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All the ways you can get into a STEM career in Defence

Whether you’re looking for what do after high school or seeking out further study, there’s a way to start out on a great career in STEM + Defence


Option 1

Take a gap year with the ADF

Finished Year 12 and ready to try something new? The Navy, Army and Air Force offer a paid gap year where you can choose the Defence role you want to try on for size. STEM subjects are a bonus if you’re looking to try on an officer’s hat. Added perks are travel, training and work experience.

Option 2

Heading to uni?

If you’ve completed Year 12, here are a few ways to get a degree while working towards a career in Defence:

  • Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA): Dive into STEM degree studies at UNSW while training to be an officer in the Navy, Army or Air Force.
  • Defence University Sponsorship: Score a salary and leadership training while you finish your engineering, science or healthcare degree (or a bunch of others!). You could have a job waiting for you when you graduate!
  • Join the military: You can join after you complete your degree, be sponsored at a civilian university or attend ADFA. Or you can join through general entry to gain a technical trade.

Find out more about STEM careers in Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) here.

Option 3

Snap up an apprenticeship


Defence recruits grads from a multitude of degree areas, including but not limited to engineering, healthcare and science for a range of challenging and exciting roles.

Option 1

Science, Tech & Engineering

If you’re interested in cutting-edge research, check out DSTG’s Defence Graduate Program or STEM Cadetship Program.

Defence’s Graduate Program also has technical and intelligence pathways that could open doors to engineering, project or cyber roles.

Option 2

Cyber focus 

Want to combine your passion for code and computers with keeping the country safe? Check out these opportunities at the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD):

  • Spend a week honing your hacker-blocking skills in a work experience placement at the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ASCS).
  • ASD CyberEXP is an interactive online program that gives uni and high school students a taste of life on the frontline of Defence cyber security.
  • The ASD Internship Program is a paid opportunity for uni students to dive into Defence cyber operations during their summer holidays.
  • The Australian STEM Cadetship Program offers part-time work for uni students in a range of STEM courses, and there’s a stream for Defence cyber.

Looking for inspo? Get social

Follow @defencejobsaust on Instagram to keep up to date with career news and stories
for Navy, Army and Air Force.

Or if you’re more into research, @defencescience is the feed to tap into.

Defence Jobs Australia on YouTube has video interviews with technicians and officers, virtual tours of the Australian Defence Force Academy, and more.

Follow @ASDGovAu on twitter for news on Defence cyber info sessions and opportunities.

This article was first published in Careers with STEM: Defence 2023. For more Defence role models, head to our STEM + Defence role model hub!

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