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Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths (STEM) Cadetship


Please note the below information pertains to both the STEM Cadetship bulk recruitment and affirmative measures (Indigenous Recruitment) activities.

The STEM Cadetship offers students a head start to a rewarding career in Defence by offering an entry-level employment pathway for high performing tertiary students currently studying a relevant Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) or Photography and Imaging degree.

As a STEM Cadet, you will be employed as an Australian Public Service (APS) employee where you will be provided with real-world, practical and high-quality work in the Department of Defence.

As a STEM Cadet, you will receive:

  • Ongoing (permanent) employment with a minimum salary of $49,616 pa (plus 15.4% superannuation) during your cadetship;
  • Payment of compulsory university fees (i.e. course fees) during your cadetship;
  • $500 per semester book/resources allowance;
  • 60-days (minimum) work placements per annum in Defence; and
  • Guaranteed employment with Defence upon successful completion of the cadetship.

During the STEM Cadetship, you will be able to apply your discipline, academic knowledge and skills to contribute to Defence’s current projects. Similarly, you will be able to apply the practical skills and knowledge that you learn from Defence back into your studies.

Explore the opportunities below to find out how your university discipline can lead to a rewarding, challenging and meaningful career in Defence. The STEM Cadetship will provide you with excellent learning and career development opportunities to propel you into your future career with confidence.

Science

A science career in Defence offers you unparalleled exposure to innovative scientific expertise, diverse learning opportunities and unique development experiences. During the STEM cadetship you will have access to leading edge technology and you will experience a stimulating and dynamic environment that fosters innovation and creativity. As a STEM Cadet, you will work across a spectrum of Defence projects that will offer exposure to new and exciting challenges including:

  • Supporting national intelligence priorities and Defence’s military operations regionally and beyond;
  • Biology, Chemistry, Radiological or related degrees will see you work in world-class laboratories, contribute to research that informs, safeguards and mitigates risks posed by chemical, biological, and radiological threats and weapons of mass destruction;
  • Cadets with a computer science background can apply their degree and contribute to research areas including cyber security, communications and networks research, machine learning and data mining, artificial intelligence, big data analysis, cryptology, advanced robotics, natural language processing, autonomous systems, electronic warfare and reconnaissance systems;
  • Human, Social and Health Sciences is all about people. Apply your psychology degree to enhance the selection and training of Australia’s warfighters; research human / machine interactions and Human Factors to improve capability functionality;
  • As a material scientist, you could test ballistic armour for the Australian Army’s armoured personnel carriers to ensure the safety of Australian Defence Force Soldiers;
  • Help develop technologies to support Australian ships to hunt submarines, resupply and fuel other ships, undertake off-shore patrol, launch aircraft such as helicopters, and conduct self defence against air and sea threats;
  • Develop, research and procure space and satellite communication systems;
  • Using your food science degree, you will conduct quality assurance of combat ration foods, develop novel techniques in stabilisation of probiotics and vitamins, and develop prototype food products to ensure that the ADF personnel’s nutritional health is looked after during training and deployment;
  • Conduct research and create knowledge in areas such as submarines, Joint Strike Fighter, hypersonics, land vehicles, space systems, radar systems, autonomous vehicles and integrated technology; and
  • Using your sociology degree, identify and analyse current and potential conflicts and emerging contingencies.

Eligible degree disciplines:

Biological / Chemical / Computer / Food / Material / Psychology / Radiological / Social Science / Physics.

Technology

As a STEM Cadet you will have the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technologies on challenging projects that will shape future Defence capabilities. You will work with specialised systems created to support our national intelligence capability, protect Australian information systems, and provide imminent support to our military operations.

As a member of the Australian Public Service, you will be working as part of a team to research, design, and build advanced technologies. You will have the opportunity to work on:

  • Testing airborne cameras for monitoring systems;
  • Cyber security, satellite communications and digital forensics to ensure the situational awareness between Navy, Army and Air Force platforms are secure;
  • Software design and support to develop and research electronic warfare, reconnaissance, surveillance, electronic warfare, combat and life support systems;
  • Space and satellite communication systems;
  • Cyber incident response, network design and programming;
  • Network and system engineering;
  • Malware analysis and penetration testing;
  • Analysing and reporting on weapon systems and defence technologies that may pose threats to Australian forces;
  • Military test and evaluation activities, including vehicle and weapon trials; and
  • Use photo imagery and high speed video to capture and record the impact of armament and other military technologies on land vehicles and inform Defence’s technical teams on the performance of the vehicle’s survivability.

Eligible degree disciplines:

Computing and Cyber Security / Computer Systems / Information technology / Photography / Imaging.

Engineering

As a STEM Cadet, you will support Australian Defence Force operations, advise the Government on Defence acquisitions, apply technologies to sustain current capabilities, and undertake cutting edge research to safeguard Australia against future Defence and national security challenges.

From fighter aircraft, Navy ships and soldier systems, to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance technologies, you will undoubtedly find a career in Defence that gives you exposure to innovative technical expertise, diverse learning opportunities and unique development experiences.

You will have the opportunity to work across a wide spectrum of projects around Australia, such as:

  • Supporting unprecedented multi-billion dollar projects in the Maritime sphere within Defence and have the unique opportunity to be a part of this significant contribution to Australian Navy capability;
  • Supporting major acquisition projects worth billions of dollars, such as the Joint Strike Fighter, soldier combat vehicles and protection systems, electronic warfare, communications and surveillance systems and guided weapons;
  • Work on Air Force capability including aircraft design, testing and combat systems on projects such as F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, P-8 Poseidon, EA-18G Growler electronic warfare technologies and MQ-4 Triton reconnaissance and surveillance systems;
  • Developing, building and maintaining a spectrum of technologies from simple electronics to supercomputers, and from small scripts to complex systems;
  • Performing and managing systems engineering focused activities, including planning, facilitating and assuring confidence in the delivery of engineering outcomes for Defence;
  • Supporting Australian Defence Force personnel deployed on operations around the world, by identifying vulnerabilities and potential countermeasures to mitigate risks;
  • Translating Defence’s needs into operational capability in partnership with industry;
  • Testing and evaluating weapon, communication, navigation, surveillance, life support and combat systems and platforms.
  • As a Civil or Structural Cadet, you will be involved in the development of wide range of facilities from standard commercial type facilities such office buildings and sleeping accommodation through to complex Defence specific facilities such as wind tunnels, live fire ranges and underwater escape trainers.
  • Working with specialised Defence industry partners to deliver and maintain capability outcomes to our Defence domains. This includes definition, development and control of requirements, overview and assurance of design, manufacturing, maintenance and modification of a product; and
  • Think ships, submarines, Joint Strike Fighter, hypersonics, land vehicles, space systems, radar systems, autonomous vehicles and all the integrated technology and you will only begin to imagine the endless research engineering opportunities in Defence. As a research engineer, you will use your degree to conduct research and create knowledge, continuously pushing the boundaries to ensure that Australia’s Defence Capabilities are at the forefront.

Eligible degree disciplines:

Aerospace / Aeronautical Engineering / Avionics Engineering / Chemical Engineering (including majors in Armament) / Civil / Construction / Structural Engineering / Communications / Telecommunications Engineering / Electrical / Electronic Engineering / Maritime Engineering / Marine Engineering / Naval Architecture / Mechanical Engineering / Mechatronic Engineering (including Robotics) / Software Engineering / Space Engineering / Space Systems / Systems Engineering.

Maths

Are you seeking a career that offers unparalleled exposure to innovative mathematical expertise, diverse learning opportunities and unique development experiences? As a STEM Cadet, you will have the opportunity to work across a spectrum of career opportunities around Australia that will offer constant exposure to new and exciting challenges. You will have the opportunity to work on:

  • Supporting national intelligence priorities of Government and Defence’s military operations regionally and beyond;
  • Exploring traditional cyber security roles spanning from cryptography, coding, software production, computer science and big data analysis;
  • Analysing threat and weapons systems;
  • Developing, testing and researching sonar technologies and acoustic signatures research for current future Navy ships and submarines;
  • Analysing data, models and solutions to enhance the Australian Defence Force’s decision making;
  • Analysing communications systems, solving cryptological problems, and connecting intelligence from multiple sources including reconnaissance and surveillance platforms; and
  • Conducting complex modelling and simulation activities, including signature predictions.

Eligible degree disciplines:

Mathematics


Locations

The STEM Cadetship offers positions in the following locations:

Adelaide, Brisbane (Amberley), Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth (Rockingham) and Sydney.

Eligibility:

The STEM Cadetship Program is open to Australian undergraduate university students who have:

  1. Australian citizenship; and
  2. A credit average (GPA ≥ 5 on a seven point scale); and
  3. Will complete their tertiary studies (including Honours / Masters) between the end of Semester Two 2020 and the end of Semester Two 2022; and
  4. Are currently enrolled in a relevant STEM undergraduate (with honours / masters) degree or are eligible and agree to undertake an honours / masters degree as part of the STEM Cadetship if required. Please see the individual STEM tabs above for a list of relevant STEM degrees.

Affirmative Measure – Indigenous Recruitment

Applicants applying for the affirmative measures (Indigenous Recruitment) STEM Cadetship positions must meet the eligibility criteria above, in addition to providing confirmation of Aboriginal and/ or Torres Strait Islander heritage.

Suitable evidence of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander heritage must include:

  • a letter signed by the Chairperson, Chief Executive Officer or authorised delegate of an incorporated Indigenous organisation confirming that the individual is recognised as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, or
  • a confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent document executed by an Indigenous organisation.

If the above documents are not available Defence accepts a statutory declaration made by an individual confirming their heritage. Given the sensitivities, individuals are not required to provide a reason why a letter or confirmation document cannot be obtained.


Why choose the STEM Cadetship?

Put your studies into practice and your practice back into your studies

As a STEM Cadet, you will have the opportunity to apply your academic knowledge and research skills to contribute to Defence’s research and military capability programs Similarly, you will be able to apply the practical skills and knowledge that you learn from your Defence work placement back to your studies.

Immerse yourself in practical work that will provide you with the skills and knowledge required to undertake rewarding, exciting, challenging and meaningful work whilst you continue your studies.

Get a head start in your career

With the STEM Cadetship, you won’t have to wait until the final-year of your degree to start looking for a job. Upon successful completion your Cadetship and relevant degree, you will have guaranteed employment with the Department of Defence in an APS role where you will support the Australian Defence Force and contribute to Defence’s mission of defending Australia and its National interests.

Learn from the best

Not only will you be supervised by a senior scientist, engineer, IT professional or mathematician, you will be provided with world class training to help gain and expand your skills. You will work in an integrated team alongside your Australian Defence Force colleagues to achieve Defence’s goals and mission. You will learn from Australia’s brightest and most innovative specialists at the forefront of international Defence capability and research.

During the STEM Cadetship, you will also participate in a mentoring program that will support you to achieve your career aspirations.

Work Content. More than π in the sky

At Defence, you will have access to leading edge technology and experience a stimulating and dynamic environment that fosters innovation and creativity. You will be proud to know that your efforts will contribute to Australia’s future defence and national security capability. In addition, during your 60 days of work placement per annum, the STEM Cadetship offers opportunities across a range of duties including:

  • Working with Australian Defence Force and Defence civilian employees to provide scientific advice and/or develop technologies relevant to your university studies;
  • Providing scientific and technical support to current defence operations and military capability platforms;
  • Investigating future technologies for defence and national security applications;
  • Ensuring Australia is a smart buyer and user of defence equipment;
  • Developing new defence and national security capabilities. This may include intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, communication, weapon platform, cyber security, ballistic, aircraft, guidance, war fighter and mechatronic technologies;
  • Enhancing existing capabilities by increasing performance and safety, and reducing the cost of ownership of defence assets;
  • Supporting collaborative relationships with government agencies to strengthen national security; or
  • Assisting and engaging with industry to better support Defence capability needs.

Apply now to take up the challenge of working for one of Australia's most dynamic organisations and develop cutting edge technology to protect Australia and our national interests


Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a credit average to apply?

Yes. Applicants must have a credit average (GPA ≥ 5 on a seven point scale) when applying for the STEM Cadetship and must maintain a credit average for the duration of the Cadetship. Applicants must also:

  • Complete their tertiary studies (including Honours / Masters) between the end of Semester Two 2020 and the end of Semester Two 2022; and
  • Be currently enrolled in a relevant STEM undergraduate (with honours / masters) degree or are eligible and agree to undertake an honours / masters degree as part of the Defence Cadetship if required.

What happens during the STEM Cadetship?

STEM Cadets are provided with diverse and meaningful work placements for a minimum of 60-days each year whilst completing their relevant tertiary STEM Studies. During the STEM Cadetship, you will be able to apply your discipline, academic knowledge and skills to contribute to Defence’s current projects. Similarly, you will be able to apply the practical skills and knowledge that you learn from Defence back into your studies.The focus is on skills development with variety as the key.

During your 60 days of work placement per annum, the Defence Cadetship offers opportunities across a range of duties including:

  1. Working with Australian Defence Force and Defence civilian employees to provide scientific advice and/or develop technologies relevant to your university studies;
  2. Providing scientific and technical support to current defence operations and military capability platforms;
  3. Investigating future technologies for defence and national security applications;
  4. Ensuring Australia is a smart buyer and user of defence equipment;
  5. Developing new defence and national security capabilities. This may include intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, communication, weapon platform, cyber security, ballistic, aircraft, guidance, war fighter and mechatronic technologies;
  6. Enhancing existing capabilities by increasing performance and safety, and reducing the cost of ownership of defence assets;
  7. Supporting collaborative relationships with government agencies to strengthen national security; or
  8. Assisting and engaging with industry to better support Defence capability needs.

Work placements will be arranged depending on your availability, study load and workplace project requirements. Supervisors will negotiate with their Cadets to arrange a suitable work life and study balance to ensure the arrangement is mutually beneficial.

It is likely Cadets will work during their university’s mid semester and Christmas break. It is also possible to complete the work placement on a one day per-week basis during each year on the Cadetship – please note that the Cadet’s work schedule is dependent on the Cadets availability, location of the work placement, work placement deliverables and supervisors availability.

At the completion of a work placement, you will be required to prepare and provide a research report and deliver a presentation on the research project.

Where are the work placements?

The STEM Cadetship offers positions in the following locations:

Adelaide, Brisbane (Amberley), Canberra, Melbourne, Newcastle, Perth (Rockingham) and Sydney.

What happens when my work placement is not in my home state?

Defence will provide relocation assistance for the duration of your work placement if required, in accordance with Defence policy. This includes all travel costs (i.e. flights) and accommodation. If your work placement is not in your home state, it is recommended Cadets arrange with their supervisor to complete their work placement via an intensive method (i.e. during mid-semester break and during the Christmas break).

Can you tell me something about the selection process?

Defence APS recruitment processes are based on merit which means that we select the best person for the job from a field of applicants. We compare and weigh-up the skills, experience and abilities of each applicant and often use different tools and techniques (such as written applications, interviews and/or work sample tests) to collect the evidence needed to make a merit-based decision.

The STEM Cadetship recruitment process is as follows:

  1. Applicants are required to meet the eligibility requirements prior to applying. Eligible applicants will then complete online psychometric testing.
  2. Eligible applicants will submit an online written application addressing specified selection criterion listed within the STEM cadetship job information pack.
  3. The applications and online psychometric tests are then assessed against the selection criteria, and shortlists are developed.
  4. Applicants will be invited to complete online emotional and behavioural testing, in addition to attending an assessment centre.
  5. Following the assessment centre, merit pools are developed from which successful applicants will be offered a STEM Cadetship role.

When will you be making offers to successful applicants?

All offers will have been made prior to December and unsuccessful candidates will be notified shortly after.

If successful, initially you will be notified via the telephone to ascertain your continued interest in a position. Upon verbal confirmation, a formal written letter of offer will be sent. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified via email.

Are you looking for people with specific degrees?

Yes. Please see below for the eligible STEM Cadetship degree disciplines.

Science - Biological / Chemical / Computer / Food / Material / Psychology / Radiological / Social Science, Physics.

Technology - Computing and Cyber Security, Computer Systems, Information technology, Photography / Imaging.

Engineering - Aerospace / Aeronautical Engineering, Avionics Engineering, Chemical Engineering (including majors in Armament), Civil / Construction / Structural Engineering, Communications / Telecommunications Engineering, Electrical / Electronic Engineering, Maritime Engineering / Marine Engineering / Naval Architecture, Mechanical Engineering, Mechatronic Engineering (including Robotics), Software Engineering, Space Engineering / Space Systems, Systems Engineering.

Mathematics - Mathematics

Do you have age limits for applicants?

No. All STEM Cadets are selected on their capabilities and demonstrated competence against the selection criteria. Our Cadets come from a wide range of backgrounds, experience and stages of life.

What does a security clearance involve?

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.

Depending on the level of clearance required for the position, Defence may look into police records, employment history, credit ratings, as well as contact professional and personal referees to provide character references. You must be able to provide background information to AGSVA to cover the relevant period of time in line with the required security clearance. This will include providing Australian Citizens as referees (including any period spent overseas)

Only the candidates who accept a position on a program undergo a security clearance.

Can I apply if I’m not an Australian Citizen?

To be eligible to work in the Department of Defence, you MUST BE an Australian Citizen (if you are a dual Australian citizen, you are eligible to apply for the STEM Cadetship).

Can I apply for other positions in Defence, outside of the STEM Cadetship?

Yes, you are welcome to apply for other Defence roles. Please see Defence APS Careers for a list of available opportunities.

For further inquiries, please contact stem.cadetship@defence.gov.au