14 July, 2021
Signalling a bright future
Victoria Takai had always wanted to join the Australian Army, so at 18 years old when she was offered a management role at a food retail company in Cairns, she knew she was at a crossroads for a career decision.
That was six years ago, and the now 24-year old has since joined one of the Army’s advanced information and communication systems team - the Signallers.
As part of her role as a Communication Systems Operator, Corporal Takai manages cutting-edge technology such as satellite terminals and advanced security equipment to provide military communications across a range of different networks around the world.
She says that no day in signals is ever the same, and her career has included an attachment to an amphibious infantry battalion as a part of the whole of Defence amphibious training across land and sea.
This contributed to her desire to work in more complex roles within the Battlespace Communication Specialist field, where she is trained in tactical and voice and data communications, advanced field antenna construction, network security and specialised software applications.
Early this year, Corporal Takai posted to C Company, 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment at Sarpeye Barracks on Thursday Island – returning to country.
“For some people, posting to the Torres Strait is considered a remote location but I was born on Thursday Island and felt so fortunate to come home and be a part of protecting the Torres Strait, in addition to spending time with my family,” Corporal Takai said.
Corporal Takai identifies as both an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman and is one of just seven full-time staff on the Island, amongst the one hundred personnel within the sub-unit. More than 90 per cent of the team are from the region.
In addition to the duties expected of her rank and trade, she is required to operate dislocated from the nearest signal support, in the complex and culturally diverse area of the Torres Strait.
She also assists in remote Indigenous community engagement and recruiting operations and thinks that her previous success in retail has helped her readily build rapport.
“At one point in high school I was working three jobs while studying,” she said.
“I switched to full-time in food retail when I finished, and at 18 when they offered me a management role, it gave me a choice to continue down that path or try something different and join the Australian Defence Force.”
That decision paid dividends and she is now the Signals Capability Manager to the only Australian Army sub-unit that shares an international border. Corporal Takai is responsible for the establishment, maintenance and operation of a communication network ranging from Cairns to the Papua New Guinea border.
Corporal Takai also assists with the mentoring other Army members by providing training and instruction ranging from basic soldier skills, individual weapons handling, operating and maintaining communication equipment, as part of the Regional Force Surveillance Unit.
To find out more about joining the Army as a Communications Systems Operator, visit www.defencejobs.gov.au/jobs/army/communication-systems-operator or call 13 19 01.