Kosta’s leap into new career in the defence industry

Charting a new course in his career journey, Kosta was eager to make his mark in an industry set for strong growth and filled with meaningful work. This led him to a new career in the defence industry.

Having moved back to South Australia after working in the United Arab Emirates for a government agency headed by the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi as a town planner, Kosta was looking for a career with the same level of excitement and challenge.

“When I returned to Australia, I felt like I needed to find something that had the same level of excitement and pace,” he said. “I discovered the defence industry which matches that high tempo and challenge I was used to and looking for.”

With a Graduate Diploma in Project Management under his belt, Kosta decided to deviate from his career trajectory within town planning and transition into a project management stream within the defence industry – and he hasn’t looked back since.

“Working in the defence industry has been a real eye-opener and very different to what I had been exposed to, but it’s been nothing but extremely rewarding. There is a lot of correlating aspects with my skillsets and what I’m good at and how this might transpire and be transferable to a new sector and that was enough to excite me to make that initial step into defence.”

For the past four years, Kosta has worked at South Australian headquartered systems thinking company Shoal Group, which has a history of supporting defence, space and transport and infrastructure capability. What started as a project management focused role soon evolved to include supply chain management.

Kosta now manages a contractor base of more than 150 national and international companies and helps nominate experts in the field of systems engineering; modelling and simulation and other professions into Defence contracts.

“I work closely with range of defence and space suppliers and manage external specialists working on various Defence projects with respect to anything from logistics to rocket bases, cyber security, and RAM development.”

“Every day is different. One day I could be working on a project involving engineers at RAAF Edinburgh, the next I could be getting people on the ground to be part of space project.”

“I offer my leadership expertise with respect to managing a person in a role and the surrounding commercial arrangements required, whilst ensuring they are achieving their deliverables, identifying any risks and working through any issues they may be experiencing.”

“I get a kick out of building and fostering relationships and engaging with new suppliers and stakeholders. There is so much to learn from the people who work in and across defence – and there is tremendous variety in the professions and skillsets which interface and connect with the defence industry.”

A career highlight for Kosta was working as the deputy project lead managing a large team of subcontractors on behalf of a South Korean company in preparation for a major Defence bid in 2018.

“Most of our consultants flew in and were based in South Korea, so I needed to be on the ground helping with the cultural awareness and induction training, managing their time on the project, set-up reporting structures and systems as well as regularly liaising with the client. It was a great experience learning about the different ways of communicating with those from another culture.”

Kosta’s advice for anyone considering a career transition into South Australia’s defence industry, is to take the leap and push past the fear of making a career change.

“It was a risk for me, but there was enough there to be excited about the opportunity that lay ahead and make that step into defence. If I acted upon my fears, I wouldn’t have made that jump into a rewarding new paradigm.”

There has never been a better time to consider a career in 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.

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