About the Job
Combat Engineers, known as 'Sappers' are part of the Corps of Royal Australian Engineers (RAE). Combat Engineers conduct the complex, challenging, and rewarding tasks that allow military forces to move, live, and fight. Sappers are trained in a broad range of tasks including bridge-building, clearing explosive hazards, creating obstacles, demolitions, and operating small boats. Combat Engineers also conduct basic construction tasks and purify water.
A Sapper, trained as a Combat Engineer, is a combat soldier with a wide range of tactical and technical skills. Combat Engineers can wield a chainsaw, build a bridge, clear a minefield, build a road or airfield and use explosives to demolish a target. Sappers also maintain a secondary role as infantry and employ a range of armoured and other vehicles to achieve their tasks.
Combat Engineer tasks include, but are not limited to:
- Conducting demolition tasks
- Searching for explosive devices
- Assisting in construction of temporary roads, bypasses and fords
- Operating small boats
- Erecting bridges using both pre-fabricated and constructed components
- Assembling and operating rafts and ferries
- Constructing field defences and wire obstacles
- Laying, arming, neutralising, disarming and removing mines and booby traps
- Producing potable water using water purification equipment
- Carrying out concreting tasks
- Using and maintaining power tools
Following qualification as a Combat Engineer, you may have the opportunity to progress to one of the RAE branch trades such as Dog Handler, Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician, Plant Operator or Architectural Draughtsman.
Other Ranks - Non Technical
Join the ADF with appropriate high school passes
Salary & Allowances
Salary while undertaking Military (Recruit) Training: $1,434 per fortnight ($37,302 pro rata per year).*
Salary while undertaking Initial Employment Training: $1,639 per fortnight ($42,631 per year).*
While under training, you will also receive $403 per fortnight ($10,493 per year pro rata) Trainee Allowance.
Salary (excluding allowances) on completion of Initial Employment Training: $2,049 per fortnight ($53,289 per year).*
In addition to your salary, you will also receive Service Allowance of $538 per fortnight ($13,991 per year) except while undertaking Military (Initial) or Employment training. This allowance helps compensate you for the unique requirements service life may impose on you and your family.
To assist you in maintaining your uniforms in good order and condition, you will also receive a Uniform Allowance of $16 per fortnight ($419 per year).
Each General Entry job in the Australian Defence Force is classified into a pay grade. This particular job is classified as a Pay Grade 3 occupation.
Salary will continue to increase based on rank and the number of years of service completed in that rank. Pay grade may also increase following the acquisition of additional skills and completion of advanced courses.
Refer to the Salary Scales for further details.
* Please note that these figures do not include compulsory deductions for taxation; meals, accommodation and utilities (as applicable); and superannuation.
Combat Engineers are employed in Combat Engineer Regiments, and Construction Squadrons in the following locations:
- QLD - Brisbane, Townsville and Amberley
- NSW - Sydney
- NT - Darwin
Applicants must be aged between 17 and 55 years of age inclusive on day of entry.
Applicants will not be allowed to enter the ADF until they achieve a minimum of 17 years of age, however they may be able to initiate the application process from 16 years and six months of age, depending upon the capacity of their local recruiting centre.
Education & Experience
Completion of Australian Year 10 education (or equivalent) with passes in English and Mathematics.
Medical & Fitness
To be enlisted or appointed, you must be medically and physically fit for entry to your chosen occupation. This is partially assessed from the completion of an extensive questionnaire covering your medical history, followed by a physical examination.
You will also be required to successfully pass a physical fitness test before appointment.
Period of Service
Male candidates will be enlisted for an Initial Minimum Period of Service (IMPS) of four years.
Female candidates will be enlisted for two years.
Subsequent periods of service may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may request discharge at any time provided you do not have an outstanding IMPS obligation.
Your Careers Coach can advise on how IMPS will relate to your chosen occupation.
The application process to join the Australian Defence Force requires you to complete a series of aptitude tests which may include verbal, spatial and numerical ability and a general maths test. Some jobs may also require you to complete additional testing at a later date.
Psychology support staff will explain what is involved with each test.
The aptitude tests provide information about your suitability for the Defence Force and for particular jobs. Defence Force Recruiting can then help you identify jobs that best match your abilities.
Further information on the aptitude testing requirements can be found here.
Only Australian Citizens are permitted to serve in the ADF.
If you are a permanent resident of Australia, the ADF may consider a temporary deferral of the citizenship requirement if the position for which you are applying cannot be filled by an applicant who meets all the citizenship requirements, and then only in exceptional circumstances. You will be required to obtain Australian Citizenship as early as possible following enlistment or appointment.
The Department of Defence requires ADF employees to have security clearances appropriate to their employment.
A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and, as required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency to make an informed assessment of an applicant's suitability for a security clearance.
The minimum security clearance level required is Negative Vetting Level 1, and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years. Required information includes:
Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.
NOTE: The security clearance is critical to an applicants successful progression through the Army training system. If an applicant is unable to obtain the required security clearance in time, they will not be allowed to continue their training and may need to be re-allocated to another employment category. As such, it is strongly recommended that all applicants obtain the required documentation as soon as possible to provide the best opportunity to be employed in their preferred employment category.
All General Entry recruits into the Australian Regular Army are required to complete the Recruit Course.
Total Duration: 80 days.
Location: Kapooka, Wagga Wagga, NSW.
Recruit training is the same for male and female entrants. During the 80 day Army Recruit Course you will be required to take part in physical training, weapon handling and shooting, first aid, drill and field craft. The training is deliberately challenging and has been designed to prepare you to be a soldier in today's Army. Recruits gain a sense of achievement, purpose and confidence during basic training, and on completion of the course feel justifiably proud of what they have achieved.
For more details on recruit training, refer to the Joining instructions. These instructions will provide you and your family with enough information to arrange your personal affairs before enlistment in the Army, and give you an idea of what you will be doing on the recruit course.
Further information is also available at the Army Recruit Training Centre website.
During Military (Initial Recruit) Training and (Initial) Employment Training, members may be required to pay a contribution towards meals, accommodation and utilities.
Combat Engineer Course: 12 Weeks (Full-time)
Note: Course duration may vary depending on public holidays and other Army requirements.
At the completion of your basic military training you will undertake a Basic Combat Engineers Course of 12 weeks duration at the School of Military Engineering at Holsworthy, Sydney, NSW.
The Combat Engineer Course consists of 4 Phases as follows:
- Understand RAE Induction in corps history, organisation, trades and capabilities
- Use Construction tools and equipment which includes OHS and operation of chainsaws
- Prepare for and conduct Basic Engineering including excavations, concreting, road and drainage repairs, construction of field defences and obstacles
- Operate and work in a Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear Threat Environment and demonstrate personal decontamination techniques
- Water Purification system operation and conducting water analysis
- Demolitions use including preparing explosives and landmines
- Prepare for and conduct Search Operations
- Explosive Hazard Reduction Assistant training in locating and clearing explosive hazards and using hand-held mine detectors
- Assist in the construction, operation and maintenance of the Medium Girder Bridge
- Assist in the construction, operation and maintenance of the Fixed Modular Bridge
- Small Watercraft Operation and maintenance
- Assist in the construction, operation and maintenance of the Floating Support Bridge
- Basic Combat Communications
- Grenade and Pyrotechnic use
Following qualification as a Combat Engineer, soldiers in the RAE may have the opportunity to progress to a number of branch trades.