18 September 2023
The Puckapunyal Military Area was a sea of orange vests in early September when more than 1300 school students from 41 schools and colleges across Victoria attended a Defence Work Experience Program open day.
The students got up close with Army vehicles and equipment, including Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles, Australian light armoured vehicles, artillery, tanks, G-Wagons, as well as military working dogs.
They also did some physical training.
Lieutenant Colonel James McGann said the response from students was overwhelmingly positive.
“Across the day, I was impressed with the positive attitudes of the students and their willingness to learn. This was a real hands-on experience, and one I hope they remember for a long time to come,” Lieutenant Colonel McGann said.
Defence Work Experience Program manager for Victoria Navi Kaur said the students’ enthusiasm was impressive.
“The personnel were so engaged and happy to talk to the students, and help them understand what life in the military is like. The feedback we received from the schools involved was so positive,” Ms Kaur said.
Careers and pathway coordinator from Echuca College Lorelle Pearse said the event catered across Years 7 to 12.
“I have never, in 18 years of career coordination, been at an event that was suitable for all ages, and in a time where we want our young people to experience careers even earlier in their lives, this event out-performed all others,” Ms Pearse said.
“The 46 students we took across were so pleased with the day.
“I walked into the office when we got back and one of the Year 9 students was talking to the assistant principal, and he said ‘that was one of the best career events I have ever been to because the people were so real, they really wanted to talk about their careers and what they do and how they feel about it’ – I can’t ask for a better career education than that for my students.”
The Defence Work Experience Program is designed to expose students to corps, trades and daily routines they would expect should they pursue a career in the ADF.