The Defence TAFE Employment Scheme

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The Department of Defence provides a variety of exciting employment opportunities to students currently studying engineering or logistics at TAFE.

Defence is seeking students completing a qualification in engineering or logistics at the Certificate IV, Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree level.

Interested? Applications for the 2018 Defence TAFE Employment Scheme (DTES) are open 14 August and close 11 September 2017–APPLY HERE

About the DTES

The DTES is a civilian traineeship scheme designed to support students completing their final year/s of TAFE by providing part-time paid employment combined with ongoing study with guaranteed employment on successful completion of the Scheme.

As a DTES trainee you will be provided with the opportunity to use your acquired knowledge and skills to complement your continuing study program with relevant, exciting and practical employment in a unique environment. You will be provided with real-life paid work to practice and utilise your existing skills.

What’s in it for you?

  • the opportunity to be paid to complete your academic study.
  • ongoing employment plus an attractive salary starting at $46,759 pa (plus superannuation – minimum 15 per cent) while you complete your TAFE study.
  • reimbursement of your TAFE course fees and the cost of text books and equipment for remaining study completed while working at Defence.
  • the opportunity to undertake practical, high quality part-time work to support academic study.
  • guaranteed employment in the Department of Defence as an Australian Public Service officer with a salary of $55,825 pa (plus superannuation) on successful completion of the DTES.
  • exposure to senior Defence professionals in your specific job discipline to provide ongoing advice regarding your academic study and career options.
  • work-life balance – Defence offers the chance to balance work with other interests.
  • professional development – Defence places great emphasis and invests heavily in professional development.
  • future career opportunities – this program offers a kick-start for a career in Defence.

Real opportunities

As a trainee you will be given the opportunity to work on exciting, real-world projects with leading edge technology in a range of job disciplines, including engineering/technology and logistics.

Depending on your experience, work in Defence will be designed to complement your study program. A training plan including your study and work requirements will be negotiated and signed with your supervisor and educational institution. This plan will involve a 50/50 work to study ratio during your school semester and fulltime work in Defence during semester breaks as negotiated with your supervisor.

Positions are available in various locations around Australia (locations vary from year to year). Those awarded a place on the DTES will commence with Defence in February 2018.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the DTES you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Be an Australian citizen.
  2. During 2017 already be studying at a TAFE or similar educational institution in a relevant discipline (engineering/technical or logistics). 
  3. Be continuing your study in the same discipline in 2018 (toward a minimum Certificate IV, Diploma, Advanced Diploma or Associate Degree). 
  4. Have successfully completed at least six months of full-time (or part-time equivalent) study towards an accredited qualification in engineering or logistics, and have twelve months of part-time study remaining.  
  5. Completion of your study must be no earlier than the end of Semester 2, 2018.
  6. Meet prescribed APS conditions of engagement including health, character and security checks.
  7. All positions within Defence will require you to obtain some level of security clearance to be eligible for employment, which will include a variety of background checks. Security clearance assessments are undertaken by the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA). Before applying you will need to consider whether you are willing to provide personal information in order to meet these requirements. Failure to meet the minimum security requirements of an advertised position will result in your application being unsuccessful. Information, including frequently asked questions, is available from AGSVA ­Getting a Clearance.

If you meet this criteria you may be eligible for the DTES.

Why choose Defence

The Department of Defence offer civilian employees the opportunity to play a real part in keeping Australia secure, to contribute to intelligence operations nationally and internationally, and peace keeping missions overseas. We are one of Australia’s largest government departments and as such, we are able to offer rewarding careers across the widest possible spectrum of employment categories. You name it, we do it.

Excellent employment conditions

Department of Defence employees have access to:

  • four weeks annual leave per year
  • 15 days personal leave each year for illness and caring purposes
  • access to up to 52 weeks maternity leave, including up to 18 weeks paid leave
  • flex time and access to other flexible working arrangements, like working from home (after you have completed your traineeship)
  • assistance for further formal study
  • Christmas stand down
  • paid long service leave (after the applicable period).

Employment conditions for Defence APS employees are contained in the Defence Enterprise Collective Agreement (DECA) 2012-2014.

See: DECA 2012-2014 on the Defence Pay and Conditions website.

The selection process – hints and tips

Applications for the 2018 DTES will open in mid August 2017. Our recruitment procedure is a three stage process as outlined below:

1. Application – Applications are online. You will need to answer a few questions about your experience, submit a resume and provide contact details for two current referees.

The application will be used to assess your:

  • Written communication skills
  • Thinking skills
  • Technical skills
  • Ability to achieve results
  • Interest in the Department of Defence

Open: mid August 2017

2. Assessment Centre – If you are considered suitable based on your application, you will be invited to attend a half day assessment centre which may include a group exercise, a written exercise and an interview. Assessment Centres will be held in October/November and will assess your:

  • Relationship management ability
  • Communication skills
  • Thinking skills
  • Technical skills
  • Ability to achieve results
  • Interest in the Department of Defence

October/November 2017

3. Final Selection  If your application is successful you will be offered a position on the 2018 DTES which will commence in February 2018. A security assessment and a simple medical are undertaken prior to finalising your recruitment to the Department of Defence.

Selection Offers: 
November 2017

Commence DTES

February  2018

Selection criteria

The following table describes the selection criteria against which you will be evaluated.



Characteristics (Things you can do to meet the criteria)

Achieves results:

  • goal focused
  • resilient
  • realistic
  • overcomes obstacles.
  • Being proactive and taking the initiative
  • Self-motivation and commitment to achieving results
  • Ability to develop solutions that target problems effectively
  • Ability to keep difficulties in perspective and respond positively to setbacks and challenges
  • Willingness to take responsibility for own actions

Thinking skills:

  • intelligent
  • shows wise judgement.
  • Ability to identify interrelationships between issues, to draw links and to synthesise information across different sources
  • Ability to place information in a broader context and to identify likely implications
  • Ability to generate new ideas and innovative approaches to problems
  • Ability to generate effective practical applications

Communication skills:

  • listen
  • understand
  • explore
  • convey ideas.
  • Ability to express oneself clearly and logically both orally and in writing
  • Ability to tailor communication to accommodate a wide range of other people
  • Negotiation and influencing skills
  • Listening skills

Relationship management:

  • gets on with others
  • contributes effectively
  • Ability to assist, support and work co-operatively with other team members
  • Commitment to team objectives and ability to generate this in others
  • Ability to give and receive feedback effectively
  • Understanding of own role within a team and impact on others
  • Ability to motivate, mentor and provide direction to others

Genuine interest in working with Defence.

  • Genuine interest in and commitment to the work of the Department of Defence
  • An awareness of one’s ability to make a contribution to Defence and of the personal benefits to be gained through a traineeship and civilian career in the Department of Defence

Technical skills

  • Builds & maintains appropriate experience, skills and knowledge
  • Ability to apply technical skills appropriately
  • Awareness of and commitment to professional standards

Before applying for the DTES, you should:

  • review and understand the criteria which you will be assessed against (above)
  • find out as much as you can about the Department of Defence and its current projects
  • gain an understanding of strategic Defence issues
  • consider whether you are willing to go through the security clearance process.

Hints to assist in preparation of your application

See: How to prepare your application: Key hints and tips

Hints on how to prepare for the Department of Defence assessment centres

See: Hints and tips: Assessment centres

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to be an Australian citizen?

Australian citizenship is a condition of employment in the APS. To be eligible to commence the DTES, you must be an Australian citizen. If you are not an Australian citizen at the time of applying, you will need to provide evidence that you will become an Australian citizen before you commence the DTES.

See: Department of Immigration and Citizenship website.

Do you have age limits for applicants?

No. All applicants are selected according to a merit based selection process.

What does a medical clearance involve?

The medical clearance is designed to ensure that you are fit to work in the Department of Defence. A Commonwealth medical clearance is a standard condition of employment in the Australian Public Service.

Note: Only the candidates successful in the final selection process undergo a medical clearance.

As a Defence Australian Public Servant, am I required to wear a uniform and participate in Military exercises?

No. The DTES is for civilian positions only. Given you will not be a member of the Australian Defence Force, you are not required to wear a uniform and will not undertake any military exercises.

Why do I need a security clearance?

A security clearance is a condition of APS employment and is required to assess your reliability and trustworthiness with Defence information. If the availability, integrity or confidentiality of Defence information is compromised in any way, lives can be lost – it is as simple as that.

What level of security clearance do I need?

You will be cleared to a Baseline level (as a minimum) to participate in the DTES. Some positions may require higher security clearance and this will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Note: Some positions in the DTES require a minimum security clearance at the Negative Vetting 1 level.

What do I need for a security clearance?

You will need to be an Australian citizen to obtain a security clearance. In addition, applicants must have a verifiable personal background/history for at least the preceding:

  • Five years for Baseline clearances; and
  • Ten years for Negative Vetting 1 (NV1)

Does every applicant undergo a security clearance?

Only the candidates who accept a position in the DTES undergo the security clearance process.

As part of your offer of a position you will be asked to:

  • provide comprehensive information about yourself for the past 5-10 years
  • provide comprehensive information about your dependants/relatives
  • give the Department the right to check any information you provide with relevant authorities such as the Australian Federal Police and financial institutions.

What if I am unsuccessful in getting a security clearance?

If you are unsuccessful in getting a security clearance at the required level, your offer to join the DTES will be withdrawn.

For more information about the DTES, please email or call (02) 6127 3103.