Gain experience and kick-start your career
Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) is committed to helping students gain valuable and meaningful work experience by actively participating in student hiring and student bridging programs. We recognize students as valuable contributors, who bring fresh ideas, new skills and innovative collaboration. At DRDC, students gain hands-on experience, benefit from a diverse and inclusive workplace, and have the opportunity to kick-start their careers, while contributing to the safety and effectiveness of the Canadian Armed Forces, as well as, the security of Canada and its international allies.
At DRDC, students have the opportunity to:
- work with fellow students from across the country in addressing real-world military and security problems facing Canada;
- interact with a diverse community of experts including military members, contractors, leading private sector firms, and world-class scientists and technologists;
- receive hands-on training, mentoring, and professional development opportunities;
- access cutting-edge government labs, equipment, and unique research facilities;
- contribute to a wide array of possible research domains that help enhance Canada's defence and security posture through excellence in science, technology and innovation.
- become directly involved in the government’s scientific research community and potentially gain access to an academic supervisor with unique research questions, data, and broader research challenges;
- obtain a Government of Canada security clearance;
- launch their careers as many of our students are hired back for future opportunities, term positions and indeterminate positions.
Student Hiring Programs
At DRDC, students can be hired through any of the student hiring programs below:
- The Federal Student Work Experience Program (FSWEP) is for full-time high school, CEGEP, college or university students who are returning to full-time studies in the next academic term. FSWEP is the most common method hiring managers use to source student candidates for positions. On the FSWEP website, students create a profile, upload a resumé, and indicate their experience or interest in relevant fields. Managers then request referrals from the program based on their hiring criteria, and candidates are notified directly by the Public Service Commission (PSC) if they have been referred. Read more about FSWEP Eligibility Requirements.
- The Post-Secondary Co-op/Internship Program is another option for student hiring at DRDC. This program is for full-time students registered in a post-secondary co-op/internship program, who must complete a work term for graduation. Read more about co-op eligibility requirements and view the list of validated post-secondary academic institutions and programs.
- The Research Affiliate Program is for full-time students registered in a post-secondary institution academic program that requires research as part of the curriculum. Read more about Research Affiliate Program eligibility.
DRDC values Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion are priorities at DRDC. Students from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply to opportunities at DRDC, and students can self-declare if they identify as a woman, an Aboriginal person, a member of a visible minority, or a person with a disability. Some jobs are only available to people in these groups. To be considered for these opportunities, students need to self-declare. Read more about Employment Equity and self-declaration.
- All advertised federal employment opportunities that are open to the public are posted on GC Jobs. Through a GC Jobs account, job seekers may sign up for email alerts to be notified when job listings matching their search criteria are posted.
- Public Service Commission Post-Secondary Recruitment Campaigns provide opportunities for recent graduates to find careers in the Canadian Public Service.
Resources for new students
The DND Student Passport has been developed to assist with your transition to DND.
Virtual Onboarding Tools and Resources are available to support working remotely.
“Working for Defence Research and Development Canada at the Suffield Research Centre, I had the opportunity to conduct research for autonomous vehicles under the tutelage of brilliant mentors with state of the art equipment. As an electrical engineering undergraduate student, developing hands-on problem solving skills and an appreciation for academia proved to be invaluable for my career. Finding myself now drawn to a career in robotics, I found the technical knowledge I obtained with DRDC has allowed me to jump start my pursuit of a master's degree in this field.”
“I was first hired as a co-op student in the summer while I completed my Master’s degree. Not only did I gain valuable work experience in this role, I also built an amazing network of individuals who supported and guided me in my career development. After my co-op ended, I was offered an extension as a part-time FSWEP student while I completed the final year of my education. This gave me a great opportunity to continue my work with the organization, while also bringing new inspiration and points of interest in my academic research. Once I graduated, I was bridged in and I became an indeterminate employee. My first student position with DRDC represents the beginning of my career as a public servant, and many future opportunities for personal and professional growth!”
"My time at DRDC was incredibly rewarding and impactful. As a student, I was able to work alongside experienced researchers and scientists who were happy to help me advance my research skills and craft. I was able to utilize the skills learned in my graduate program, and apply them in a professional setting for the first time. It was a wonderful opportunity to create a positive impact through research, and also a great learning experience altogether."
"It has been an absolute pleasure and honour to work at Defence Research and Development Canada - Toronto Research Centre. The entire team works as one to ensure a mutually beneficial collaboration. The environment was flexible, diverse and inclusive. I worked under the supervision of a Senior Defence Scientist, who not only guided me on research and writing skills but also coached me in investigations and interpretations. I could not have asked for more!"
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