Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3 2011 Contents 37
“There are many trades and career
paths the ADF and APS can offer young
people,” Mr Mathieson said.
“This program offers students the
opportunity to see behind-the-scenes of
what is involved in the Department of
Defence, and understand there is more
to being on a ship, running across a field
firing weapons, or flying a plane.”
A key part of the program is the
official DWEP website, which allows
students, families and Defence units to
learn about the program and the range
of work placements, which occur on a
rolling basis throughout the year.
The variety of positions allows students
to encounter duties ranging from being
a soldier at an Army base to working in a
civilian legal unit.
Mr Mathieson said since
its inception, the scheme
had been well-received in
the community, however
the rising interest among
young people meant
finding enough placements
was a key priority.
“The real issue is that the
demand for the program
way outstrips the supply,”
This year, the DWEP
team aims to secure 3500
placements for students
across the ADF and APS
fields, more than 1000
more than what was offered in 2010.
While all areas of Defence are
encouraged to be involved, Mr Mathieson
said financial, geographical and time
constraints, as well as the operational
tempo of some units, could be obstacles.
“Work experience is not always a
priority for some areas, as it is not a
core activity,” he said.
“However, units and work groups should
consider offering work experience
placements by looking to the future and
thinking about their future workforce.”
He said the DWEP team aimed to
make the process easier by offering full
support to units considering offering
placements to students.
The program’s Work Experience
Liaison Officers are based in several
regions across Australia to help finalise
placements, liaise with students and
educational institutions and assist Defence
work units participating in the program.
“These officers are more than happy to
sit down and explain the benefits of the
program, and how they can assist with
setting up a placement,” Mr Mathieson said.
He added that while many placements
are offered within the Ser vices, he hopes
to see more students gain experience in
APS workgroups through long-term or
“The program would benefit
from more civilian work experience
placements, as not all young people
want to join the ADF but would still
like a career with Defence to support
military personnel,” Mr Mathieson said.
“You might get into a legal placement,
a placement with the Chief Finance
Officer, or the environmental offices.”
However, amid the changes and
developments facing the program, Mr
Mathieson said past students had given
largely positive feedback about DWEP.
A major program proving popular
with high school students is the 7th
Brigade Work Experience Program
at Brisbane’s Gallipoli Barracks in
The Brigade’s Work Experience
Coordinator, Warrant Officer Class One
Peter Thatcher, said various placements
were on offer, including a three-day
program introducing students to career
opportunities in the Army.
“Students have hands-on opportunities
with equipment and computer systems,
and they also have the added opportunity
to meet with young soldiers in an
informal setting over lunch at the
Other Ranks Mess,” Warrant Officer
Other oppor tunities at Gallipoli
Barracks include experience with the
Australian Army Band in Brisbane and a
combination placement with the Army
Malaria Institute, Gallipoli Barracks
Dental Centre and the 2nd Hospital
Warrant Officer Thatcher said after
completing one of the placements, many
students were more confident in making
decisions about their future careers.
“The best reward for managing this
program is seeing the positive effect it has
on the students,” he said.
“Since 2007, I have
had many past students
approach me and thank me
for their experience.
“They are now soldiers
in the Australian Army and
have indicated the Work
Experience Program gave
them the experience they
needed to decide on their
Mr Mathieson said such
placements reflected the
future benefit of helping
position Defence as a suitable
employer, and he hoped
units would consider joining
DWEP with a view to the long-term.
“It is difficult for some units to
commit to do this, but we try and
convince them that it’s a good thing to
do,” Mr Mathieson said.
“It’s the investment in Australia’s
future that is the big issue, and by
equipping our youth with a range of
skills they can become better citizens,
and that’s an important aim.”
More information about the
program, the placements available
and details on how to submit a
placement application are available on
the DWEP website: www.defence.
on the Defence Intranet: http://
High school students get a taste of Army life during a work experience placement at
Gallipoli Barracks at Enoggera in Brisbane.
Links Archive Issue 2 2011 Issue 4 2011 Navigation Previous Page Next Page