November 23, 2021

Finishing school? Want a career in the Defence Industry? Here’s how to get started

Emily Brown is one of the 59 trainees currently enrolled on the program run by Programmed

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The Defence Industry Pathways Program, supported by Programmed and South Metropolitan TAFE, is an Australian Government initiative designed to create a pipeline of talent ready to join Australia’s booming shipbuilding and maritime defence industry.

Successful candidates on this competitive program are exposed to several different areas within the Defence Industry to help them decide on the career path they want to pursue. School-leaver, Emily Brown, is one of the 59 trainees currently enrolled on the program. 

Gain great experience

Emily says the program offers “an amazing opportunity” for young people who are unsure of the career path they want to choose. The chance to try out different areas is what attracted Emily to the program in the first place: 

I wanted a hands-on job in the marine/defence pathway, but I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to do. Discovering this traineeship was a perfect opportunity, as it provides loads of experience in many different areas.”

Training Coordinator for the program, Rebecca Colledge, says Emily hasn’t been the only one to gain clarity from the program. She says all the participants have gained terrific insight into the potential awaiting them in the defence industry. And adds, 

The program gives candidates an opportunity to be exposed to a number of different areas within the Defence Industry before deciding what career path they want to pursue.”

Emily Brown featured at WORK180 Programmed is an Endorsed Employer

All the trainees are placed with different companies and Emily has so far worked in engineering, logistics and cyber security. She hopes to try out some additional areas before the program finishes.

Through this range of work experience, Emily has been able to pinpoint electrical engineering as the area of the Defence Industry that she would like to pursue a career in.  

The traineeship gave me the exposure to learn the basics of engineering to know for sure that this is the career path I want to choose.” 

A job for life

Based on their specific interests and skills, the program helps tailor a unique career path for each trainee. Emily feels confident and supported in her choices and now knows what her next steps need to be:

In one year, I hope to start my electrical apprenticeship, then I hope to go on and complete an engineering degree.” 

At the end of the program, all trainees receive a nationally accredited qualification: a 52864WA Certificate III Defence Industry Pathways, which will stand them in good stead for the next stage of their career development. 

The Defence Industry also offers great job security, and this is something Emily really values: “Defence is an industry which will have constant work for many years to come, so it is a reliable future career. It’s also perfect for people who want to get a trade close to home instead of going FIFO (Fly In Fly Out) to do it.”

Did you know Programmed is open to discuss flexible working options at the interview stage?

Find out how else Programmed supports their employees’ professional development.

What’s the process?

Throughout the entire process – from initial applications to regular check-ins during placements – Emily has felt fully supported by Programmed

It’s a competitive recruitment process and Emily is one of just 59 successful applicants in her intake. The first stage of the interview process is a phone interview and then, if you get through to the next round, there is an aptitude test. The final stage is a group assessment day where candidates take part in a range of group and individual activities. 

The Programmed staff  “made phone calls and offered assistance, if needed, throughout the duration of the application process.” 

Their attention to the wellbeing of their trainees doesn’t stop after they are employed either. Emily says: “I knew I made the right decision working for Programmed as they provide so much support for all their employees and constantly check on us to ensure we are doing okay. The whole application and interview process was very professional and organized and all the employees I have met so far have been a delight to work with.”

Women steering the ship

At present 30% of trainees are women and once on the program, Emily was pleased to learn that women are also a major part of the workforce in the Defence Industry. Being a woman is certainly no obstacle to having a career there:

As this course demonstrates, there are endless career opportunities for women to work in the defence industry.”

Two of the people Emily works with most closely are women, and both are great role models for other women thinking about a similar career. Claire, who works in electrics, shared all her knowledge about her role with Emily, so that Emily could gain real-life, hands-on experience doing the job herself, under supervision. Another close colleague, Sharon, “is a very bubbly individual” who took the time to really talk through all the processes involved. Both these women have demonstrated to Emily that having a supportive approach towards others and “working as a team is essential for a company to run successfully.”


Jump on board

Emily encourages anyone who isn’t sure about applying to “just give it a shot.” Without the program, Emily says she would not have such a clear idea of where she wants to go next:

“Through this traineeship, Programmed have helped me in my career development, providing me with so much work experience and excellent opportunities in the defence industry.” 

If you want to join the booming shipbuilding industry, see below for further details on Programmed’s next recruitment intake.

Further details

  • Eligibility criteria: Australian Citizen or Resident, Completion of Secondary Schooling ideally Year 12.
  • Candidates who are willing to learn and have a positive attitude and strong work ethic.
  • Timings: Currently recruiting for January intake. Applications close December 10th 2021.
  • Start date: January 2022
  • Find out more: here 

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About the Author
WORK180 promotes organizational standards that raise the bar for women in the workplace. We only endorse employers that are committed to making real progress so that all women can expect better.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job. Check out the latest job vacancies with Programmed