University or joining the ADF

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So you're being told by your parents to go to a nice university, get a nice career and settle into a job with a big corporation to see you reach bliss by age 30. Depends on what you prefer in life, but this is the sort of sage advice offered from mum and dad in your late teens and early twenties, and for some layabouts, their early 30's. But that’s not you. You’re motivated and keen to see what life has to offer now that you’re out of school, finished your exams and said goodbye to those great or not so great friends in that place you’ve known called High School.

Let’s assume you were a very studious student and managed to gain a high passing score and managed to ignore all distractions around you as a young adult. You will have your pick of going to a university of your choice. Leaving home, and working a part time job and studying at university. Of course there are great degrees and career paths offered by studying. There are some interesting facts surrounding a university education and later employment. You may be surprised to know that completing your university degree doesn’t actually guarantee you work. You may be even more surprised to know that there are many people who have studied and actually don’t even manage to find work in their field they have studied. This can be a major letdown especially when you have a HECS or loan to accompany you into your now new working life. Welcome to the real world.

This is not an article to dissuade anyone from a further education. Far from it. Which brings us to consider another option for people that would like to use their drive, ambition and desire to serve their country.

Joining the ADF. This can mean being away from home. Doing Physical training with your peers while you might want to be sleeping in. Or even serving overseas in a warzone. This is certainly not for everyone. But if you were interested in getting a more hands on entry into the workforce. This is certainly a great option. But why?

Simply put, compared to your peers at university. You would be entering your job at the same pay rate of approx. $70,000 p.a. as they would when they finish their degree. You won’t be left with a large HECS debt and you won’t be struggling to find work after that 4 years. After your 4 years you would even be looking at promotion and pay rise in an interesting and varied career that will constantly develop you with world class training and new experiences.

But can I get a university degree in the ADF? The answer is yes and no. The ADF will help you to complete tertiary studies through DASS. The Defence Assisted Study Scheme. You are given regular grants to pay for your units depending on the degree studied and it's relation to your job role in the ADF. Or, entering as an Officer going through ADFA (Australian Defence Force Academy) you will be able to study a degree at the University Of New South Wales without any HECS debt and be paid to be a full time student.

While entering through general entry and not Officer entry doesn’t automatically provide you a university degree. You can certainly still obtain funding and grants to study putting you far in front of your peers. You can even get approved days off for your study.

All in all it really depends what you are wanting out of your career. There are people who are more adventurous than others and those who do like the comforts that life has to offer. But both going to university and joining the ADF can be great options for starting your working career.

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