WA Defence industry employers

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. 

Female and male defence workers looking at computer screen

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. 

Find out more about how they can help


Rockingham Jobs and Skills Centre: Defence industry specialists

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.

Woman working on manufacturing equipment

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 available

Building on the previous $18 million investment by the WA Government to boost defence industry capabilities and trades workforce; a further $11 million investment package was announced in 2022 and will help to ensure a pipeline of skilled professional and paraprofessional workers, and create new opportunities for training and employment in this priority sector. 

Explore the following programs and incentives that can assist employers to build their workforce.

Defence Industry Reskilling and Upskilling grant program

Grants available for defence industry training

The Defence Industry Reskilling and Upskilling (DIRU) grant program is part of the $11 million white (professional) and grey (paraprofessional) collar workforce development package announced by the WA Government in its 2023—23 State BudgetFunding totalling $2.5 million will be made available over three years for the program.

The DIRU program allows eligible defence industry firms, consortia of firms and defence industry peak organisations to apply for funds to develop new credit bearing micro-credentials, accredited short courses and skill sets in partnership with a Team WA university and/or a WA-based training provider and have it delivered to new or existing workers as and when required.

It also allows proposals from industry in partnership with a Team WA university and WA-based training providers to develop relevant Industry 4.0 short courses that will assist the unique needs of the defence industry.

Application and award process

The first round of expressions of interest (EOI) are now closed.

For those who submitted EOIs, DTWD will contact successful organisations and request a detailed application for submission.

Following an evaluation process. applicants will be advised of the outcome and successful applicants will be provided with a Grant Agreement for signing and the allocation of the first grant payment.

Please contact the WA Defence Industry Workforce Office via wadiwo@dtwd.wa.gov.au for more information.  

Further information

For more details about DIRU, please contact the WA Defence Industry Workforce Office (WADIWO).

WADIWO contact details

Further information on those WA educational institutions that have registered their interest in being listed on Defence West’s WA Defence Industry Capability Directory can be found on the Defence West website.

View the WA Defence Industry Capability Directory

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.

    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 employerincentives@dtwd.wa.gov.au.

    Male and female defence workers looking at plans at desk

    Defence Industry Internship and Graduate Scholarships Program


    The Defence Industry Internship and Graduate Scholarship (DIIGS) program is designed to boost the uptake of interns, graduates and trainees in WA’s defence industry.

    The scholarships will place 190 interns and 50 graduates in the WA defence industry over the next three years to help ensure a pipeline of skilled professional and para-professional workers for the sector.

    Eligible qualifications relate to occupations including engineers, project managers, logistics-related personnel, technical officers, commercial management professionals, cyber and ICT professionals, and occupations that support a ‘smart’ Industry 4.0 defence industry workforce.

    Through Programmed Training Services, these programs provide first-hand practical experience with global leaders and multiple positions are available.

    Download the DIIGS flyer for more information  


    Benefits to employers 

    • Employers receive financial incentives to develop their skilled professional and para-professional workforce by hosting a student or graduate through the following programs:
      • $4,500 for taking on a first or second year university or higher-level vocational student to complete the ‘Taster’ Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program for 6-12 weeks.
      • $4,500 to host a university or higher-level vocational student who are nearing the end of their qualification through the Internship program for 10-26 weeks. 
      • $8,500 to host a graduate for one year from university of higher-level VET qualification through the Graduate program
    • Employers benefit from Programmed Training Services facilitating the recruitment, assessment, placement coordination and wraparound support services to both the organisation and the interns/graduates.
    • Organisations are able to be proactive in developing their workforce ahead of defence contract award and can try out potential workers to assess fit for their unique workplace.
    • Employers are encouraged to diversify their workplace through incentives for hosting under-represents cohorts like people with disability, women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    For information on the program and how to get involved, contact Programmed Training Services

    Other incentives and support

    Veteran skills and transition support

    Your skills as a veteran of the Australian Defence Force are valuable. There is support available to help you transition into a defence industry career, including a scholarship program with grants up to $5,000 to cover the cost of training.

    Read more about veterans skills and transition support. 

    Jobs and Skills WA Employer Incentive

    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.

    Out of  Contract Register: Hire an experienced apprentice or trainee

    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.

    Group Training Organisation Wage Subsidy

    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 Defence Industry Incentive

    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.

    Further information

    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

    Apprenticeship Office Helpline 13 19 54

    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.

    You can also contact Apprenticeship Office by email via apprenticeshipoffice@dtwd.wa.gov.au, or use our online enquiry form and they will contact you. 

    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.

    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.

    Training and education options and pathways for the defence industry

    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
    Displaying 1 - 10 of 21 courses

      Advanced Diploma of Engineering Technology - Electrical

      National ID : UEE62122 | State ID : BHZ3

      Charge up your career in electrical engineering — FEE FREE!

      This qualification gives you the skills for the implementation of smart homes (Internet of Things), automated industrial production line mechatronics, administering or upgrading infrastructure for small to large scale businesses among many other innovative applications.

      Advanced Diploma of Information Technology

      National ID : ICT60220 | State ID : BGJ5

      Level up your career in the world of technology!

      If you're seeking a leadership role in information technology, or need some high level skills and knowledge for a specialist project or career move, the Advanced Diploma of Information Technology is for you!

      Certificate II in Engineering (Heavy Fabrication Pre-Apprenticeship)

      National ID : MEM20105 | State ID : AA50

      Ready to fire up an exciting fabrication career?

      Heavy fabrication is the perfect job for anyone who enjoys working with big machinery and equipment, and this is the perfect course to get you started in entry level work or to give you a head start on an apprenticeship. 

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

      National ID : MEM20105 | State ID : AA49

      Get a head start on your engineering apprenticeship!

      The world of engineering offers many fantastic career opportunities, and skilled mechanical fitters and machinists are always in high demand!

      Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician

      National ID : UEE30820 | State ID : BFN0

      A career choice for bright sparks

      Are you looking to start an electrical apprenticeship? This trade-level qualification is the course for you.

      Certificate III in Engineering - Composites Trade

      National ID : MEM31119 | State ID : BEK4

      Kick start your composites trade career!

      This qualification covers the skills and knowledge required by a tradesperson working with composites within the aerospace, civil construction, general manufacturing, marine, vehicle, metal, engineering, manufacturing and associated industries.

      Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade (Boilermaking/Welding)

      National ID : MEM30319 | State ID : AD61

      Spark up your future career!

      If you're looking to get trade qualified as a boilermaker / welder, this is the course for you!

      Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade (Sheetmetal)

      National ID : MEM30319 | State ID : AD62

      Spark up your career in sheetmetal fabrication!

      Want to become a qualified boilermaker or welder? Here's the qualification you need! With the Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade, you'll gain skills and knowledge for professional level mechanical cutting, metal fabrication, and a wide range of welding processes using different equipment and materials.

      Certificate III in Engineering - Fabrication Trade (Surface Finishing)

      National ID : MEM30319 | State ID : AD63

      Get fired up for a smooth career ahead!

      If you're interested in the boilermaker or welding trade, this course will set you up with the skills and knowledge to get started on that career pathway.

      Certificate III in Engineering - Industrial Electrician

      National ID : MEM31219 | State ID : BEK1

      Spark up a new career!

      The Certificate III in Engineering - Industrial Electrician  is the qualification completed by trade apprentices working under a qualified electrician. It covers the skills and knowledge required to  carry out electrical installations and repairs at a commercial level.

      Displaying 1 - 10 of 21 courses

      *Eligibility conditions apply for free training, and reduced-fee qualifications with the annual fees cap. Please visit our Skills Ready page for full details.

      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.

      Contact the specialist defence industry team at 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
      Simpson Avenue Rockingham (Building G)

      To contact the other Jobs and Skills Centres across WA, follow the link below to find your local centre or call the number below to reach your nearest JSC.