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Why Should Graduates Choose Defence?

By Emily Small on 11 December 2019

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Congratulations, you’ve graduated! Freedom at last! But alas – here comes the ontological crisis. Graduation is a time of relief, excitement, celebration and, well... panic. If you aren’t one of the lucky ones that have everything planned out for the next five years, you are probably freaking out about what to do once you are thrust into the real world.

It is genuinely stressful trying to figure out what direction to go in and what would be a good fit for you. You probably went to the school and university fairs and picked up the flyers. You probably even went to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) stall because they always have the best freebies. You may have taken the water bottle but dismissed defence industry because you don’t look good in green face paint and camo is “so 2006”.

But did you know there is more to defence industry than the enlisted forces? You can still play a part in the security of Australia without leopard crawling through mud. One of the biggest attractions to a role in defence is having a career with a tangible impact on something bigger than yourself – and joining the ADF isn’t the only way you can do that. The defence industry is full of private organisations and small-to-medium enterprises that work to create the capability the ADF uses to keep Australia safe and has a multitude of opportunities out there to suit “absolutely everybody” (Vanessa Amorosi, 1999).

We’ve broken down some key reasons for you to argue to your career advisor:

Truckloads of opportunity

Defence industry is steadily growing, and the number of workers currently in the industry is not going to meet the demand moving forward. This means its future is going to rely heavily on new talent (you). The industry is currently prioritising the attraction and retention of graduates, and many key players have graduate streams running every year. These organisations are also known for fostering and keeping individuals with the right skills and attitudes, supporting their career progression for the long term.

What’s more, no matter what you are interested in, the defence industry has it. The industry spans a massive range of different projects and needs personnel for each stage from support to delivery. A brief list of pathways you could explore in Defence includes:

  • Maritime engineering
  • Naval construction
  • Administration
  • Project Management
  • Science
  • Mathematics
  • Intelligence and Cyber
  • Research and Innovation
  • Policy
  • Information and Communication Technology
  • Procurement and Contracting
  • Logistics
  • Estate and Infrastructure
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Business Development
  • Generalist roles

Some perks of being a  defence industry graduate will include:

  • Safety-critical work. This means you will be working in an environment that is far more rigorous than others. You’ll be starting at the top.
  • Travel opportunities. Many Defence organisations originate from overseas and are always interested in sending their graduates overseas for training, mainly in Europe.
  • Training. Defence is very interested in training their graduates in line with preparing for the future.

Long-term Industry stability

The Australian Government have announced that they are dedicating $200 billion over the next ten years to defence. These projects are not only worth a tremendous amount of money but also have substantial longevity attached for a fruitful career. It is even said that the Captain of the last submarine to be built in the Future Submarines project has yet to be born! All of this growth within the industry is expected to produce over 2,000 jobs in the next year alone.

Right now, it is an exhilarating time for defence. There has recently been a lot of money dedicated to the industry and multiple large projects on the horizon, particularly naval projects, including:

  • $90 billion to the continuous naval shipbuilding program
  • $35 billion to replace the Anzac-class frigates with Hunter-class frigates
  • $50 billion to design and build twelve new submarines on Australian soil

Although other industries might rise and fall over the next ten years, you can be assured that defence industry will support you on your career journey.

The work is exciting and fulfilling

Defence industry is on the cusp of a major overhaul of its systems and processes, with huge investment and prioritisation into technological development. Work in defence industry involves cutting edge and innovative technologies at the forefront of the market. It also requires significant amounts of collaboration,  which means working with new and interesting people all the time.

Defence is not only exciting for the platforms, but the industry is ever-changing, and there is continuous anticipation around upcoming projects and speculation on which company will win the work and where.

Working towards the bigger picture and producing the platforms that will ultimately help protect Australia also comes with a sense of pride and purpose.

The takeaway message?

Obviously, whatever industry you choose will have its benefits, and sometimes it might just come down to what interests you the most. At this time in your life, there is a lot of uncertainty about what to do next and where to start building your career. When taking the crucial step into launching your career; don’t overlook defence industry.

Feel free to get in touch of if have any questions or would like to discuss your options.

Image: by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash

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