Buy right – Naval Shipbuilding College

Buy right

Monday, November 16, 2020



William Dawson has worked as Senior Purchasing Officer at Naval Group Australia since 2019.


Purchasing Officers play a crucial role in sourcing Australian suppliers, they help drive sound commercial outcomes through planning, sourcing and the ongoing management of stakeholder supplier activity and relationships.


Responsibilities can include identifying potential Australian suppliers which have the capability to manufacture or supply required project components.


Maintaining routine stock inspections, recording inventory and possessing a strong knowledge of the current market as well as having excellent verbal and written communications skills are often essential elements in this role.



Overview of your role


My role is Senior Purchasing Officer within the (Platform) Procurement Team at Naval Group Australia. Our team is primarily responsible for identifying potential suppliers in Australia who possess the capability to manufacture or supply one (or more) of the approximately one million different components that will make up the Attack Class submarines. I am responsible for the procurement of standard equipment.



How did you get to where you are today?


After completing high school I was accepted into the University of Adelaide to study a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Politics and International Studies). I transitioned out of the legal industry into the Defence industry with Raytheon Australia as part of the Contracts and Supply Chain team, working on the Air Warfare Destroyer and Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessels programs before joining Naval Group Australia in July 2019.



What do you love about your job?


I am extremely fortunate to work within a rapidly expanding team made up of some of the most experienced procurement professionals in the Defence industry. Each person brings with them a wealth of knowledge that I am able to tap into and learn from, and not only are they willing to share their experience, they relish the opportunity to mentor those of us in the earlier stages of our careers. This has not only been valuable for my own career development, but also an exceptional experience. Being a member of a high-performing team with great mentors  is what I always hoped for in my career.



Why did you choose a career this field?


Initially, the decision to work in the Defence procurement sector was driven by a desire to see what happens after a contract is signed. However, when I moved into this field it became clear to me that a lot of the skills I had acquired throughout my past experiences were directly transferable and could be successfully applied within the field of procurement.


I didn’t choose a direct pathway into a procurement role after I graduated from university, probably because there wasn’t a lot of information about careers in naval shipbuilding at that time.


However, this is changing very quickly with the new era of job opportunities for Australians created by the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise. It took some time to get here, but I can safely say I am very glad that I have ended up working in the field of procurement.



What skills are required in your position?


Strong interpersonal and problem solving skills as well as a strong level of commercial acumen is beneficial in a role where you are identifying potential Australian suppliers that have the capability to manufacture or supply required project components for the Attack Class Submarines.



Why did you decide to work for Naval Group Australia?


The Future Submarine Program is the largest defence acquisition in Australia’s history and presents an unprecedented opportunity for collaboration and development with Australian industry. Working at Naval Group Australia in the procurement team I am at the forefront of this complex national endeavour. It is also an incredible opportunity to play a small part in keeping Australian safe for future generations.


If you or someone you know are interested in knowing more about the job opportunities in Australia’s Naval Shipbuilding Industry – from trades to PhDs – join the NSC’s national Workforce Register, so we can connect your with one of our Candidate Engagement Consultants for your confidential career conversation.

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