About the Job

Immerse yourself in this action-packed experience while on an Army Combat Gap Year and gain skills for life in one of three Army Combat roles. From the moment you start your experience, you’ll be trained to be part of a highly skilled team to handle any situation and keep the Army moving.

You will be supported throughout your training by our professional and enthusiastic Army personnel who will provide the guidance necessary for you to get the most out of this experience. Your training will begin at Kapooka in Wagga Wagga, NSW, where you’ll complete 80 days of recruit training. Training will involve physical training, weapon handling and shooting, first aid, drill and field craft. It’s challenging, but it will prepare you for anything.

One you complete your initial military training, you’ll grow your skills and expertise in one of the following roles:

  • Infantry Soldier where you’ll form part of an Infantry combat team and be armed with advanced weapons and equipment. Learn more about Infantry Soldier here.
  • Artillery Operator where you’ll operate artillery weapons and provide vital artillery support to Army combat operations. Learn more about Artillery Operator here
  • Combat Engineer where you’ll learn about military field engineering and gain skills in bridge-building, minefield clearance, field defence construction and demolition. Learn more about Combat Engineer here.

Once you’re finished your training, you’ll join a highly skilled combat team in a variety of exercises while having the opportunity to travel, gain life and work experience and make friends that could last a lifetime.

So, what happens next? After finishing your Gap Year program, you can choose to continue your career in the Army, or use the skills and experiences to gain an edge in future careers. There’s no obligation to serve beyond the one-year program period.

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

In the Army you'll get paid a good salary from day one regardless of your age, experience or qualifications; and your pay increases as you progress through training.

In addition to your salary you'll receive a variety of allowances, extra pay for relevant qualifications – plus 16.4% superannuation, a far higher rate than you're likely to find in the civilian world.

For more details download our Salary Scales.


Combat Gap Year soldiers will conduct their recruit course at Kapooka NSW before moving to a second training location to conduct trade training at Singleton, NSW, Holsworthy NSW or Puckapunyal VIC. Once trained in a combat role, the Brigades one can be posted to include 1st Brigade (Darwin/Adelaide), 3rd Brigade (Townsville) and 7th Brigade (Brisbane). You can expect to find out where you will be posted during your trade training at the school you’ve been allocated to.



Gap Year candidates must be 17-24 years old on enlistment and be at least 18 years old by completion of military training.

Education & Experience

Completion of Australian Year 12 education (or equivalent), as well as passes in Yr 10 English and Mathematics.

Medical & Fitness

To be enlisted as a Combat Gap Year soldier, you must be medically and physically fit for entry. Applicants selected for the Combat Gap Year role require a higher level of strength and aerobic fitness than non-combat employment categories. Applicants may be expected to pass the relevant Combat Arms Physical Employment Standards before the end of their initial employment training.

Your fitness 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 enlistment.

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

Your Gap Year experience will commence on enlistment at the start of the year and will conclude 12 months later.

Subsequent periods of service in the Regular or Reserve Force may be offered subject to the requirements of the ADF and your suitability for further service. You may request discharge at any time by providing 21 days’ notice.


The Job Opportunities Assessment (JOA) is completed as part of the application process to join the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Some jobs may also require you to complete a further evaluation at a later date.

The JOA is used by Defence to establish suitability for ADF entry, and then identify jobs that best match your abilities.

Further information about the JOA can be found in the Guide to the Job Opportunities Assessment for the ADF.

To get a feel for the types of questions that are used in the Job Opportunities Assessment and how they will look on your screen some examples can be found in the Job Opportunities Assessment Example Questions.


To serve in the ADF you must be an Australian Citizen.

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 a security clearance appropriate to their employment.

A process of background checks, collection of relevant information and if required, interviews, enables the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) 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 (NV1), and current policy requires applicants to have a checkable background for the previous 10 years.

This means applicants must provide credible referees (non-family members) who are able to provide information about the applicant covering an extended period of time. Required information for an NV1 includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Residence
  • Employment
  • Education
  • Financial information
  • Travel

Some ADF jobs may require a higher level of security clearance such as Negative Vetting Level 2 (NV2) or Positive Vetting (PV). Your individual circumstances will determine the number and complexity of the questions and the supporting documents required for these levels.

Australian Citizenship is a requirement for a security clearance and a clearance will only be granted to a non-citizen in exceptional circumstances.

The security clearance is critical to an applicant's successful progression through the recruiting process. It is strongly recommended that all applicants action the Security Clearance Package (ePack) and provide the required documentation without delay to provide the best opportunity to commence training and be employed in their preferred employment category.

For more detailed information on the security vetting process and specific clearance level requirements set by AGSVA, please refer to the AGSVA website.

Support will be provided by DFR during the initial application process.


Military Training

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.

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.

Employment Training

Whilst at Recruit Training, Combat Gap Year Soldiers will be allocated one of the three identified combat roles after taking into account their preference.

Recruit training at Kapooka is followed by Initial Employment training:

Infantry Initial Employment Training – will be conducted at the School of Infantry, Singleton, NSW. At the School of Infantry you will be trained and qualified in infantry tactics, infantry weapons and infantry equipment.
Combat Engineers Initial Employment Training – will be conducted at the School of Military Engineering, Holsworthy, Sydney, NSW. At the School of Engineers you will be trained and qualified to use construction tools and equipment, prepare for and conduct basic engineering, operate in Chemical, Biological, Radiation and Nuclear threat, conduct water purification, demolition, explosive hazard reduction, bridging, communication and pyrotechnics.
Artillery Operator Initial Employment Training – will be conducted at the School of Artillery, Puckapunyal, Victoria. At the School of Artillery you will be trained to work in a small team to deploy and redeploy an artillery gun, operate GPS and communication equipment.

Courses vary between 7 and 12 weeks depending on the combat role you are allocated.

On completion of the initial employment training you can be posted to Battalions and Regiments throughout Australia with the major units located in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Townsville and Darwin.