by Kate O’Mara
In the first activity of a new series slated for The Altitude Accord – a three-way partnership between Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA), Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter and the University of Newcastle that has recently been minted for a third year – 70 University of Newcastle students this week tuned in to an interactive guest lecture by three engineers from Lockheed Martin Australia’s Williamtown facility.
Transitioned to virtual format due to the COVID lockdown, the event was staged by University of Newcastle’s student-led Engineering Society and facilitated by RDA Hunter. It brought together the Hunter’s future engineering workforce and aimed to (1) highlight the size and national importance of the Hunter region’s Defence and defence industry sectors and (2) showcase the range of long-term jobs and career opportunities that exist sector-wide and, in particular, at Lockheed Martin Australia.
It saw Lockheed Martin Australia Site Systems Engineer, Shaun Owen, Engineering Lead, Adam Namisnyk and Graduate Hardware Engineer, Liam McCowan speak frankly about their careers, their various roles across all facets of engineering and LMA, and LMA career development opportunities – which are likely to expand in the near future with the company having this month been shortlisted for the Commonwealth government’s joint JABMS project that will enhance the ADF’s air and missile defence capability.
In light of this and the ongoing sustainment of the F-35 fleet, LMA is eager to encourage students in the Hunter region where jobs are expected to grow at its Williamtown regional hub, to get excited about engineering as a career path and LMA as an employer of choice.
According to Shaun, “We work with very cool platforms and awesome systems. F-35 really is an extremely impressive feat of technology. It’s a vehicle but, more than that, it’s a powerful integrated air system. It’s a privilege to work on it.”
Shaun, Adam and Liam, who each entered LMA’s engineering cohort via different paths: Shaun following a Defence career, Adam through civilian marine and aerospace channels and Liam via LMA’s graduate entry program, reiterated to students that success in all their roles has relied on a genuine combination of both high level of technical skills and superior nontechnical skills like communication. They stressed that non-technical skills are crucial for teams of any nature, but particularly geographically dispersed ones which are increasingly the norm. But, no matter their pathways, they all believe that the benefits of working in Australia’s defence industry are immense.
They cited Defence industry’s exceptional approach to work:life balance, the formal and informal mentoring support that is inherent in the sector, and the opportunities for international travel and engagement through supply chains and parent company technical interchange. And, they offered personal insights into their appreciation for engineering as a discipline and how they’d approach their careers with the benefit of hindsight.
RDA Hunter’s Manager of Skilled Workforce Initiatives, Rick Evans, also encouraged students to engage in The Altitude Accord activities which, co-designed by LMA, RDA Hunter and University of Newcastle, contextualise course work by providing hands-on access to the companies and workplaces where the job opportunities are.
Last word to Shaun following a student question about Defence’s security process, “It’s worth it! Obtaining a security clearance opens up an amazing new world in Defence!”
RDA Hunter’s Director, Special Projects
0412 303 744