Career growth on the radar for Emily

As a young engineering graduate new to defence industry, Emily was eager to move to South Australia to broaden her career horizons in the state’s thriving defence industry.

Growing up in New South Wales, Emily completed a degree in Electrical Engineering at the University of Newcastle, before undertaking a graduate program with BAE Systems Australia, working primarily from RAAF Base Williamtown on the Hawk Lead-In Fighter aircraft.

The Hawk is used to train qualified Royal Australian Air Force pilots to operate jet fighters and Emily had the opportunity to develop hand gesture technology using virtual reality to improve pilots’ spatial awareness during flight. Her work on developing this game-changing technology, in collaboration with company colleagues in the UK, earned her the title of Engineering Graduate of the Year in 2020.

That same year, she made her biggest career move yet – moving to BAE Systems Australia’s Edinburgh Parks site to take on a new role as a safety engineer and help support a major upgrade and redesign of the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN).

JORN is one of the longest standing defence projects in Australian history and protects Australia’s northern coastline and airspace by providing the Australian Defence Force with vital surveillance capabilities.

“It’s amazing to see the technology that’s been developed on this project over 60 years and being part of upgrading JORN into the next stage is pretty phenomenal – and it’s all Australian technology,” Emily said.

“I did some testing on site and the amount of thinking and hindsight people had years ago to design it the way they did really blows you away.”

In her role, Emily provides support to engineers to ensure products and technology meet safety standards.

“I really enjoy it because I get to talk to designers and subject matter experts and try to figure out potential issues and if certain circumstances are going to cause any issues,” she said.

“I have an innate curiosity and I love talking to people, so being able to ask all those curly questions and then being able to document that in a way that everyone’s happy with is what I love about my job.”

Reflecting on her move to South Australia two years ago, Emily said it was one of the most important career decisions she’s made yet. “I knew that BAE Systems’ home base was in Adelaide and that defence work was only going to grow and create more opportunities. It really is the place to be,” she said.

Despite never visiting South Australia before her move, Emily instantly fell in love with the state’s enviable lifestyle and the diverse experiences it has to offer.

“I absolutely love it. Everything is just so well set-up and people are so friendly. I really enjoy adventuring and exploring trails. I am part of a running community and there’s some beautiful tracks along the Torrens River and Linear Park,” she said.

Emily’s advice for anyone considering moving to South Australia to take advantage of the job opportunities in the state’s defence industry is to “just do it”.

“Don’t think about it,” she said. “Sometimes if you think about things too much you can get anxious or overwhelmed about all the unknowns, but once you come here, you’ll love it.”

There has never been a better time to make your move to a South Australia’s defence industry. The state is home to a critical mass of world-class industry, delivering many of Defence’s largest and most complex projects.

Search and apply for jobs in the defence sector.