Opportunities for Education, Small Business, Startups and Scaleups with AUKUS

When you have parents who are Londoners and 10-pound POMS the connection to the UK is tangible, and with recent trips to the USA exploring sister city connections the AUKUS deal makes sense, especially because Adelaide’s sister city Austin in Texas, has another sister city which is London.

AUKUS (Australia, UK, and USA) is a trilateral security partnership that focuses on defence and security cooperation among the three countries. While the primary focus of AUKUS is on military and defence aspects, it can indirectly create opportunities for small businesses and education as well.

Let’s explore what those opportunities might be…


With the AUKUS deal there has been much focus on the defence sector and nuclear-powered submarines, at least three – from the US, with cutting-edge tech, including UK-made Rolls-Royce reactors, so potential benefits from increased demand include:

Logistic Support – Efficient logistics and transportation services with businesses involved in logistics, warehousing, transportation, and distribution.

Subcontracting Opportunities – Larger defence contractors and suppliers subcontracting portions of their projects to smaller businesses.

Supply Chain Collaboration – Fostering closer collaboration among supply chain stakeholders involved in defence-related industries, such as component manufacturers, suppliers, and subcontractors.

And you could very well be in the defence supply chain as an SME for subs and defence, which is a massive opportunity, plus there are many more possibilities in education and workforce, export, trades, innovation, tech, services, small business, startups and scaleups.

Education and Workforce

When it comes to education and workforce there are almost endless opportunities addressing labour and skills shortages so consider:

Defence-Related Programs and Courses – With the focus on defence capabilities and advanced technologies, security, international relations and even though the countries are English speaking, there are cultural differences.  Schools, Higher Education institutions, and VET providers can consider developing programs tailored to the needs of the defence sector, such as cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, aerospace engineering, and cyber security.

Funding and Grants – AUKUS could lead to increased funding and grants for educational institutions involved in defence-related research, innovation, cultural exchange and training for schools, universities, and VET providers with collaboration across countries, cities and regions.

Industry Currency, Engagement and Partnerships – Facilitating closer engagement between educational institutions and the defence sector, startups and scaleups – schools, universities, and VET providers can establish partnerships, advisory boards, or industry forums to foster collaboration, curriculum development, and aligning education programs with industry needs.

International Collaboration and Exchanges – Promoting international collaboration and exchanges among educational institutions in Australia, the UK, and the USA including action learning projects, student exchanges, joint programs, faculty exchanges, and sharing of best practices in education and training.

Internships and Work Experience – Opportunities for students to gain practical experience through internships and work placements via industry sector and international projects, providing valuable hands-on learning opportunities and potential pathways to future employment and/or entrepreneurship.

Research and Innovation Collaboration – Increased collaboration and knowledge exchange between universities and research institutions in Australia, the UK, and the USA, leading to joint research projects, sharing of expertise, and opportunities for academics and researchers to collaborate.

Training and Skills Development – Acute need for apprenticeships and traineeships, supporting women in male dominated trades businesses, and specialised training in areas like advanced manufacturing techniques, cybersecurity, equipment maintenance, workplace health and safety.

Skill Development and Training – Demand for specialised skills and 21st Century literacies, develop innovative training programs, microcredentials and courses to upskill or reskill individuals interested in pursuing careers in difference industries.

Educational institutions should stay informed about any relevant announcements, engage with defense-related organisations, UK and USA based institutions, and collaborate with industry stakeholders to identify and seize potential opportunities.


Export markets will open up for just about anything and everything on the back of this relationship for example:

Export and International Trade – The partnership could potentially facilitate increased international trade and export opportunities for small businesses with a need for goods and services that can be exported to partner countries, especially for businesses in education, manufacturing, engineering, technology, trades and services.

Collaboration and Networking – Encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing among businesses, associations, Chambers of Commerce and industries in Australia, the UK, and the USA, benefitting from networking, partnerships, delegations and information sharing platforms that emerge as a result of this trilateral partnership.

Tourism and Visitor Economy

Travelling for business and/or pleasure there are endless opportunities in tourism and the wider visitor economy, conferences and events, festivals and sports, nature and wellbeing, food and beveragesa, arts and culture, health and beauty, accommodation and transport… the list goes on with many crossovers with an early example being the FIFA Women’s World Cup with matches where England, USA and/or Australia are playing.  Designing interesting, fun and unique experiences, for many more businesses that have something to offer but may not yet identify as being in ‘tourism’ will be a key to success,


In high demand already, AUKUS will create opportunities for trades such as

  • Building and construction, electrical work, plumbing, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning), and project management.
  • Maintenance and support services with the need for maintenance, repair, and support services for defense equipment, vehicles, and installations, maintenance, mechanical services, equipment repair, and technical support
  • Security and Surveillance Systems as there is growing demand for advanced security and surveillance systems; installation, maintenance, and servicing of security systems, access control, CCTV (closed-circuit television), and new discovery technologies.
  • Technology integration focused on development and deployment of advanced technologies, specialising in technology integration, networking, telecommunications, and IT services.

What can you do now?

It’s important to note that the specific opportunities will depend on various factors, including the nature of your small business, its capabilities, location, and the evolving priorities and policies of the AUKUS partnership.

Monitoring government announcements, industry updates, and engaging with relevant business associations can help you stay informed about potential opportunities that arise from AUKUS.

Start with getting your ducks in a row outlining your capability statement, resumes and bios in a consistent format for your team, exploring potential partners, updating your website to reflect your current and aspirational capabilities, internationalising your blogs and social media posts.

If you are looking to understand what the opportunities might be for you, your industry sector, members and/or region, please get in touch with Wendy Perry via wendy@workforceblueprint.com.au.

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