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Defence Industry

Science, Technology & Environment

It’s a sector that’s bursting at the seams with opportunity; South Australia’s defence industry is creating jobs, driving investment, and supporting the state’s economic transformation.

But a career in defence industry doesn’t mean being in the Defence Force.

Defence industry is the backbone of major Defence projects and facilities, like $90 billion of continuous naval shipbuilding for the Royal Australian Navy with a lifespan of more than 50 years.

As well as shipbuilding, we’re talking careers in progressive areas like space, information warfare and cyber security.

The options are vast, from combat systems engineering to project management; Information Technology to manufacturing; supply chain to marketing and communications. There’s much more to the defence industry than you might think.

KEY DEFENCE INDUSTRY SECTORS

Whether you are at school, or about to finish school, there are a wide range of study options and career pathways to help you find your place in the defence industry. This might be via university, vocational or trade options.

Have a look at the following key industry sector pages to learn more about the types of roles and pathways in defence industry, and meet some of the young professionals working in each sector.

Naval shipbuilding

There has never been a better time to consider your career in one of South Australia’s fastest growing industries, with work in naval shipbuilding set to span at least three decades.

Modern shipbuilding is more than working with sheets of metal in shipyards. It’s highly technical and incorporates cutting edge engineering, technology and systems to ensure the ships and submarines are invisible to attack, can detect threats and ensure the safety of the crew on board.

In the coming years, Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry is going to need people with lots of different skills to work in a wide range of roles – from city-based office roles to hands-on positions in the shipyards.

TAFE SA and South Australia’s three leading universities are great places to start when it comes to getting the qualifications you need to dive into a career in naval shipbuilding.

Learn more about the types of roles and pathways to a career in shipbuilding from some inspiring South Australian defence industry employees.

Rebecca discusses working in the defence industry as a Combat and Automation Systems Engineer

Dhiren discusses the career opportunities available in the defence industry

Joisbel talks about the advantages of a defence industry career in engineering

Kyal describes his experience as a digital specialist in South Australia’s defence industry

Click here to read more career stories.

Image: The Hunter class frigates represent the biggest surface shipbuilding project in Australia’s shipbuilding history.Image courtesy of BAE Systems ASC Shipbuilding.

Systems and Cyber

South Australia is extremely important to the future of Australia’s defence surveillance capabilities.

The state is home to a diverse and highly skilled industry base of prime contractors and small-to-medium enterprises who are delivering solutions in systems and cyber for major defence projects.

RAAF base Edinburgh is also home to a series of highly complex systems for information warfare, including the P-8A Poseidon aircraft, Triton and Reaper unmanned aerial systems, special purpose electronic warfare aircraft, the Jindalee Operational Radar Network, and space surveillance systems.

In South Australia, we’re well placed to respond to a growing need for increased systems and cyber capability.

We are working to become the central nervous system of the nation by building a critical mass of knowledge, workers and industry, meaning the opportunities for you in this sector are endless!

Learn more about the types of roles and pathways to a career in shipbuilding from some inspiring South Australian defence industry employees.

Kim tells us how she found her place as a Systems Engineer in South Australia’s defence industry

Andrew shares his pathway to becoming an Operations Manager in defence industry

Rebecca discusses working in the defence industry as a Combat and Automation Systems Engineer

Click here to read more career stories.

Image: Triton unmanned aircraft system. Image courtesy of Northrop Grumman.

Space

South Australia has a rapidly growing space innovation ecosystem and is well placed to become Australia’s hub for future space industry development.

Already home to more than 80 space-related organisations, South Australia is committed to strategies that grow the local industry and increase research and development collaboration, as well as international engagement.

South Australian secondary school students can apply for the Space Industry Work Experience Program which takes place in the school holidays.

The program helps students gain an understanding of the skills and qualifications that may apply in the space industry, as well as networking opportunities to inspire space-focused STEM careers.

Learn more about the types of roles and pathways to a career in the space industry from some inspiring South Australian defence industry employees.

Zac talks about transitioning from the ADF to the defence industry

Click here to read more career stories.

CAREER OPTIONS

Careers in defence industry support projects delivered by the Department of Defence through the Australian Defence Force.

The defence industry in South Australia is made up of hundreds of businesses who use their skills and expertise to supply and support the Defence Force’s efforts in defending our way of life.

There are a huge range of career options in defence industry, not limited to the possibilities listed here. Take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions to find out more.

Project and Business Management

This might include the following roles:

  • Program/Project Administrator/Manager
  • Marketing Specialist
  • Contract Administrator
  • Purchasing Officer
  • Estimator
  • Production Manager
  • Supervisor
  • Product Quality Controller
  • Intelligence Analyst
  • Quality Analyst
  • Planner
  • Scheduler
  • Purchasing Officer/Manager
  • Subcontracts Administrator/Manager
  • Legal Adviser
  • Finance Manager

Design and Engineering

This might include the following roles:

  • Industrial Designer
  • Systems Designer
  • Architectural Draftsperson
  • Test and Activation Engineer
  • Production Engineer
  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Engineer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Combat Systems Engineer
  • Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer

Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

This might include the following roles:

  • Software and Applications Programmer
  • ICT Support Technician
  • ICT Security Specialist
  • ICT Systems Analyst
  • Communications Technician
  • Electronics Technician

Operations and Trades

This might include the following roles:

  • Boat Builder
  • Shipwright
  • Structural Steel and Welding Tradesperson
  • Sheet Metal Tradesperson
  • Metal Fitter and Machinist Electrician
  • Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic
  • Carpenter and Joiner
  • Glazier
  • Painting Tradesperson
  • Motor Mechanic
  • Aircraft Maintenance Technician
  • Crane Operator
  • Truck Driver
  • Trades Assistant
  • Commercial Cleaner
  • Store Person
  • Trade Management/Supervision
  • Mechanical Operations Tradesperson
  • Electrical Operations Tradesperson
  • Piping Operations Tradesperson
  • Light Fabrication Tradesperson
  • Heavy Fabrication Tradesperson
  • Welding Operations Tradesperson

CASE STUDIES

ROZANNE | Senior Financial Accountant

Rozanne’s work as an accountant didn’t really pique much interest from people until she started working in the defence industry.

Now, her day-to-day involves working with a vast range of people on financing long-term defence projects, such as manufacturing batteries for submarines. For Rozanne, no two days are ever the same.

Rozanne’s role allows her to overcome complex challenges, investigate new technologies and investment opportunities and make strategic financial decisions for the future.

Rozanne can also see the exciting opportunities for career progression and job security that South Australia’s growing defence industry provides.

Rozanne is a Senior Financial Accountant at PMB Defence.

CHRISTIAN | Graduate Software Engineer

Christian completed his work experience with Silentium Defence before taking on a full-time role with the company as a Software Engineer upon finishing his studies.

For Christian, working in the defence industry is never boring. From creating software solutions for passive radar systems to developing and field testing new and innovative technologies, it is definitely not your average desk job.

Christian recognises the potential for development and career growth with so many great companies making up the South Australian defence industry.

Christian is a Graduate Software Engineer with Silentium Defence.

RHYS | Combat System Platform Integration Interface Manager

After nearly a decade in the Royal Australian Navy, Rhys transitioned his skills as an Electronics Technician into a career in the defence industry.

For Rhys, there is great satisfaction in working on projects that are tied to national security and improving the safety and quality of life for members of the Defence force.

Working in the defence industry allows him to be part of a diverse team responsible for delivering projects that serve a greater purpose.

Being part of the South Australian defence industry means taking pride in delivering successful projects and growing the state’s capability.

Rhys is currently working as a Combat System Platform Integration Interface Manager at Naval Group Australia.

TRENT | Senior Systems Engineer

Trent entered the defence industry as an engineering graduate and hasn’t looked back since.

Beginning his career working on the Collins class submarines and Air Warfare Destroyer programs, he has worked with platform and combat system integrators to ensure the functionality, operational needs and suitability of some of the Royal Australian Navy’s biggest assets.

Trent loves how refreshingly diverse the industry is and that he gets to work with people of varying ages, backgrounds, skills and aspirations from across defence industry, Government and the Australian Defence Force.

Trent is a Senior Systems Engineer with Nova Systems.

Click here to read more career stories.

Our Videos

Featured Video

Roxanne tells us what she loves about her career in Integrated Logistics Support

All Videos

In this episode, we discuss a day in the life of defence industry employees, Jayden and Georgia!
Rebecca had a chat about the amazing careers available in the defence industry with Reg Carruthers, Executive Director of Defence and Space at Defence SA.
Rebecca discusses working in the defence industry as a Combat and Automation Systems Engineer
Matthew tells us about working as a Mechanical Engineer in South Australia’s defence industry
Andrew shares his pathway to becoming an Operations Manager in defence industry
Jamila talks about finding meaningful work in the defence industry
Dhiren discusses the career opportunities available in the defence industry
Joisbel talks about the advantages of a defence industry career in engineering
Kyal describes his experience as a digital specialist in South Australia’s defence industry

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