SME Information

The Defence Industry Internship Program (DIIP) is an initiative of the Commonwealth Department of Defence.

The DIIP matches SMEs with engineering students nearing the end of their degree for a 12-week (450 hour) paid internship.

Students are offered an opportunity to be involved with small to medium sized Defence Industry enterprises (SMEs) located throughout Australia.

The DIIP SME brochure has information regarding the program including current programs and eligibility requirements.

Engineering projects are offered in a range of disciplines including:

Aerospace/Aeronautical, Chemical, Civil, Data Science, Electrical/Electronics, Industrial/Manufacturing, Machine Learning, Maritime, Materials, Mechatronic, Mechanical, Software/Systems

Technology projects are now offered in a range of disciplines including:

Information Communication Technology / Cyber Security / Data Science / Data Analytics / Computer Science / Artificial Intelligence / Robotics / Software / Systems

In the 2021/22 cohort, 120 internships were offered throughout Australia to students from all states and territories and from a wide range of universities.

In the 2022/23 intake, an additional stream open to technology students was added to the program. A total of 120 internships were funded, 90 engineering internships and 30 technology internships.

In the 2023/24 intake, 115 internship will be offered including 90 engineering and 25 technology internships across Australia.



The Program gives interns a 12-week opportunity to contribute to a project for an SME.

QTAC ensures employers have access to university undergraduates nearing the completion of their degrees, who have been carefully matched to your business requirements and location, bringing a range of skills in new technologies and current research.

QTAC reimburses SMEs the intern’s wages which is currently $1,089 per 37.5 hour working week.  The amount is reviewed annually.

SMEs will be reimbursed $546.69 per week for hosting an intern (for out of pocket expenses, and paid within 10 working days of your claim).


Eligibility criteria

  • Be able to provide the intern with meaningful duties in line with the needs of the business and the student’s area of study
  • Be undertaking work for Defence, subcontracting to a prime or in the defence supply chain
  • Be able to supervise and mentor an intern for the duration of the 12-week program
  • Be a registered Australian business with current workers’ compensation insurance
  • Be prepared to provide feedback to QTAC regarding the intern’s progress
  • Allow a QTAC representative to visit the intern at their worksite
  • Be able to provide a safe and supportive work environment
  • Have less than 200 employees



QTAC ensures interns and SMEs are matched, taking care of the recruitment and selection process.

Two visits will be made to your workplace during the 12-week internship to assess progress of the project, together with informal emails and phone calls.

Assistance, advice and support is available for SMEs and interns, alongside pastoral care for interns.


Important dates

  • SME applications are accepted between 8 and 22 June.  During the application the SMEs will provide information about the business and the project work to be undertaken by the intern.
  • A deidentified list of approved SME projects will be made available to prospective interns, and interns will apply for up to 5 opportunities that best suit their skill set, experience and interests.
  • Intern applications will be open online from 4 July to 31 July.  Prospective interns will provide a CV, academic reference, academic transcript, citizenship documents and a statement about their suitability for the program.
  • SMEs will be given information about their proposed intern by the end of September, with all placements finalised by the end of October.
  • SMEs are asked to interview their short listed candidates, whether in person or online, and make the final decision on which candidate to select for their project.
  • Internships will commence between mid November and end of January each year.


QTAC administers the DIIP on behalf of the Department of Defence Industry.

DIIP was formerly known as the Defence Engineering Internship Program (DEIP) which was established in 2012.

Intern and SME application numbers may vary from year to year.