STUDENTS from several local schools heard first hand the benefits of Australian Defence Force employment when members of Australian Defence Force Recruiting visited on Monday.
A lunchtime session at Gippsland Grammar was well attended, with students packing into the school's lecture theatre to hear about the many and varied opportunities on offer with the ADF.
Gippsland Grammar defence student transition aide Amanda Canfield said the ADF recruited about 8000 people each year, and was actively trying to expand the quality of its candidate pool by encouraging women, indigenous Australians and people of diverse culture and linguistic backgrounds, to apply.
Next up, ADF representatives from the Navy, Army and Air Force dropped into Maffra Secondary College at 2pm to talk to a small group of year 10 and 12 students about the many exciting training and career opportunities, and the more than 200 roles for gap year students, high school graduates and tertiary qualified professionals.
Air Force personnel capability specialist Sergeant Rebecca Pentreath, who joined the ADF 13 years ago, said it had provided her with unique opportunities and taken her to exciting places.
She said people in the Defence Force usually made many friends, who remained "friends for life".
Students heard there were a range of entry options available for the ADF, including a well paid gap year option, and all were challenging and rewarding.
"The reality of being in the Australian defence Force is very different to the perception out there," Sgt Pentreath said.
She said recruits did a lot of "fun things" and were paid to undergo nationally recognised training programs, but also could lead a "very normal life" and go home to their pets and family after work, like everybody else.
The recruitment teams visited 16 schools across Gippsland during the week, and held an information session at The Wedge Performing Arts Centre in Sale on Monday evening.
Leading Seaman Allan Bahr said the Defence Force offered guaranteed jobs, flexible work hours and clear career progression - something often difficult to find in private enterprise.
He told students there was also plenty of opportunity for ongoing personal and professional development.
Year 10 student Liam Patrick said he was keen to pursue an Australian Defence Force career because of the opportunities, and had made enquiries early in line with ADF recommendations.