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Swedish internship gives UniSA students a headstart in defence careers

UniSA graduate Nicole Carter with Saab Adelaide Head of Discipline Software Geoff Stephens. UniSA graduate Nicole Carter (right) with Saab Adelaide Head of Discipline Software Geoff Stephens.

UniSA students have an exciting new pathway to careers at one of the world’s leading defence companies.

Under a collaboration between UniSA and Saab, selected Bachelor of Software Engineering students are undertaking an exchange and internship package in Sweden, before returning to Adelaide for potential ongoing employment at Saab Australia.

Final year UniSA student Nicole Carter was one of the first three UniSA students to head to Sweden and return to Australia with offers for ongoing employment at Saab in Adelaide. 

Carter undertook an exchange semester at UniSA’s partner Swedish university, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, followed by a five-week internship at Saab Sweden HQ in Järfälle.

“The three of us, along with two Swedish interns from KTH formed a new software team within the surveillance business unit,’’ she says.

“Our focus was creating automated ‘smoke tests’ for one of Saab’s oldest products, and to visualise these in a web app that would be easy to understand for non-technical managers or customers.”

Carter says she learnt a lot from Saab’s modern approach to software development.

“Every three weeks we had demonstrations of our product to other people in the company. We got really good feedback which was encouraging,” she says.

Now back in Adelaide, Carter says she appreciates how useful the internship has been for putting faces to names.

“The exchange was incredible,” she says. “We are now working with the same team that we collaborated with in Sweden.’’

Saab Adelaide Head of Discipline Software Geoff Stephens says the internship program provides a hugely valuable orientation to the company’s working approach.

“Collaboration between both countries happens on a daily basis in our software teams, so this was an excellent experience for the students to witness first-hand,’’ Stephens says.

“The students received very positive feedback from their internship supervisors in Sweden.

“On completion of their studies, all three Australian students have been successful in gaining positions on our graduate program’’

The exchange and internship package builds on a strong relationship between UniSA and Saab.

UniSA Head of School: Information Technology and Mathematical Science Professor Brenton Dansie says UniSA and Saab have a strong strategic alliance through the creation of the Defence Technologies Institute (DTI).

“Providing opportunities for students to develop the skills required for future defence projects in South Australia is also a key priority for the DTI,” Prof Dansie says.

“The international exchange and internship package with KTH and Saab Sweden is an excellent outcome of this commitment to the future.”

The exchange package is mirrored at Sweden’s end. Students from KTH in Stockholm come to Adelaide each year for an exchange semester at UniSA, followed by the internship at SAAB Adelaide, based in Technology Park, near UniSA’s Mawson Lakes campus.

“We are thrilled to have been able to establish this as a reciprocal package,” Prof Dansie said.

“We welcomed our first KTH student to UniSA last semester, and she has just completed her internship at Saab.’’