About the Job

The Combat Engineer belongs to the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) Corps. RAE soldiers are known as 'Sappers' and are responsible for assisting our own forces to move whilst also denying mobility to the enemy. Sappers are trained in a broad range of tasks including bridge-building, clearing minefields, demolitions, field defences as well as building, road and airfield construction and repair.

A Sapper, trained as a Combat Engineer, is a combat soldier with a wide range of trade 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.

The Combat Engineer is a soldier who is a specialist in military field engineering.

Main Job Functions:

  • Assists in construction of temporary roads, bypasses and fords
  • Digs drains and constructs culverts
  • Erects bridges using both equipment and non-equipment components
  • Constructs and operates rafts and ferries
  • Constructs field defences and wire obstacles
  • Lays, arms, neutralises, disarms and removes mines and booby traps
  • Conducts demolition tasks
  • Constructs and operates field machines
  • Operates boats
  • Produces potable water using water purification equipment
  • Carries out concreting tasks
  • Uses and maintains power tools

Following qualification as a Combat Engineer, you may have the opportunity to progress to one of the RAE branch trades such as Plant Operator or Architectural Draughtsman.

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Key Information

Preparing for Your Recruitment Process

This document provides information that will assist applicants for roles in the Navy, Army and Air Force, including details about the recruitment process, how to prepare yourself for assessment, and what to expect if you are successful in joining the Australian Defence Force.


Salary & Allowances

Most Reservists join the Australian Defence Force for the exciting work, the friendships and the lifestyle. But there are many other benefits too, including financial ones.

The pay you receive in the Army Reserve goes straight into your pocket with no deductions for tax, and it increases as you gain seniority and experience.

For more details download our Salary Scales.

Read our Conditions of Service.

Salary Calculator


Reserve RAE units can be found in Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney ( 21 Construction Regiment ), Mt Isa, Townsville, Canberra (HMAS Harman) and Youngtown. These include Combat Engineer regiments and squadrons, and Construction regiments and squadrons.



Applicants must have reached 17 years of age on entry.
Applicants will not normally 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.
The Compulsory Retirement Age (CRA) for Reserve Service is 65 years. Enlistment up to and including the age of 60 years is open for all employment categories. Candidates who wish to enlist into the Army Reserve beyond the age of 60 years will need to be further assessed to ensure that they would be feasibly able to complete all obligatory pre-requisite training in their chosen area of employment prior to reaching CRA.

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.

For further details on medical and physical fitness standards refer to Physical Fitness Standards for Entry into the ADF and Medical Process for Entry into the ADF.

Period of Service

All candidates who are appointed or enlisted into the Army Reserve may undertake volunteer service until the age of 65 (Compulsory Retiring Age) subject to the requirements of the Army and suitability for further service. Members may transfer out of the active Army Reserve at any time.


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.

Find out more in our Citizenship page or ask your local Defence Force Recruiting Centre.

Security Requirements

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:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Credit

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.


Military Training

All General Entry recruits into the Australian Army Reserve are required to complete the Recruit Course.

Duration: 35 days continuous

Location: Kapooka, Wagga Wagga, NSW

Recruit training is the same for male and female entrants. During the Reserve Recruit Training Course you will be required to take part in physical training, weapon handling and shooting, drill, first aid, navigation 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.

Further information is also available at the Army Recruit Training Centre website.

Note: You should be aware that you must commence recruit training within 6 months of enlistment.

Employment Training

Training comprises three modules of 15 days each and one All Corps Soldier Training Module of 12 days duration:

Mod (1): This module can be conducted in RAE Units with training run either continuously or non continuously. Module 1 comprises of the following Combat Engineer Skills:

  • RAE Corps history, organisation, roles and tasks
  • Operation and maintenance of a range of hand and power tools
  • Carry out construction tasks using expedient methods and materials
  • Assist in the construction of obstacles
  • Assist in the construction of basic field defences
  • Understand construction plant equipment, capabilities and safety
  • Assist in the setup, operation and maintenance of water supply equipment, pumps and water testing equipment and
  • Operate small powered watercraft and construct improvised watercraft applicable to RAE.

Mod (2): This module is conducted at the School of Military Engineering in Holsworthy Sydney NSW. Module 2 comprises the following Combat Engineer Skills:

  • Carry out mine laying and clearance tasks
  • Undertake battlefield area clearances
  • Use a range of explosives and accessories to carry out demolition tasks
  • Assemble, maintain and strip a section level dry gap military bridging and
  • Conduct Engineer search tasks.

Mod (3): This Module is conducted at the School of Military Engineering in Holsworthy Sydney NSW. Module 3 comprises of the following Combat Engineer Skills:

  • Fell, cut and trim selected trees
  • Operate a Mobile Dimensional Saw to mill timber as specified
  • Operate Power Actuated Tools
  • Set up, operate and maintain larger capacity water supply equipment including a Reverse Osmosis machine
  • Set, operate and maintain watercraft designed to support RAE wet gap crossing operations and
  • Set up, construct, operate and maintain large scale military bridges and rafts.

Mod (4): This Module conducted at the School of Military Engineering in Holsworthy Sydney NSW. Module 4 comprises of the All Corps Soldier Training Skills:

  • Employ defensive measures as a member of a section in defence
  • Act as a member of a Section on patrol
  • Employ individual NBCD protective measures
  • Identify and indicate targets using fire control orders
  • Navigate across country by day and night using a range of navigational aids
  • Operate selected night vision equipment
  • Operate selected service weapons in a simulated and on live fire ranges and
  • Comply with the conventions of armed conflict.

Reserve Unit Locations

  • Bullecourt Barracks
    Adamstown NSW 2289
  • Lone Pine Barracks
    Singleton NSW 2330
  • Holsworthy Barracks
    Holsworthy NSW 2173
  • Timor Barracks
    Dundas NSW 2117
  • Greenbank Depot
    Greenbank QLD 4124
  • Gallipoli Barracks
    Enoggera QLD 4051
  • Lavarack Barracks
    Townsville QLD 4813
  • Rockhampton Depot
    Rockhampton QLD 4700
  • Warradale Barracks
    Warradale SA 5046
  • Engineering Training Depot
    Ringwood VIC 3135
  • Newborough Depot
    Newborough VIC 3825
  • Oakleigh Barracks
    1318-1338 North Road Oakleigh South VIC 3167
    Phone: (03) 9550 3910
  • Irwin Barracks
    Karrakatta WA 6010
  • HMAS Harman
    Canberra ACT 2600
  • Port Macquarie Depot
    Port Macquarie NSW 2444
  • Keswick Barracks
    Keswick SA 5035
  • Joondalup Depot
    Joondalup WA 6027
  • Kalgoorlie Training Depot
    Kalgoorlie WA 6430