Shoal 20 years in 2021: making sense of a changing world

Shoal 20 years in 2021: making sense of a changing world

Thank you for joining us to celebrate Shoal 20 years in 2021: making sense of a changing world. Please fill out our survey so that we can make next year’s event even better.

As we reflect on the past 20 years, we invite you to learn more about Shoal and how systems thinking will take us into the future.

By partnering with you, Shoal Group expands our workforce to maximise our ability to meet specialty support requirements and our flexibility to meet customer needs.

To our partnership, we bring excellence in Capability Design, passion and significant expertise in Digital Engineering, and access to defence, space and transport sectors.

The team at Shoal deliver when things get complex – our customers’ projects often have several moving pieces that are interrelated and technically challenging. We know that systems in the real world are as much about the human element as the technical – so we help combine the people, processes, and technology needed to address the identified problem, and deliver the right outcomes.

We have Australia’s highest number of SEP Certified Systems Engineers and are world leaders in conceptual design of complex systems using Model-based Systems Engineering (MBSE). Shoal supports the entire spectrum of complex engineering activities, from concept to disposal.

Our advantage

Our clients operate in advanced technological fields, and seek to implement solutions that are invariably complex, and need to maintain relevance across an extended timeframe. Shoal has been supporting the defence and space sectors since we were founded 20 years ago and more recently, have been supporting transport and infrastructure.

We invest in our people and our capability. Shoal was built on a culture of thought leadership and engineering excellence.

It’s core to our staff’s professional development. We encourage and support critical and creative thinking and its progression into thought leadership.

We actively support and drive best practice via meaningful engagement with professional communities.

Delivering to these markets

With your help, we are trusted to analyse complex situations and problems and help you to understand and find solutions for these industries.

Transport and Infrastructure
Defence and Space

WHAT has changed in 2021?

Our team

With a team distributed across Australia and New Zealand, Shoal has been supporting clients to clearly define the complex problems they are facing and design solutions.

Shoal currently employs close to 100 full-time staff and maintains a network of more contractors maximising our ability to meet specialty support requirements and our flexibility to meet customer needs.

Shoal Locations

Shoal locations in Australia and New Zealand


Our team are in Adelaide (HQ), Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland.

Our growing supply chain now represents well over 100 companies across Australia, as well as New Zealand, the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and South Africa!

Blue Water

Our Innovation Program operates as a separate business line. Blue Water enables and encourages all staff to put ideas through the accelerator program. Our vision is that Shoal will be a flourishing innovation capability solving complex problems.

One of Blue Water’s focus areas is the AI revolution, and what AI means to us today and tomorrow. Some of the current applications include:

  • Natural Language Processing: Which mimics the capability to understand speech and text
  • Machine Learning: Which mimics the capability to learn from experiences and data which focuses on the use of data and algorithms to imitate the way that humans learn, gradually improving its accuracy.
  • Computer Vision: Which mimics the ability to recognise images and classify objects
  • Data Mining: Which mimics the ability to discover patterns in large data sets.

Machine Learning is a technology that is likely to be pervasive in all aspects of Shoal’s business.

Read more about the AI revolution, from Shoal’s Chief Engineer, Kevin Robinson

Realising a National Resilience Framework

We set out on the path to ‘Reframe our future’, as a way to step out of the Australian response to the Coronavirus Pandemic of ‘damage control’ and bring a perspective on reframing the discussion to build national resilience. Damage control has been an important step, but it has accentuated the fragility of our economy, our sectors, supply chains, health system, border security and sovereignty. It has also highlighted another key aspect; that is, the interrelationships between each element of a resilient society. Each of these elements are a system within themselves and none of these systems are discrete. They are, in fact, a ‘system of systems’; which is where Systems Engineers can make a real contribution to enable strategy and support change. By modelling the systems and their interrelationships, we can integrate and analyse information across multi-disciplinary domains to inform decision making and enable strategy.

Read more from Shoal’s Chief Engineer, Kevin Robinson.

Sovereign missile capability

What is sovereignty in the defence industry? Definitely one of 2021 most discussed topics in defence. Our Head of Strategy recently contributed to an ASPI article, The Strategist.

It’s about addressing the capabilities and undertaking the industrial activities that mitigate the strategic risks that we cannot accept as a nation. The level of acceptable risk will depend in turn upon the level of the assessed threat. And countries such as Sweden have long adopted a policy of defence export in order to offset the domestic costs.

Read more from Shoal’s Head of Strategy, Graeme Dunk


An emerging industry in Australia from a civil and defence lens. The Australian Space Agency released the Australian Civil Space Strategy 2019–28 and Defence released the Defence Strategic Update on 1 July 2020.

The Defence Strategic Update builds on the development of the Australian Space Agency and underscores the Government’s commitment to Defence’s space capabilities. Areas of opportunity are all around us, with Defence’s commitment to enhance our sovereign capabilities to assure our access to space with plans for communications satellites and ground control stations under sovereign Australian control which will provide opportunities for Australian companies like Shoal.

We have had a decade of experience in space, leading the development of the early-stage design and contributed to design and development for some of Australia’s largest and most complex systems. From contributing to the design of a nano-sat for high-quality communications service for the Antarctic Broadband program, to ensuring the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) Hayabusa Spacecraft returned to Earth safely, Shoal has broad and deep coverage in the Australian Space sector.

Read more about Shoal and the space industry.

Transport and Infrastructure

Federal and state governments across Australian and New Zealand have made infrastructure a cornerstone of the economic response to the pandemic and there is a significant amount of major projects in construction or in early stages across the region.

Our Transport & Infrastructure team are actively supporting the development of many of these. From the Byford Rail Extension in Perth to the mega Sydney Metro project and the Inter-island Resilience Connection project (iReX) in New Zealand our T&I team have been solidifying their reputation as a partner to our clients and as expert Systems Engineering and Systems Assurance provider.

Read more about Shoal in transport and infrastructure.

SME Business of the Year

Australian Space Awards winner

Shoal won the Small to Medium Enterprise Business of the Year at the 2021 Space Connect Australian Space Awards.

Celebrating the best of the best in Australia’s space industry, the Awards recognised the outstanding contribution of professionals and businesses working within the industry across 17 categories. Shoal was a finalist in four other categories, including Rising Star, Graduate, Engineer, and Defence Business of the year.

Shoal actively and passionately supports Australia’s space economy. Since 2001 we have been enabling Australian space launches, researching international approaches, exploring opportunities, and revolutionising the digital transformation in space systems engineering.

Read more about Shoal’s Australian Space Award.

Graduate Program of the Year

Shoal won the Graduate Program of the Year at the inaugural Space Connect Australian Space Awards in 2020.

Shoal was a finalist in five other categories, including Business, Executive, Graduate, Engineer, and Defence Business of the year.

Our graduate program aims to attract, recruit, develop and retain a team aligned with Shoal’s values and equipped to deliver excellence to clients and business partners across the space sector. It begins well before formal employment, with responsibility for delivery spread across our team, who support and deliver across People & Culture, Programs, Marketing and Leadership.

Systems Engineering Professional certification

The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) is the world’s leading professional society promoting the systems engineering profession. INCOSE offers Systems Engineering Professional (SEP) certification to recognise individual competency through demonstrated knowledge, education, and experience. Shoal invests heavily in SEP certification and currently employs the most SEP-certified systems engineers in Australia.

To ensure we are capturing opportunities where you may want to work with us, and so that we can make next year’s event even better. We would appreciate a few minutes of your time to fill in our short survey.