Darwin based Small and Medium Enterprise ‘Mick’s Ally Fab,’ has been working with Thales Australia since 2019; providing x-ray quality welding on the Armidale Class Patrol Boats.
Mick’s Ally fab was founded in 2008 by the company’s namesake and Darwin local, Michael Carey. The company, that started as a solo operation out of the back of Mick’s ute, has steadily grown in staff numbers, rising to 23 employees, and their amount of work.
Something Mick takes particular pride in, in addition to the critical work they do, is the company’s apprenticeship program, with Mick noting the importance of nurturing talent.
‘By training employees from the ground-up, the apprenticeship program functions as a useful tool in building local expertise, skills and sovereign capability and combatting the skilled staff shortage suffered by the metal fabrication industry.’
Mick’s Ally Fab has been operating a fruitful apprenticeship program for the last 12 years that trains and upskills metal work apprentices of any age, experience or skill level. Typically, apprentices have undertaken work experience with the company as part of their high school’s work experience program, and those who show enthusiasm are welcomed back once they can begin their full-time apprenticeships.
The current program lasts for 4 years and involves 3 years of theory and practical courses at the Charles Darwin University trades sector, followed by a full year on the tools training. Two of Mick’s best tradespeople completed their apprenticeships and are about to reach their 10 years of service at the company next year.
For Mick, having a diverse representation of employees is important, particularly as metal fabrication is a male dominated industry. To help combat this, Mick works with local schools and organisations to not only recruit apprentices in general, but to focus on increasing the number of women in the field.
“Pleasingly, this year Reka finished her apprenticeship and is now working as a DNV Certified Welder with us. On the same path is Tia, a first-year apprentice; both are outstanding performers and are a brilliant addition to the team.’
‘Mick’s Ally Fab are an important part of Thales Australia’s local supply chain in Darwin. We’ve been working with Mick and the team for 4 years and value not only their expertise, but their diligence, innovation and commitment to safety. Mick’s strong support of apprentices, and in turn nurturing industry expertise, is a key component in building local skills that support and maintain Navy platforms.’
Alex Strehle Program Manager, Thales Above Water Systems.
To read more about Mick’s Ally Fab, please click here