Growing up in Kiama on the South Coast of New South Wales, Zoe Carroll never imagined she’d one day relocate to South Australia working on the largest Defence acquisition in Australia’s history, the Future Submarine Program. Yet today she has made Adelaide her home, and our beach loving Security Officer has just clocked over 5 years as part of the team, making her Naval Group Australia’s longest standing staff member.
We sat down with Zoe (far right in the feature image, standing alongside Australia’s Minister for Defence, the Hon. Linda Reynolds CSC) to find out what attracted her to a career in Security, what the experience was like relocating interstate for work and her top tips for those considering the leap themselves, and what she loves most about working at Naval Group Australia.
Tell us about your role at Naval Group Australia
I‘m the responsible lead for personnel security and governance. Generally speaking, I make sure our people are vetted and aware from a Defence security perspective. It involves a range of duties from pre-engagement requirements, access permissions, awareness training, security clearances, travel briefings, and adherence to Defence security regulations.
I started with Naval Group Australia, or DCNS Australia as it was known then, in May 2015 as the Office Manager and Executive Assistant to the CEO. We were based in Canberra and quickly out grew our office space. The first office was in a building with pink walls (laughs), and there were only a handful of us. Momentum grew quickly though.
I feel privileged to be a part of the Program, and to have been here for as long as I have. To support and contribute to the security of our country through my work makes me proud of what I do. We are part of something that is really important for Australia, and I remember that every day when I show up for work.
Zoe and Naval Group Australia teammate Lawrie (far right) with the French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (middle), His Excellency Christophe Penot, Ambassador of France to Australia, and Jean-Michel Billig (far left), Executive Vice President – Future Submarine Program.
What was the most daunting thing about moving from Canberra to Adelaide?
Packing up my daughter Amy who was 15 at the time, our pup, and leaving our friends and family on [Australia’s] east coast. I really missed my people. Especially my little niece and nephews. We’ve built our own Adelaide family now though who are very special to us and Amy has flourished with the move. It has been one of the best life opportunities for both of us, and we love the lifestyle.
I was born on the New South Wales South Coast in Kiama so living in a beach suburb in South Australia, back by the water, feels like home for my soul. The character Adelaide offers is also fabulous with all the old buildings and architecture, fantastic concerts and gigs, and how can I not mention the food and wine. I’ve had so much fun living here. South Australia in general is pretty amazing and I’ve enjoyed exploring the state. One the highlights has been road tripping to Port Lincoln, so beautiful!
A beach lover, Zoe enjoys the lifestyle South Australia has to offer.
What has been the highlight for you at Naval Group Australia?
On a personal note, working at Naval Group Australia has grown my confidence and helped me recognise my achievements. I started out in our security team largely on my own; our CEO at the time saw my potential and provided an opportunity expand out of my EA and OE role. I grabbed it with both hands. I worked hard, achieving our DISP accreditation and and implementing Defence Security Policy into our business.
Working alongside the original bid team that secured the Australian Future Submarine Program contract for Naval Group was also a proud moment for me. To have been part of that team was special. It was an honour to have had the opportunity to learn from the team and contribute to it. Those people are a huge part of why I, along with my 200+ teammates, have a job at Naval Group Australia today. The next highlight for me will be watching the first submarine hit the water. “I was there from bid to boat”, that’s what I want to be able to say.
What do you enjoy most about your role, and what do you enjoy most about working at Naval Group Australia?
100% the people. It’s part of my job to be one of the first people our new starters connect with, and I enjoy meeting everyone on their first day. It’s my role to deliver the initial security induction, and more often than not I’m the person that makes sure they’re settled in with a desk afterwards. Being one of our team veterans so to speak, I like being able to welcome our new teammates to the Naval Group Australia family, plus it helps me remember everyone’s name – there are so many of us now!
What would your advice be to people considering coming onboard at Naval Group Australia?
We work extremely hard, things change often, and at times you will feel challenged, but the people are amazing. I’ve never worked with such an awesome group of talented people. They are the reason I come to work every day, and why I give it my all.
What would your advice be to people considering relocating from interstate for a job?
Say yes to everything, be sociable, and get out and about exploring. Also, develop real friendships with co-workers. You generally spend more time with your colleagues than anyone else initially. I have made a great professional network who I know will be there for me if I need a hand. I have also created an Adelaide family amongst some of the interstater’s, the “interstate blow-in” family we call it, and we are each other’s biggest supporters, we have games nights and even do Christmas together!
In what ways would you describe Naval Group as a career for life?
The opportunities are endless and exciting. I started out as the Executive Assistant and Office Manager and now I am an accredited and accomplished Security Officer. I have really enjoyed putting my talents to use in security – I get to work with so many areas of our business and with so many people. But who knows, maybe I’ll look at one of those welding apprenticeships next? (laughs). The options are as few or as many as you choose them to be, and this project will be going strong for 50 years.