TAFE Employment Scheme

The Defence TAFE Employment Scheme (DTES) offers students a head start to their career in Defence by supporting their vocational education with practical, paid work experience that contributes to the protection of Australia’s national interests.

As a participant on the Defence TAFE Employment Scheme, you will work as part of the Australian Public Service (APS) where you will be provided with practical, relevant and high-quality work on a part time basis, whilst continuing your vocational education and being paid a full-time salary.

Applications for the 2022 DTES Program have now closed.

Keep an eye on the website for future opportunities!

About the DTES

The DTES is a civilian traineeship scheme designed to support students completing their final year/s of TAFE by providing 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.

You will work on exciting, real-world projects with leading edge technology in a range of job pathways, including:

  • Computing/ICT/Cyber Security
  • Engineering
  • Logistics
  • Procurement

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. This plan will involve a mutually beneficial work-to-study ratio during your school semester and full-time 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 2022.

Employment Conditions

Trainees on the DTES are employed as Australian Public Servants (APS), where work-life balances are important and your TAFE contact hours form part of your paid employment. You will receive hands-on experience that is second to none, whilst completing your qualification.

Trainees on the DTES will commence on a minimum salary of $51,620 plus 15.4% superannuation. Upon successful completion of the program, trainees will be promoted to the APS 3 level plus 15.4% superannuation.

Throughout your time on the DTES, you may participate in workplace rotations and will be provided with training that is relevant to both your discipline and career development.

You will receive the following additional advantages whilst on the DTES:

  • Excellent working conditions
  • Direct exposure to Defence capability and projects
  • Reimbursement of your TAFE course fees and the cost of required text books/equipment
  • Flex-time to support your work life balance
  • Access to all Defence leave entitlements including Christmas stand-down
  • Guaranteed employment in the Department of Defence as an Australian Public Servant with a starting salary in excess of $62,000 (plus superannuation) upon successful completion of the program

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

Eligibility Requirements
  1. All applicants must be Australian citizens to be eligible for engagement as an employee under the Public Service Act 1999 and Intelligence Services Act (2001) for APS and ASD employees respectively. Applicants for the Defence TAFE Employment Scheme must be Australian citizens at the time of application, or have applied for citizenship.
  2. You must be prepared to meet security clearance requirements outlined further below.
  3. At the time of application, you must have completed six months of full-time study (or equivalent) towards an accredited qualification in one of the required discipline streams. If you are commencing a new qualification, it must be related to a recently completed qualification. For example, if you are completing a Certificate IV in Cyber Security in 2021 and are planning to complete a Diploma in Cyber Security in 2022, you are eligible.
  4. Previously completed qualifications must have been completed within 12 months from program commencement in February 2022. For example, if you completed your qualification in January 2021 or earlier,  you are not eligible to apply
  5. You must have a minimum of 12 months of part-time study remaining when you commence the program. 

The following qualifications will be accepted:

  • Certificate IV
  • Diploma
  • Advanced Diploma
  • Associate Degree

Applicants who are unable to provide evidence of eligibility, including an academic transcript demonstrating you have completed a minimum of six months full time study (or equivalent), will not be considered further.

Stage 1

Online Application

Upon registering your details through Defence’s online recruitment portal you will be asked to complete personal information and asked questions which relate to eligibility for the program such as citizenship, current and previous employment and information regarding your current education and future intentions. Please complete all questions; these will be verified at a later stage.

Documentation: At this time you will be requested to upload a copy of your resume, academic transcript/s and citizenship certificate, or proof of citizenship application.

If you do not meet one or more of the eligibility requirements your application will not be progressed further. 

Responses to Selection Criteria:

During this stage, you will be asked to address the selection criteria.

The selection criteria provide a set of measurable standards against which employers can assess your application. Defence uses capabilities identified within the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) Integrated Leadership System to measure and rank applicants responses to each question on the application.

You will be required to submit a ‘one page pitch’ against the criteria being assessed. Your one page pitch is limited to a maximum of 600 words to address all criteria questions, not 600 words per individual criteria question. How you prepare your pitch is up to you, however, please ensure that you incorporate responses and examples against each criteria. Applicants are strongly advised to read our Hints and Tips for completing your application (below) prior to submitting their application.

Work Experience / Employment: Applicants should include in this area reference to any work experience and/or employment undertaken. Work experience is not limited to paid employment. Please include any relevant volunteer, internships, and unpaid employment.

Referees: Please note that you will be required to supply details of referees at this point.

Referee reports will be completed for candidates who progress following the interview. The Entry Level Programs team will provide the template for these reports. It is preferred that referees be someone who knows your skills and abilities in relation to work or study, however character referees are acceptable as long as they are not family members.


Stage 2

Written Assessment and Interview

Applicants who are found to be competitive on the basis of their online application will be invited to complete further assessment processes including an interview.

Interviews are expected to occur in August.


Stage 3

Final Selection

If successful for a position on the 2022 DTES Program, a member of the Entry Level Programs team will make contact via telephone with an offer of employment in late September for commencement in February 2022.



If you have any questions about the DTES program or application process, please email entrylevel.programs@defence.gov.au or call 02 5109 8959.