The federal government will contribute $45,000 a head for West Australian students to undergo a "taster" course designed to channel them into the defence industry.
The $10 million program announced on Saturday will provide high school graduates with a fully funded 12-month traineeship.
The Defence Industry Pathway Program has been developed in partnership with WA's South Metropolitan TAFE and the state's maritime defence industry.
It is expected to support 120 students by mid-2022, with the first cohort of 20 set to begin next month.
Canberra's contribution will fund wages, ongoing costs and uniforms, including safety footwear.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price says like investments in Defence projects will create 1000 jobs across the nation in the naval shipbuilding industry by 2023.
"With the increasing demand for workers in the shipbuilding industry in Western Australia, the maritime defence industry needs to grow its workforce," she said.
"We must attract and retain the next generation of designers, engineers, scientists and technical tradespeople."
The program is open to WA school leavers who have completed Year 12.
While the pilot will take place in and around the Australian Marine Complex in Henderson, it could be adapted for implementation in other Defence industry sites across Australia.
Australian Associated Press