The Australian Defence Force (ADF) Gap Year programme aims to give Australian school-leavers and young adults an exposure to the military way of life, and the roles and opportunities on offer in the ADF. First implemented in 2007, the Gap Year programme was re-introduced in 2015 with an intake of 260 members, made up of 200 Army and 60 Air Force entrants.
Categories open to Gap Year entrants include artilleryman, driver specialist, rifleman, and quartermaster in the Army, as well as airbase protection in the Air Force. These categories give Gap Year entrants a wide variety of experiences within the military environment, and also allow for gender-diverse employment roles throughout the Army and Air Force.
Of the 260 entrants in the 2015 intake, 46 (17.7 per cent) were female, 8 (2.7 per cent) identified as coming from an Indigenous Australian background, and 15 (5.3 per cent) were from a non-English-speaking background.
Aircraftwoman Lauren Smith (left) deferred entry to the University of Melbourne to participate in the 2015 Gap Year programme after completing Year 12 and achieving an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank of 97.8 from her studies of mathematics, physics and chemistry-related subjects.
Originally from Wesley Vale, Tasmania, Lauren is currently posted to Number 2 Security Forces Squadron Detachment, Townsville, Queensland, where she will be employed in airbase security roles.
Joining the ADF was a long-term plan for Lauren. She was intrigued by the ‘try before you buy’ allure of the Gap Year programme and believed that the programme presented an opportunity to experience Defence firsthand and to discover more about Defence and the opportunities it offers for future careers.
‘While the training was challenging and at times stressful and strenuous, it was also adrenaline-filled’, Lauren said. ‘I don’t believe I’d be able to work the way I do without that training.’
On completion of the Gap Year programme, Lauren intends to study for an aeronautical engineering degree at the Australian Defence Force Academy before undertaking pilot training in the Air Force.
Private Maddison Rio (left) joined the Army Gap Year programme with a view to undertaking a positive and rewarding experience before starting her tertiary studies.
Originally from Townsville, Queensland, Maddison is currently posted to 1 Combat Services Support Battalion in Darwin, where she is employed as an administrative clerk.
‘I wanted to do something different and worthwhile before going to university’, Maddison said. ‘After travelling to Japan and Korea on a military study tour in Year 12, I was inspired and motivated to apply for the Gap Year programme.’
Maddison’s family travelled from Townsville to attend her march-out parade at Kapooka, New South Wales, and are very proud of her achievements in the Army. Her mother remarks that ‘Maddison is very independent and grown up now’.
On completion of the Gap Year programme, Maddison is interested in studying finance and human resources. She believes that the role of administrative clerk will provide her with good insight into the world of human resources.