.
While the Shoalhaven’s thriving defence support industry made the region an obvious base for GDS, the real reason Fran and her husband Laurie settled in Nowra was simple.
“We loved the area so we started the business down here – it’s as easy as that,” she said.
“It’s only a couple of hours to Defence offices in Sydney or Canberra and we have access to all the skills we need in the Shoalhaven.”
Fran said the Shoalhaven Defence Industry Group had been invaluable in bringing defence industries together to talk about how businesses could support each other, and how to develop the industry going forward.
“We want to assist the local industry and local people – we want the best for people in the area.
“We want to bring in young folk, new folk and engage women to be more involved in the industry. Thirty percent of our staff are women and we employ graduates, trainees and unskilled labourers – we cover all bases.
“We love living in the Shoalhaven and want the same opportunities to be available to all other people in the area.”
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Qinetiq Aerospace Training Services
Qinetiq Aerospace Training Service (QATS) is a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Maintenance Training Organisation (MTO) and a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) delivering a range of aircraft maintenance engineering courses from the National Aeroskills Training Package. QATS also provides CASA aircraft specific types courses from GA aircraft, such as the Learjet 35/36, to RPT aircraft such as the Boeing 717 and Airbus A320. In addition to this training, QATS is a NSW Smart and Skilled Apprenticeship Training Provider, currently training apprentices across the state.
QATS learners have a wide range of delivery mode choices including face-to-face (F2F) classroom, structured online (real-time webinars), and self-study options. This delivery range allows QATS to customise theory and practical training and assessment to suit each individual client.
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Nowra’s family-owned Aerospace Training Services has helped hundreds of young people achieve their aviation dreams.
Whether it be as an aircraft engineer or a cabin crew member, Aerospace Training Services (ATS) graduates can now be found working for major airlines, in the Defence forces or in other aviation support careers.
The Shoalhaven was a natural base for operations when Ken Mitchell and partner, Therese, established ATS in 1996. Ken had retired after 20 years with the Australian Navy and said it made a lot of sense to set up business among the strong aviation fraternity in the Shoalhaven.
ATS is an integral part of that fraternity and has strong links with the Shoalhaven Defence Industry Group, which was formed as a networking organisation, as well as attracting new defence contractors, business, investment and jobs to the Shoalhaven.
“The community we work with is predominantly in aviation, centred around the Nowra area working in support of the Navy base at HMAS Albatross. We support those organisations that support Albatross,” Ken said.
<p “=””>ATS also provides corporate support and training for the aircraft maintenance teams at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) and ”Skydive The Beach” at the Illawarra Regional Airport.
The company is a Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) accredited training school and boasts clients including Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Regional Airlines, as well as smaller corporate jet operations and private companies.
ATS offers training from pre-apprenticeship level through to aircraft-specific type courses. Students can study for Aeroskills Certificate II, through to Diploma level in Mechanical and Avionics, and Aviation Certificate III, which is flight attendant training.
ATS has extended its training reach around Australia and South-East Asia, and has plans to move further into Thailand and the Middle East.
ATS is dedicated to providing aviation training to young people through its innovative HSC programs, aviation traineeships and apprenticeships. It offers aircraft-specific training on-site, delivered on employers’ sites, or through webinars and distance education training.
<p “=””>Many graduates remain in the Shoalhaven working for defence support companies such as Boeing, Sikorsky, Air Affairs and Raytheon.
“We’re the only Registered Training Organisation offering aeroskills and cabin crew training in Years 11 and 12,” Ken said.
“We have a strong passion for getting young folk into the industry and opening up opportunities for them to get into aviation, the earlier the better. Getting young people into work starts in high school.
“We provide solid training so young people are job ready, skill ready and are heads and shoulders above the competition when they graduate.”
The HSC Vocational Education and Training (VET) courses in aircraft engineering and for cabin crew are held both at the ATS facilities at Nowra and at the HARS Museum.
Ken says the Shoalhaven is a fantastic base for business and paid tribute to the support offered by Shoalhaven City Council and the Defence Industry Group.
“It’s a fantastic environment in which to live and to raise a family, away from the city rush. All the services that major cities have, you have here – there is nothing missing.
“It’s an excellent environment for business development, Shoalhaven City Council offers tremendous support, and we have terrific infrastructure and facilities in the region.
“I always love coming home after being away.”
Qinetiq Air Affairs Australia
Qinetiq Air Affairs Australia is a world leader in providing specialist training services to Australia’s Defence Forces.
One of the specialist training services provided by Qinetiq Air Affairs is the use of specially modified Learjet 35s. Qinetiq Air Affairs’ pilots play the role of the “bad guys” in exercises, working and training in the sky with FA-18s, or “attacking” Navy ships at sea.
Two years ago, the company, based at the Albatross Aviation Technology Park in South Nowra, started providing a centralised turnkey service, which has resulted in a staff increase from 30 to 130.The company has 14 specially modified Learjets, drone aircraft and other specialty services and are able to transport equipment anywhere in Australia or in the world.
Chief Executive Officer Chris Sievers said Qinetiq Air Affairs was the only company in the world to offer such a complete service and was now exporting its products to nine other countries.
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“We purchase the aircraft, modify the aircraft, train personnel and operate them,” he said.
“The Learjet is the ideal aircraft to act as an adversary in place of a military jet and is a much cheaper option.
“We have the largest Learjet 35 fleet in the world and maintain the aircraft totally from top to bottom and don’t rely on any third party for maintenance.”
The business was born in the Shoalhaven after Mr Sievers relocated from Melbourne in 1984. It was a logical base for a company providing such vital support for the Defence Force.
Air Affairs provides a target towing service, where a target is flown about 6 kilometres behind an aircraft and Defence personnel fire missiles or guns at it. In situations where it may be too dangerous to tow targets, Air Affairs operates drones which are manufactured on site.
Mr Sievers is proud of the company’s proactive apprentice training scheme and said Air Affairs provided in-house training for all of its pilots and engineers.
“We have trained more than 25 apprentices over the years, we have nine on staff now and are about to employ another six,” he said.
“The Shoalhaven has great talent and we want to capture young people so we can grow the company with locals, rather than bringing in people from Sydney or overseas.”
Mr Sievers paid tribute to the development of the Albatross Aviation Technology Park and said it was an integral part of being able to grow the company’s business. Air Affairs opened a new head office at the Park in early 2018.
“The relationship between Shoalhaven City Council and the Defence Forces has enabled us to invest in property here,” he said.
“We now have seven buildings housing our headquarters and maintenance and we also subcontract to other businesses that we’ve attracted to the area. We are ideally located to not only serve the Defence Force but to look for other commercial business opportunities, like the bushfire mapping.”
Mr Sievers encouraged other business people to make the Shoalhaven their base. “It is a great location, great climate. We have the education base, the opportunities are here, businesses are here.I would only recommended people come and try it. Once you’ve been here you won’t want to leave.”