There are thousands of Australian men and women working across the country who aren’t in the Defence Force, but work to support and strengthen it. Our students and apprentices are also developing trade, technical, science and technology skills that will be needed in the future.

A highly skilled workforce is essential to deliver the Government’s $270 billion investment in Australia’s defence capability. Australian workers will be needed to design, install, build, integrate and maintain our ships, submarines, aircraft, land vehicles, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities and information technology and cyber security, and provide services to support the men and women in the Australian Defence Force.

The Australian Government is laying the foundations for a National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise (Enterprise), ending the boom-bust cycle that has afflicted the Australian naval shipbuilding and sustainment industry. The 2020 Naval Shipbuilding and Sustainment Plan anticipates that the Enterprise will require a workforce of around 15,000 people across new vessel acquisition, sustainment and the supply chain.

The Government’s Naval Shipbuilding College (College) is playing a key role in developing a coordinated, national approach to workforce development and skilling for the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise (Enterprise). The College is supporting industry to ensure that appropriately skilled and experienced workers are available when required, to meet Enterprise workforce requirements.

Working closely with the Australian Government and industry, the College continues to build a maturing picture of the anticipated shipbuilding workforce demand and supply over the next decade and beyond.

The College’s Workforce Register enables Australians who are interested in long-term shipbuilding career opportunities to express their interest and receive guidance through the skilling and employment process.

The College operates a hub-and-spoke model that enables students to undertake courses through College-endorsed education and training providers across Australia. The provider network is supporting the future workforce to become employment-ready for a career in naval shipbuilding.

For workers who have been adversely impacted by COVID-19, the College also helps candidates to identify what specialist or bridging training is required to transition into a new career in shipbuilding.

Our defence industry will provide increasing and rewarding long-term career opportunities as a number of major Defence projects ramp up over the next decade. New opportunities will exist in the large multi-national companies that win Defence contracts as well as Australian businesses across different regions of the country that are part of the supply chain. Defence bases and facilities will need to be upgraded and serviced.

Virtual Work Experience

The Defence Industry Virtual Work Experience Program will provide opportunities for students who may face geographic or other barriers to participating in traditional work experience.

Students will undertake collaborative, group science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) projects, including projects linked to real-world research and industry challenges.

Instead of students attending a work site, experienced STEM Defence Industry professionals will supervise groups of students remotely, using a secure online platform. The groups will comprise up to five students - who may be remote from each other - working together to complete tasks, which can be used as part of portfolios and to help inform their study and career plans.

Virtual Work Experience allows students the opportunity to experience contemporary ways of working, such as from home, and with people across geographic boundaries.

The Defence Industry Virtual Work Experience Program will commence in Term 2, 2022 with a pilot of approximately 30 students. More information and guidance on how to apply will be available in mid-February 2022.

Please email workexperience [at] to register for more information.


To be eligible to participate in Virtual Work Experience, students must be:

  • in Years 10 or 11, and aged 15-17 years for the duration of the work experience
  • enrolled in a school in Australia
  • able to commit to the designated days as specified by the supervisor (with students seeking approval from their school) and be supported by a teacher, parent or other approved adult in their physical location throughout their work experience project.

Virtual work experience will be run by the Department of Defence in conjunction with Australia’s National Science Agency, CSIRO.


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To find out more about the Naval Shipbuilding College

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