What is DIPP?
Defence Industry Pathways Program (DIPP) is collaboration between TAFESA, ASC, Department for State Development and the Advanced Technology Project (ATP); and that’s a mouthful of acronyms! Focussing on manufacturing and design, DIPP is a semester long course that helps students to develop the high-level employability skills so important to advanced manufacturing roles in defence.

SACE credits
Over the past five years, the DIPP has not only seen 156 South Australian students graduate with 10 stage 1 SACE credits; but it has also given many the confidence to pursue pathways in mechanical engineering, naval architecture, 3-D design, and other exciting defence industry careers.

Hands on
Under the guidance of TAFESA Lecturer Anthony Tonkin and DIPP SACE teacher Eddie Grzeskowiak, students gain insight into the world of design techniques and modelling practices, prototyping and product testing. They explore Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) in the context of Defence hardware. Then, putting their new skills and knowledge into practice, they make their own modifications to the design and create and test their prototypes using 3D printers.

In his graduation address, Scott from Cardijin College spoke proudly of his work:

I personally created my own sea whiz gun and crane assembly for the Air Warfare Destroyer. I built upon the base submarine by adding two miniature submarines to the exterior of the hull … additionally I created an on board desalination plant … A desalination system is very important in the survival of the crew on board a submarine.

It’s practical, hands-on and exciting to see young talent flourish and ideas come into fruition.

20 weeks of Tuesdays
I was lucky to attend the graduation, and before the ceremony, mingled in a computer room abuzz with proud parents, friends, teachers and industry insiders. We pored over 3D computer graphics of carefully modified Collins Class Sub designs, and marvelled at 3D laser printed models as the graduates patiently answered our questions.

Mitchell, a self-described sailor from Le Fevre High School has “always been interested in boats”, but had never thought about design until the opportunity with ASC presented itself. He’s now hoping that his 20 weeks of Tuesdays with DIPP will stand him in good stead for a career in ship design

Encouragement from teachers
Lecturer Anthony Tonkin paid tribute to the teachers and principals who continue to promote DIPP in schools and the community. It’s teachers who identify students passionate about STEM, encourage them to apply for the course, and provide the support throughout the 20 weeks of Tuesdays.

It was one of his teachers at Roma Mitchell High School who knew of Ismail’s interest in software and encouraged him to go for it. When asked during his face-to-face interview how he believed DIPP would be of benefit, Ismail explained that he wanted to expand his knowledge of software. It wasn’t long into the course before his passion turned from software to technology, and Ismail can now see his future in engineering.

I just love STEM!
As we looked over the steps of her Air Warfare Destroyer  design, Eilish explained her reasoning for applying for DIPP. “I looked into it and thought – why not?” This St Ignatius student loves STEM. She’s well aware of the countless opportunities that will open to her with the developments in the defence industry. For now her eyes are on a career path somewhere in design.

A bright future
Graduates of the DIPP 13 have come away from the course with so much more than a sound development of their STEM and employability skills. They have come away having made lasting friendships. Importantly, they graduate with the knowledge that their career path is filled with opportunities that don’t have to include leaving the state, thanks to the defence industry. The future is bright indeed.

Teachers: Students are invited to apply for the DIPP from any school in South Australia, with an endorsement from a mentor teacher. If you know of a student with a sound background and interest in:

  • STEM
  • Problem solving
  • Working in teams

Jump onto the Advanced Technology Project website and follow the links.