|As an employer in Western Australia's defence industry, you'll know that our workforce here in WA is recognised as one of the most highly educated, qualified and skilled of its type anywhere in the world.|
As the defence industry continues to grow, the skill needs for our defence industry workforce across all five defence capability domains of the industry are also growing and changing in order to meet future requirements in areas such as technology and communications for Industry 4.0 and new opportunities in areas such as space ground stations.
Having a skilled workforce will also prepare your business for major projects and opportunities happening now and over coming years.
Follow the links below to find out more about key defence industry initiatives and programs happening in WA, and how we can support you to build and grow your workforce through training, specialised programs, and financial support and incentives.
Free workforce development advice and support
A specialist defence industry team is available at the Rockingham Jobs and Skills Centre! They can help with information about training options to upskill your workforce; assist with recruitment; advise on available financial support and incentives; and more.
All services are free, and available to anyone in Western Australia.
Defence industry workforce development plan
Over the next decade and beyond, WA's defence industry will need more workers with a range of skills. The Western Australian Defence Industry Workforce Development Plan 2022—27, developed through the Western Australian Defence Industry Workforce Office (WADIWO) and released by the State Government in November 2022, consolidates the strategies that have been committed to position WA for the pipeline of defence projects.
The plan details the WA Government’s key initiatives and a workforce development package totalling over $35 million to ensure skilled trades, paraprofessional and professional workers are available for defence industry projects now and into the future.
Western Australian Defence Industry Workforce Office
The WADIWO leads the development of workforce development initiatives, programs and strategies for WA's defence industry through working collaboratively with our world class education and training providers, key stakeholders and leading industry employers . WADIWO's work focuses on projects across all five of the defence capability domains — air, land, space, information and cybersecurity — to ensure our defence industry has the skilled workforce it needs now and into the future.
New initiatives and programs for 2022/23—2025/26
Building on the previous $18 million investment by the WA State Government to boost Defence industry capabilities and trades workforce; a further $11 million investment for WA's Defence industry was announced on 12 May 2022 as part of the WA State Budget 2022—23. This new investment package will help to ensure a pipeline of skilled professional and paraprofessional workers, and create new opportunities for training and employment in this priority sector.
The new initiatives are as follows. Further details will be provided here as they become available.
- Veterans skills and transition initiative that complements the existing Defence Industry Veterans Employment Scheme (DIVES)
- Existing worker traineeship program supporting career progression for the defence industry’s existing workers; including a new Defence Industry Existing Worker Incentive (DIEWI) of up to $6,375 for employers;
- WA defence industry internship and graduate scholarship program
- Defence reskilling and upskilling – priority micro-credentials, skill set and Industry 4.0 product grant program to upskill and reskill new entrants and existing workers
- A new program to articulate arrangements between vocational education and training (VET) and universities in defence industry related qualifications
- Continue, enhance and expand the free defence industry specific career and training advisory services at the Rockingham Jobs and Skills Centre
WA Defence Science Centre
The Defence Science Centre is WA's contribution to the Australian Defence Science and Universities Network (ADSUN). This network supports the national Defence enterprise and facilitates engagement of Australia's best research and development capabilities through collaboration with state university researchers, industry, the Defence Science and Technology Group, and Defence end users.
The DSC provides value to the defence industry by:
- highlighting the local research capability;
- facilitating collaboration on defence-relevant needs;
- identifying opportunities for research and technology development, including through financial grants;
- advocating on defence priorities, capabilities, needs and gaps;
- promoting and showcasing WA defence research and innovation; and
- cultivating relationships and linkages between universities and defence.
Existing worker traineeships
If you're looking for a way to ensure your team is operating efficiently and effectively to consistent standards, and adopting up to date industry practices, existing worker traineeships could be your solution!
Existing worker traineeships (EWTs) are a great way to upskill and develop your workforce. Through structured on the job learning, managed by an accredited TAFE college or private training provider, your team will deepen and broaden their workplace skills and knowledge and get a nationally recognised vocational education and training (VET) qualification.
There's over 60 qualifications available as EWTs at Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma level that are currently funded through the WA Department of Training and Workforce Development. You can view the full list of all available existing worker traineeships here (select the EWT tab).
Upskill your IT workforce, and access up to $6,375 in incentives!
With the rapid changes in information technology (IT), and the need for greater IT specialisations such as cyber security, software development and programming, technical engineering and Industry 4.0 developments across the defence industry, it's never been more important for your business to have a well trained IT team.
To support IT skills development, five new EWTs are now available — all with course fees reduced by 72 per cent —all offering an excellent pathway for high level skills development and/or career progression into specialist or leadership roles to meet future business needs for the defence industry.
The following reduced-fee ICT EWTs are available now.
- Certificate IV in Cyber Security*
- Diploma of Information Technology
- Advanced Diploma of Information Technology
- Diploma of Applied Technologies (Applied Technologies Technician)*
- Diploma of Engineering—Technical (Engineering Draftsperson)*
*Eligible for the Defence Industry Existing Worker Incentive (DIEWI) of up to $6,375 per EWT.
Year 9 Career Taster Program: Showcase your industry
The Year 9 Career Taster Program (CTP) provides industry bodies, employers and training providers an opportunity to showcase their industry to engage young people and highlight the current and future occupations and career pathways on offer.
You can help students learn about your occupations and careers within your industry, to give them ‘a taste’ of the opportunities it offers. In addition to feeling great about contributing to a young person’s future, being part of the CTP will also enable you to build networks with your local schools and TAFEs and be part of a program that could shape the next generation of workers in your industry.
CTP experiences can range from workplace tours and hands-on exploration, a guest speaker or a 'day in the life' from a particular occupational area, or other activities that enable students to try, see and do to inform and inspire their future career plans. To find out more, please visit the CTP portal.
Financial support and incentives
Defence Industry Existing Worker Incentive (DIEWI)
If you're an employer in WA's defence industry, you may be eligible for the new Defence Industry Existing Worker Incentive (DIEWI) — a State Government initiative that provides financial assistance of up to $6,375 to upskill your trade or semiskilled workers through an existing worker traineeship (EWT). The DIEWI will enable employers to equip workers with digital and technical capabilities to meet the demands of Industry 4.0 and technological advances across the industry. From 1 July 2022 a total of 120 existing worker traineeships will be available under the program, which is delivered in partnership with South Metropolitan TAFE; WA’s largest defence industry training provider.
WA's defence industry has identified three EWTs that are aimed at supporting the career progression of existing workers into critical professional and paraprofessional roles. As part of the Lower fees, local skills program, course fees for these EWTs are reduced by 72 per cent.
The following documents provide further information about the DIEWI program.
- DIEWI information flyer
- DIEWI factsheet — Employer eligibility
- DIEWI factsheet — Payments
- DIEWI factsheet — How to claim
- DIEWI terms and conditions
If you have a query about DIEWI please call the Employer Incentives team on 13 19 54 and select option two, or send an email to email@example.com.
Other incentives and support
If you hire a new trainee or an apprentice, you could also be eligible for the Jobs and Skills WA Employer Incentive of up to $8,500! You may also be eligible to receive additional loading payments of up to an additional 50 per cent for target groups including people aged 21—30 years of age, Aboriginal people, and apprentices and trainees in regional areas of WA.
This incentive is available in addition to other financial incentives and support.
The Department of Training and Workforce Development manages an Out of Contract Register (OOCR), which provides employers with access to information about apprentices and trainees who have been displaced at various stages of their apprenticeship or traineeship — many of whom have progressed well into their training and have the skills and knowledge you need for your business.
Apprentices and trainees who are listed on the OOCR have commenced their apprenticeship or traineeship in a variety of different industry areas, and offer valuable skills that will enable them to ‘hit the ground’ running in your organisation.
The Group Training Organisation (GTO) Wage Subsidy has been introduced to assist small to medium enterprises who are engaged in government project work in the building and construction sector across WA, by covering the average estimated award wage paid to apprentices and trainees.
The Jobs and Skills WA Defence Industry Incentive was a cornerstone initiative of the $18 million package provided by the WA Government in 2020 to build the defence industry in Western Australia. The incentive provided financial assistance of up to $20,000 per eligible apprentice for WA businesses employing apprentices in four key trades within the defence industry.
This incentive has reached its cap with 68 employers assessed as eligible for the incentive since the commencement of the program on 1 October 2020, successfully creating a pipeline of skilled workers for the industry. This represents more than a 200 per cent increase on the annual average take-up of apprentices in the defence industry.
In addition to financial incentives and support for employers who hire apprentices and trainees, there's a large number of other measures for which you may be eligible. These include incentives and support for employing and/or training people with disability, mature age people, Aboriginal and Indigenous people, and youth.
Apprenticeship Office Helpline
Need support, information or assistance with apprenticeships or traineeships, or accessing financial incentives and support? Call the Apprenticeship Office Helpline on 13 19 54. For callers outside of WA, please phone us on 08 6551 5499.
Need to upskill your workforce?
If you need to upskill your workforce, there's a range of vocational education and training (VET) and university courses available — from trades and technical work through to specialist technology and management roles, and everything in between! And there's never been a better time to get your team into training, with over 100 courses FREE IN '23 and course fees reduced by half price or more on a range of qualifications through Lower fees, local skills.
- Check out our list of qualifications for the defence industry — look for the FREE IN '23 and the HALF PRICE icons to see where courses are free or course fees have been reduced.
Our course list also includes a number of reduced-fee short course skill sets developed specifically for qualified tradespeople and technicians in the defence industry.
For more information about training and education options for WA's defence industry, including apprenticeship and traineeship and higher education pathways, please visit our Defence students page.
Defence industry courses
The courses listed below are all specifically related or relevant to jobs in the defence industry, but there are many other courses across a range of industry and/or study areas that align with occupations in the defence industry. To expand the list, use the search filters.
There's never been a better time to get into training — we have over 100 courses that are FREE IN '23, plus a wide range of qualifications with course fees reduced by half or more with an annual fees cap!*
- Select from the filters under Skills Ready if you would like to search for free or reduced-fee courses
- If you're looking for something specific, enter one or more keywords such as "welding" or ''submarine"
- To find out more about a course, select its title. You can also add courses to your 'favourites' list, to save them for later
Free workforce development support for employers
A dedicated defence industry team is available at the Rockingham Jobs and Skills Centre, with specialist experience supporting WA's Defence industry employers and businesses They can help you identify skill gaps in your team, and explore training options to help develop a workforce development plan. They can also assist you to recruit suitably skilled and experienced people to join your business or to meet specific project requirements.
There's also other JSCs located across Perth and regional WA who offer general advice and support about training, recruitment and workforce development.
All JSC services are completely free of charge.