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Careers in defence

The defence boom is coming, with unprecedented investment and a rapidly expanding industry.  In September 2020 the McGowan Government announced an $18 million package(opens in a new tab)  to build a pipeline of skilled workers in Western Australia to attract defence maritime projects to the State. This local workforce investment will help provide the skilled workers needed to support upcoming WA defence projects and secure future defence work, expected to be valued at up to $75 billion nationally over the next decade.  To find out more about the state government's defence initiatives visit the Jobs and Skills WA(opens in a new tab)  website. 

We are also offering a Women in Defence scholarship starting February 2021. Applications close 10 January, 2021.

Thousands of defence jobs are set to be created and workers with skills in trade, technical, science, engineering and technology will be in demand.

"WA's defence industry is world-leading, and this package will ensure Western Australians are in the box seat to take advantage of the opportunities on offer. My Government is committed to attracting defence projects to Western Australia and working with industry to build a trained and skilled workforce to meet the demand of current and future jobs in the defence sector. Further, South Metropolitan TAFE's long established relationship with the defence industry and expertise in defence-related training means Western Australia is well positioned to take on maritime defence-related work." WA Premier Mark McGowan.   

Read more in the media statement(opens in a new tab)

Facilities at our campuses are world class, providing students with hands-on experience in a real-life industry setting. Our facilities include:

  • Heavy fabrication workshops
  • Mechanical fitter and fitter machinist workshops
  • State-of-the-art welding equipment and facilities
  • World leading hydraulic and pneumatic equipment (fluid power)
  • Computer Numerical Control (CNC) equipment
  • Composites trade and marine craft construction workshop

Naval Base and Rockingham campuses are centrally located to Perth’s defence shipbuilding industry and have specialist facilities, with a strong focus on engineering, fabrication and shipbuilding courses.

The Naval Shipbuilding College endorses the Certificate III Engineering - Fabrication Trade qualification and enjoys being co-located within our Naval Base campus along with the Western Australian Defence Industry Workforce Office(opens in a new tab) .

Some defence related courses are also offered at Mandurah, Thornlie and Carlisle campuses.

A career in defence is most definitely a job of the future. Roles will be challenging, in-demand, well compensated and offer long term prospects. Most employment opportunities will be with companies winning defence contracts – and their supply chain. 

Some jobs include:

  • Fitter Machinist
  • High end CNC programmer / operator
  • Composites shipbuilder
  • Mechanical fitter/Pipe fitter
  • Refrigeration/Air conditioning engineer
  • Boilermaker/Welder
  • Mechanical engineer
  • Marine fabricator
  • Refrigeration/air conditioning technician
  • Industrial electrician
For more information about where a career in defence can take you, see our links below.

SM TAFE offers qualifications from entry level Certificate II, to Certificate III level apprenticeships, to post-trade specialisations in welding. These are suited for all abilities and ages, from school leavers to those with industry experience. 

For school leavers and mature age entrants 

MEM20105-AA50 Certificate II in Engineering (Heavy Fabrication Pre-Apprenticeship)

MEM20105-AA49 Certificate II in Engineering (Mechanical Fitter and Machinist Pre-Apprenticeship)

MEM20105-AA48 Certificate II in Engineering (Mechanical-Plant Mechanic Pre-Apprenticeship)


For apprentices

MEM31112-W992 Certificate III in Engineering - Composites Trade

MEM30305-WT76 Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade (Heavy Yg)

MEM30305-WT77 Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade (Heavy/Welding YH)

MEM30305-WT78 Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade (Light Yc)

MEM30305-AB53 Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade (Marine)

MEM30305-WA86 Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade (Surface Finishing)

MEM30205-WT84 Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade

MEM30205-AB54 Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade (First Class Machinist)

MEM30205-WT83 Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade (Fitter and Machinist ZB)

MEM30205-AB63 Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade (Marine Fitter)

MEM30205-WT86 Certificate III in Engineering - Mechanical Trade (Mechanical Fitter ZA)

MEM30705-W242 Certificate III in Marine Craft Construction

For tradespeople 

AE368 Coded Welding Flux Cored Arc Skill Set

AE369 Coded Welding Gas Tungsten Arc Skill Set

AE370 Coded Welding Manual Metal Arc Welding (Pipe) Skill Set

AE371 Fluid Power Skill Set

AE372 Welding Supervisor Skill Set

MEM40105-W245 Certificate IV in Engineering

MEM40105-WT44 Certificate IV in Engineering (Fluid Power)

MEM40105-WT42 Certificate IV in Engineering (Welding)

Have you considered studying in courses that support the defence industry?

Defence in Western Australia also includes logistics and warehousing, maritime, information technology and engineering. Navigate to those industry areas using their links to explore courses with strong employment growth.

Begin your defence study pathway

A dedicated defence industry team is available at the Rockingham Jobs and Skills Centre to undertake careers promotion across all schools, and with veterans, and provide advice to jobseekers and potential defence industry workers about options for training and career planning. All services are free, and available to anyone in WA. 

To contact the team, call or email the Rockingham JSC or drop in for a chat.

P: 08 9599 8655
E: defence.careers@smtafe.wa.edu.au
South Metropolitan TAFE Rockingham campus
Building G, Simpson Avenue Rockingham

Visit the Defence Jobs and Skills page(opens in a new tab) for more information on the latest defence industry incentives. 

You can view our defence courses and watch our careers videos(opens in a new tab)

Speak to our customer service team  - call 1800 001 001 or email info@smtafe.wa.edu.au.