One in three young people don’t know what to do with their life.
Our latest Year13 YouthSense research has found 36% of Australian youth aged 15 to 24 don’t know what career they want to go into leaving many feeling insecure, inadequate and stressed.
But there is a career path out there that provides the structured, secure, and well-paid careers many young people need. So what do Gen Zs actually think of it?
In our recent survey of 350 young Australians about the Australian Defence Force, more than half (53%) said they had a ‘positive’ or ‘very positive’ view of the ADF, while around one in three (37%) said they had a neutral view. Just a relatively low 1 in 10 said they had a ‘negative’ or ‘very negative’ opinion of the Australian Defence Force.
In the survey a 16-year-old male from rural Queensland told us about what made him want to work for defence.
“The ADF to me is a pathway to a dream,” he said.
“Being able to have a degree paid for, and for the excitement of actually doing something early on in life. Being able to travel, learn, and form friendships that would hopefully last a lifetime!
“Being only in grade 10 right now, I know I have a few more years until this possibility is actually an option, but I have already, believe it or not, applied for the ‘Long Tan Award’ which is supposed to be helpful getting in and what not.
“But as someone who wants to study medicine and become a medic or something I understand that the ADF can bring me to that dream.”
An 18-year-old from Victoria told us why she was also keen to join the ADF.
“As a female my dream career is to become a pilot,” she said.
“Through research I have gained familiarity that the ADF offers an excellent pilot program under the air force. I would love to join the air force because I love the fact that you get paid whilst you are studying, because there are a lot of financial constraints involved in the process of becoming a pilot. In my opinion, joining the airforce would be a unique opportunity that would allow myself to become a more independent individual.”
She said she just wanted to see more young women like herself going into the ADF.
“Representation needs to improve. Indeed, you can’t be what you can’t see. Perception and representation, after all, go hand in hand,” she said.
“Thus far, I know the ADF is doing a great job. But I think more needs to be done to make it a more attractive pathway for young girls like me, to see the negatives outweighed by the positives.”
While there’s clearly an interest in the ADF as a post-school pathway, just 3% of young people said they know a great deal about careers in the Australian Defence Force, while 8% said they know a lot, 34% a moderate amount, 44% a little and 11% nothing. Overall then just 1 in 10 Gen Zs know a lot about working in defence.
To help bridge that gap Year13 has partnered with Defence Force Recruiting to create a brand new free, short online course called Choose Your Adventure which shows young people what it’s really like to work across The Australian Defence Force.
It covers all careers in the army, navy and air force including:
- Combat & security
- IT & intelligence
- Healthcare, science & chaplaincy
- Officers & management
- Business, administration & education
- Logistics, hospitality & support
Year13 Co-Founder Will Stubley said the partnership is particularly exciting for Gen Zs because the ADF “provides a structured, well-paid, secure environment for school leavers with mentors and support they might not otherwise be able to access.
“Defence Force employees also have access to cutting-edge technology which is pretty exciting, and young people interested in learning a trade can be paid while they learn”.
And it seems like Aussie Gen Zs are equally as excited.
“(I feel like the ADF) are the hidden gems of Australia, I fantasised back in 2020 of becoming a commando position in the ADF,” a 17-year-old male from NSW said.
“It’s a fun six-figure job, though my mum would never let me do that. I’m interested to learn more about the ADF through Year13, fantastic opportunity you have created for us.”
If you know a young person who could be a good fit for working in defence, swing them this link or check it out for yourself.