Incat: World Leaders in Aluminium Ship Technology
Incat attracts skilled tradespeople to join their talented team building world-class ships from their Hobart shipyard. Their next talent could be you.
They make the world’s fastest catamarans. These environmentally clean, lightweight, cutting-edge watercraft are exported to all corners of the globe, launched from Hobart. Incat is a Tasmanian success story of grand scale.
On a busy summer day in 2018, 660 staff work diligently on two new vessels. The catamarans stretch 110 metres in length, and from the office suites, hard-hatted staff appear ant-like beside the colossal structures. One ship is bound for Malta, the other off to Spain. Each skilled employee has a specific task, bound to a tight knit team. The hat colour indicates their expertise – from electrician to fabricator.
“Our staff get a real buzz seeing these ferries coming together,” explains HR Manager Richard Lowrie. “When we have family days and our staff can show their kids what they helped build, they get a real sense of pride. When they watch the ship sail down the harbour, knowing she’ll represent Tasmania on a global scale, that’s something really special for our workers.”
The Incat Group evolved from Sullivans Cove Ferry Company (SCFC), founded by Robert Clifford in 1972, and has seen staff numbers grow to more than 1 000 when orders are booming. In 1975, SCFC gained a strong reputation, ferrying nine million passengers between Hobart’s eastern and western shores following the Tasman Bridge collapse. These early beginnings would develop into a specialisation in aluminium vessel construction, and the company remains mainly family owned with a tight-knit team.
The Incat shipyard is at Prince of Wales Bay, just 15 minutes from Hobart’s CBD. The 70 000 square metre facility features two large dry-dock areas with capacity to accommodate up to six catamarans at once. Some employees have worked there for more than a quarter of a century. The ability to attract and retain talents has assisted Incat in gaining a reputation for quality and excellence in production. Clients can be assured a dedicated workforce with years of experience can deliver time and again – the very reason many are repeat customers.
“We are very fortunate that we have staff with 10, 15 and even 25 years’ experience with us,” adds Lowrie. “They have lifelong friendships formed in these sheds and many have had the opportunity to upskill and learn knew trades. Here at Incat we encourage learning and a multi-trade approach for those keen to explore new pathways. The nature of boat building requires so many specific skills so it’s also in our interest to encourage staff in their career progression.”
Incat is always seeking men and women to join the team. They are constantly on the lookout for qualified aluminium welders, electricians, mechanics, fabricators, riggers, carpenters, joiners, shopfitters, administration staff and those in metal trades. Skilled tradespeople have the opportunity to advance through grades and pay levels.
A number of apprenticeships are also on offer at Incat and for those who have work skills but no certified trade papers, the company, in partnership with TasTAFE, can help them secure internationally recognised trade qualifications. The company invests heavily in training both on-site and at the purpose-built College of Aluminium Training and College of Metal Fabrication near the shipyard, providing the opportunity to learn world’s best practice aluminium shipbuilding. The qualifications are highly regarded internationally.
“Our staff also have the opportunity for overseas travel with maintenance programs to support our existing catamarans around the globe,” explains Lowrie.
“They love the travel but equally the Tasmanian lifestyle. A typical day begins at 7am and concludes at 3.20pm so our staff have plenty of time to enjoy long afternoons and evenings with family. It’s perfect in the summer time. We have staff from a number of countries and around Australia and, of course, many local Tasmanians. We’re one big family.”
Incat works closely with the Tasmania Maritime Network, the State’s leading marine grouping of specialised companies to provide opportunities across the field.
The company is eager to get more women into shipbuilding. From riggers to naval architects to electricians to the fit-out team, Incat is constantly seeking more hands on deck, so opportunities are abound.
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