The Defence Industry Pathways Program (DIPP) has been kick-starting the careers of West Australians for the past year, and now the first all-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intake is in full swing.
CAPTION: Rory Albert from the Defence Industry Pathways Program Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intake. Story by Phillip Morton.
The DIPP is a 12-month traineeship fully funded by the Commonwealth Government that provides West Australian school leavers with the range of skills needed to jump into one of the thousands of jobs in Australia’s growing defence industry.
Developed by Defence in conjunction with Western Australia’s South Metropolitan TAFE and maritime defence industry, the DIPP is a ‘taster’ course designed to give students exposure to a range of career options.
Upon graduation, participants will be awarded a Certificate III in Defence Industry Pathways and can then decide which avenue they wish to enter the workforce through.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intake is the fifth overall since the Program’s inception in July 2021 and welcomed trainees ranging from 18 to 55 years old on May 23 this year.
Australia is growing a sovereign naval shipbuilding capability and requires a robust and highly skilled workforce. The DIPP is helping to address this through its innovative pathway, from education direct to employment.
Angela Dann decided to join the program to forge a different career path after being a carer for the past 13 years.
“I am looking forward to learning about logistics, engineering, and more about naval architecture,” Ms Dann said.
Angela is currently working with BAE Systems in the drafting team before moving onto the next rotation of procurement.
Over 50 employers have applied to train and mentor the applicants, and participants are already contributing to Australia’s defence sector thanks to work by host employers such as Austal, BAE Systems, Naval Ship Management Australia, Civmec, Babcock, Luerssen, and Thales.
Rory Albert chose to enter the program to find something more meaningful and said he was able to get a taste of different career options with the DIPP.
“I am filled with a sense of pride to be part of the industry that is involved with protecting Australia,” Mr Albert said.
“It is exciting to see the work that goes on in the defence industry; there are so many large projects involved in building the massive ships for the Royal Australian Navy.”
Head Maritime Systems Rear Admiral Wendy Malcolm said hearing how the program was benefiting trainees was inspiring.
“The Defence Industry Pathways Program is not only building our national resilience and shipbuilding workforce, but it is also giving young Australians a chance to contribute to the nation’s development and security,” Rear Admiral Malcolm said.
“I am very proud that the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intake are taking their passion and enthusiasm and applying it across a range of skill sets and tasks. It is heartening to see them taking on every new challenge.”
The pilot program will support 130 students by the end of the year. Trainees receive almost $45,000 to fund their wages, on-costs and uniforms, including safety footwear.