When Rathna Bandutunga left Sri Lanka for Australia, she never expected to find a successful and rewarding career in Defence.

It wasn’t easy though. 

Previously a photogrammetry technician who developed contour maps from aerial photographs, Ms Bandutunga had to adapt to secure a job in Australia. 

While raising a young family, she studied business administration and information technology full-time to forge a new career path.

Finding a permanent role was proving tough, despite her dedication and tenacity.

After further study at TAFE, Ms Bandutunga volunteered at Questacon, the National Science and Technology Centre, and then worked at the Canberra Institute of Technology library.

Her diligence did not go unrewarded; Ms Bandutunga was offered a temporary job in Defence in an administrative role in 2004. 

After undertaking further selection, she won a permanent position as a data controller in Maritime Systems Division. 

With her new career well underway, Ms Bandutunga was soon presented with the chance to undertake the Trainee Scheduler Program. 

This opportunity would come to define her career and allow her to rise to the executive level in Defence as a project scheduler.

Project scheduling is an essential element for the successful delivery of any project or product. 

Scheduling provides an overall picture of the project’s status and helps to guide stakeholders, teams and the project manager through the various capability life cycle stages.

Scheduling provides a disciplined approach to delivering tasks in a sequenced order, to ensure the project is delivered within schedule, cost and scope.

Ms Bandutunga said it was a dynamic and technically challenging career but one that has many rewards.

“It is a role that gives you a sense of achievement – you go to work to achieve a goal, which can be very challenging sometimes, but we always work as a team to hit those key milestones,” she said.

Schedulers are required to develop a strong, trusting relationship with their stakeholders. 

“Being technically inclined, a team player and a forward-thinker will give you the opportunity to deliver and sustain Australian Defence Force systems that are at the leading edge of Defence capability,” she said.

Ms Bandutunga works on some of the largest and most complex acquisition projects under the Naval Shipbuilding Plan. 

This is the largest capital investment in Australia’s history, which, through builds of advanced naval vessels, will grow a sovereign shipbuilding capability.

This endeavour requires consistent long-term planning, decision-making and proficient project schedulers to achieve a sustainable naval shipbuilding industry, infrastructure and workforce.

To find out more about a career as a project scheduler, visit the Defence careers' website.