Samuel’s career sets sail in South Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry

After more than 10 years working on a variety of Defence projects in Victoria, experienced engineer Samuel knew it was time to take on a new career challenge and broaden his skill set. He made the move to South Australia three years ago to work on one of Australia’s biggest naval shipbuilding projects and hasn’t looked back since.

Having worked in a number of different engineering and management roles across various Defence projects with BAE Systems Australia, Samuel jumped at the chance to add naval shipbuilding to his growing repertoire of Defence experience.

He was successfully chosen by the company to join the Hunter Class Frigate Program in 2019 and moved from Melbourne to Adelaide to work as an engineering manager in the combat systems team.

In his role, Samuel is responsible for overseeing the integration of the computing systems and networks onto the platform. He plays a crucial role in designing and integrating the IT infrastructure that supports the ships vital systems, from the sailors’ entertainment to the systems that help defend the ship.

“I was looking for breadth in my career and I wanted to do something different,” he said.

“Naval shipbuilding was a very promising field, so I applied for the role and moved to Adelaide.

“Adelaide is the centre for naval shipbuilding and there’s a lot of work here. It really was an ideal opportunity to grow my engineering experience and make the right contacts.”

For Samuel, working on the Hunter Class Frigate Program is helping him develop new skills and builds on years of engineering experience at the company, where he previously worked on unmanned vehicles and the Nulka hovering rocket project for nearly 10 years.

“Working on the Nulka project is definitely a career highlight. It’s one of Australia’s most successful defence exports and we’ve essentially installed it on most of the US military ships – it’s one of the few non-American systems integrated onto US maritime platforms,” he said.

Samuel holds a double degree in engineering: robotics and mechatronics, and computer science and software engineering from the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne.

According to the seasoned engineer, who missed out on winning a position with BAE Systems twice before landing a job with the company, it takes persistence and determination to have a successful career in the defence industry.

“It’s important to take some risks and if you’re really passionate about something to chase after it despite the setbacks.”

“I initially struggled to get into BAE Systems. It was at a careers open day that I walked up to the head of software engineering at the BAE Systems stall and said I want to work for the company. I explained why I would be a good fit and after a number of discussions I eventually got the job.

“One of the advantages of working in defence is that your role is always changing and evolving. I started doing testing, then moved to systems engineering and leading teams.

“Defence gives you the opportunity to work on some really interesting projects that are designed and built right here in Australia, with the knowledge that what we produce is helping to protect the people who are protecting us.”

There has never been a better time to make your move to 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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