South Australia is home to a thriving defence industry, with multi-billion-dollar projects spanning across naval shipbuilding, information warfare and cyber, along with a growing space ecosystem of more than 100 organisations.
Recent research conducted by Defence SA shows that while the defence industry alone in South Australia is expected to need an additional 10,000 people over the next 10 years, not everyone is aware of the career opportunities available in the state.
Defence SA Chief Executive Richard Price said the highest priority for South Australia is building the workforce needed for large-scale projects, including the nuclear submarines and Hunter Class frigates, as well as key Defence Force priorities such as information warfare.
“One part of building the workforce is ensuring people are aware of the opportunities and the pathways available to them to get there, so it is about education,” said Richard.
“The recent survey found that only 44% of respondents knew that you didn’t need to be part of the Defence Force to be part of the defence industry. And only 11% realised that a career in the defence industry is a lifelong career of 25 years and beyond.”
When it comes to the space industry, very few people were aware of the opportunities opening up in South Australia. Only 35% believed there are many opportunities, compared with 70% for the defence industry.
“Our state is supporting the Australian Space Agency’s objective of growing the space workforce to 20,000 by 2030 so we are also keen to promote the opportunities in that sector.
“South Australia is home to the Australian Space Agency and more than 100 space-related organisations undertaking ground-breaking work in everything from small satellite manufacture to earth observation and also launch.”
Defence SA’s research also revealed significantly more men than women thought a career in the defence and space industries was for them, with 38% of men stating they were likely to pursue a career in South Australia’s defence or space industries, compared with only 22% of women.
“We are continuing our Find Your Place advertising campaign to de-bunk these myths and show people what a career in the defence and space industries can look like and how you can get there.”
While educating the potential workforce about the opportunities is one element, ensuring there is a robust workforce plan in place and appropriate training pathways available is also vital.
“We are working closely with the Australian Government on the Defence Industry Workforce and Skills Taskforce to develop and implement a skills and workforce plan. We are also building five new technical colleges to support secondary school students to undertake vocational and technical training, including training relevant to defence.”
“People might be surprised about the type of careers available. We aren’t just talking about engineers and scientists, there are also roles in project management, operations and trades, as well as design and IT.”
There has been good progress over the last two years with Defence SA’s 2021 research measuring awareness of defence and space industry opportunities at 35% and 20% respectively.
Visit the campaign website www.FindYourPlaceSA.com for more information about a career in South Australia’s defence and space industries.