The Defence TAFE Employment Scheme

DTES image

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 in the Following states:

There are no military service obligations or requirements.  This is a sponsorship for civilian students who may be interested in a civilian career in the Department of Defence.

Interested? Applications are open now and will close on Sunday 19 August 2018.


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.  

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 mutually beneficial 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 2019.

Eligibility criteria

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

  1. Be an Australian citizen.
  2. Having commenced study at a TAFE or similar educational institution in a relevant discipline (engineering/technical or logistics) during 2018. 
  3. Be continuing your study in the same discipline in 2019 (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 six months (logistics) or twelve months (other disciplines)of part-time study remaining.  
  5. Completion of your study must be no earlier than the end of Semester 2, 2019.
  6. Meet prescribed APS conditions of engagement including health, character and security checks.
  7. All positions within Defence will require you to obtain a 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.  

What we offer:

As a trainee on the DTES, you will have:

  • A starting salary upwards of $49,000pa (plus superannuation – minimum 15 percent) while you complete your TAFE study
  • Reimbursement of your TAFE course fees and the cost of text books and equipment
  • Practical, relevant and high-quality part-time work
  • Guaranteed employment in the Department of Defence as an Australian Public Servant with a starting salary in excess of $57,000 (plus superannuation) upon successful completion of the program.
  • Excellent employment conditions, including, but not limited to:  
    -   Flex time and access to other flexible working arrangements
    -   15 personal leave days per year
    -   Christmas stand down
    -   Assistance for further formal study, once you have completed the DTES program
    -   Paid long service leave (after the applicable period)

Employment conditions for Defence APS employees are contained in the Defence Enterprise Agreement (DEA) 2017-2020.

How do I successfully complete the DTES?

To complete the DTES successfully, you need to:

  • Achieve satisfactory academic performance (minimum pass grade is required for all units) each semester
  • Adhere to the APS and Defence Values and the APS Code of Conduct
  • Maintain currency of administrative requirements (performance documents, time sheets, etc.)

DTES Selection Process

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

Applications Open in July 2018

2. Interview and written activity – If you are considered suitable based on your application, you will be invited to attend an interview.

Interviews Late August

3. Final Selection  If your application is successful you will be offered a position on the 2019 DTES which will commence in February 2019. A security assessment and a simple medical are undertaken prior to finalising your recruitment to the Department of Defence.

October 2018

Commence DTES

February  2019

Hints on how to prepare your application

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.
  • be able to commence on the traineeship in February 2019.

Selection Criteria 

Selection criteria provide a set of measurable standards against which employers can assess your application.

When you apply for a position in the public service your application must address the selection criteria. The written application should provide sufficient and relevant information to allow a selection panel to short-list candidates to the next stage. This should include relevant examples of how you have demonstrated the behaviours/criteria.

Below is a list of the criteria which applicants will be assessed against 

Achieves Results

  • 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

  • ability to identify connections between issues, to draw links and to organise 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

  • ability to express oneself clearly and logically both orally and in writing
  • ability to tailor communication to accommodate a wide range of people
  • negotiation and influencing skills
  • listening skills

Team Work

  • 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 the impact on others
  • ability to motivate, mentor and provide direction to others

Genuine interest in working with Defence

  • genuine interest in, and knowledge of, the work of Defence
  • awareness of one’s ability to make a contribution to Defence and of the personal benefits to be gained through an engineering scholarship

Frequently asked questions

Do I need to be an Australian citizen?

You must be an Australian citizen to be eligible to commence on the DTES.

It is a condition of employment with the Australian Public Service (APS) that all employees are Australian citizens. This applies to ALL jobs within the APS, not just Defence.
The Australian Government considers that it is appropriate for government employees to be Australian citizens as a demonstration of their commitment to, and long-term stake in, the future of Australia

Do you have age limits for applicants?

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

I want to start one of the eligible qualifications in 2019. Am I still eligible?

In order to be eligible for the DTES, you need to have successfully completed at least 6 months of full time study in either engineering or logistics and have at least 12 months of part time study left to complete.

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.

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.

Why do I need a security clearance?

The security clearance is required for your work experience placement in Defence
Your suitability to hold a security clearance is determined after a series of assessments and background checks. These are undertaken to ensure that people entrusted with access to security classified information or resources are eligible, suitable and can be trusted to safeguard them.

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; 
  • Ten years for Negative Vetting 1 (NV1)/Negative Vetting 2 (NV2); and
  • Whole of life for Top Secret Positive Vetting (PV) clearances.

Does every applicant undergo a security clearance?

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

Further information about the clearance process can be found on the AGSVA website

What if I am unsuccessful in getting a security clearance?

As the security clearance will form part of the conditions of engagement, 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 2325.