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From Saab scholarship recipient to Hardware Engineer, Sonia’s journey with Saab

Growing up on a family farm in the Barossa Valley, Sonia moved to Adelaide to commence university and settled into student life. Becoming the recipient of the Saab Scholarship for tertiary students took Sonia down a dynamic early career pathway that may not have been possible anywhere else and allowed her to stay near the community she loves. 


During the second year of her studies in Engineering at the University of Adelaide, one of Sonia’s lecturers encouraged students to apply for one of Saab’s Scholarship.

Open to tertiary students studying Software Engineering, Computer Science, Computer Systems, Networking, IT, Electrical/Electronics Engineering, Mechanical/Mechatronics Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, Science or Cyber Security, recipients receive financial assistance, access to a Saab mentor and a potential fast track into the Saab Internship and Graduate Program. 
She applied for the scholarship hoping to help balance the costs of living out of home whilst studying a Bachelor of Engineering (Electrical and Electronic) at the University of Adelaide.

“After finishing year 12, I jumped straight into Uni, so I moved to the big smoke of Adelaide.” She laughs. “I was living in a boarding college whilst I was studying and during that time, one of my Uni lecturers posted that the Saab scholarships are open for applications and encouraged us to apply if we wanted to. So I thought, okay, that sounds like a good idea, I'll fill out the application form and put that in, and I was lucky enough to get one!”

Being awarded the Saab scholarship whilst still studying forged the path for her to accelerate her career as an engineer and work on a variety of projects she never thought possible.

Becoming the recipient of the Saab Scholarship subsequently allowed her entry into the Saab internship program where she worked for 12 weeks on a live project. 

Describing her first day at Saab, Sonia says “the internship was my first real work experience. It was daunting but valuable. Fortunately, my manager and the team were incredibly welcoming and encouraging”.

Saab were so impressed with Sonia, they kept her on after the internship and offered her a casual role, two days per week, while she completed her university studies. Whilst working casually, she was then offered a full-time role in the Saab graduate program that commenced in the new year.

Sonia gladly accepted the graduate position and the closer she came to finishing her degree, the more the impact Saab had on her life sank in. Sonia describes it as a “huge relief to already have had a graduate job lined up while at university”.  

Sonia soon found that rather than spending precious downtime trying to find a graduate job, she could focus on her studies and enjoy her two days a week working at Saab. This allowed her to apply her university-acquired knowledge and gain as much real-world experience as possible. 

After concluding the two year rotation in the Graduate Program, she was recently promoted and is now a Hardware Engineer in the Naval Combat Systems division. Thanks to the scholarship, Sonia seamlessly moved from university to full-time employment.

Saab’s commitment to helping staff maintain work-life balance extends greatly to interns and the youngest staff members who are still finding their way in the world. “I found I could balance study, work, and socialising with uni friends pretty easily. I found that I had more time than my other friends who were job hunting,” Sonia says.  

“It’s been amazing to enter the workforce with a great job, earlier,” says Sonia. 

Sonia is grateful to Saab for helping her build a sense of community in the city. “I love going back home to the Barossa, spending time with family and friends and picking up my old hobbies on the family farm. It is such a tight-knit community in the Barossa and I thought I would struggle moving to the city. But the support from the people and leaders at Saab have all been fantastic.” 

Saab offering three scholarship opportunities to help support students entering the engineering industry.

Click here to learn more about the Saab scholarship or early careers at Saab.  

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