Learn about Cadetships with PCA

Learn about Cadetships with PCA

Alister, Founding Director of Professional Cadetships Australia (PCA), took some time out of his busy schedule to provide us with some information about cadetships and pathways.


SWG: Hi Alister, would you please explain what a cadetship is for us?


Alister: A cadetship is offered to a Year 12 student before they complete Year 12. It takes effect from February the following year. Cadets combine university study with paid work at a company. They study and work throughout their cadetship.  This year we are offering the Business Cadetships Program in Melbourne which is open to all Year 12 students in Victoria.


SWG: How much do cadets work each week, and what kind of work will they do?


Alister: A cadetship program typically takes four years to complete. Each participating company has its own imperatives but there is a fair degree of flexibility, particularly after the first two years of the cadetship. All cadets combine study and work throughout their cadetship. At UBS, cadets work full-time in the first two years and after this, they typically work part-time for the remainder of their degree while studying full-time. At Barrenjoey, the study and work combination will be determined on an individual basis.


SWG: What sort of jobs does a cadetship prepare students for?


Alister: Our Business Cadetships Program places cadets at leading companies in the financial services industry. The experience gained under the cadetship equips cadets for virtually any business career post-cadetship. The Engineering & Technology Cadetships (ETCAD) Program prepares Engineering Cadets for a career in their chosen engineering profession and Technology Cadets for a career in financial technology as well as other areas of technology.


SWG: What happens at the end of the cadetship?


Alister: A cadetship typically lasts for the duration of a cadet’s degree. There is no obligation for a cadet to stay at the company once their degree is completed. There may or may not be a position available for the cadet post-cadetship but the track-record of graduating cadets has been exceptional. PCA has been operating for over fourteen years and there are former cadets working in a myriad of business areas all over the world.


SWG: Do cadets get to choose which degree they study, and which university they attend?


Alister: Under the Business Cadetships Program in Melbourne, cadets study at the university of their choice in Melbourne. Cadets may choose from a wide range of degrees and in some cases, combined degrees are possible. Our website contains further details about appropriate degrees: www.professionalcadets.com.au


SWG: What is included? Do cadets still pay for their degree?


Alister: Cadets are paid a generous salary from the beginning of their cadetship which is reviewed at the end of each year. They may use their salary however they like but obviously they usually choose to pay their university fees as a first priority! There are other attractive financial incentives, including superannuation, and these are discussed with cadets when, and if, they receive a cadetship offer.


SWG: Are there other networking opportunities included in the program?


Alister: Working at leading companies, cadets quickly form networks in-house as well as with professionals at other firms in Australia UBS has a global platform, so there is potential for a cadet to grow an international network as well. The opportunity to network is one of the reasons why cadets have a competitive advantage over university graduates who have not undertaken a cadetship.


SWG: How did you get into working in this field?


Alister: I taught English in secondary schools for 25 years. For half of that time, I was also the Careers Adviser at a large coeducational school in Sydney. I enjoyed helping my students find their career direction but in time, I decided that I wanted to develop career opportunities for students from all schools.


SWG: Why do you enjoy matching students with companies for cadetships?


Alister: Each Year 12 student is their own unique mix of experience and skills. At PCA, we endeavour to understand where an applicant’s strengths lie so that they can fully realise their potential by working in a business area that suits their interests and aptitude.


SWG: Which companies do you offer cadetships with?


Alister: The companies offering cadetships vary from year to year. In 2021, Business Cadets will be placed at UBS in Melbourne. In Sydney, they will be placed at UBS and at Barrenjoey Capital Partners.


SWG: What do you look at in the application process and what qualities do you look for in a potential cadet?


Alister: A Business Cadet is an articulate, highly-motivated young person who enjoys working with other people. He or she demonstrates initiative and is keen to contribute intelligently to the world of financial services.

PCA assesses each application according to the following key competencies:

  • Consistent academic effort and achievement at school
  • Transferable skills relevant to financial services
  • Evidence of leadership potential
  • Team involvement at school and/or in the community
  • Work experience (paid or unpaid)
  • Personal motivation


SWG: Do you take cadets from diverse backgrounds and do you offer special consideration?


Alister: PCA’s cadetship programs embrace equity and diversity. We endeavour to attract a broad range of applicants but we do not discriminate on the basis of where an applicant goes to school, their cultural background or their gender. Applicants are assessed on the six key competencies above and are referred to participating companies on merit. While we do not offer special consideration, applicants with disabilities are welcome to apply.


SWG: Thank you so much Alister for sharing your time and knowledge with us.


To find out more about Business Cadetships that you can apply for while you’re still at high school have a look at here and here– the links will need to be changed so they point at Business Cadetships only

Please note applications for the Business Cadetships Program in Melbourne close on Wednesday 1st September.

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