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Unique Coalition Helps Veterans Transition to Civilian Life

When someone enlists in the military, they know their time in uniform will test them in ways they may never have imagined. Military service can be equal parts dangerous and demanding, but successfully transitioning from military service back to civilian life can also present challenges. There are more than 600,000 veterans in Australia1each bringing unique and special skills with them. Many of them may find themselves asking, “What now?” and wonder how they can successfully convert their military experience to civilian jobs. 
Easing the transition to civilian life is just one of the ways contracted provider Talent Solutions Right Management assists with supporting members transition from the Australian ArmyRoyal Australian Navy (RAN), and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).That is the subject of Season 2, Episode 14’s episode of the Transform Talent Podcast, “Veteran and Military Career Transition with the Australian Defence Force & the Australian Veterans Employers Coalition.”   

Stumbling Across a Unicorn 
Speaking with hosts Roberta Cucchiaro and Dominika GałusaKim Mills, acting Director of the Transition Coaching and Support Directorate within the Defence Member and Family Support Branch of the ADF, says one of the challenges is assisting  members understand how valuable the knowledge, skills and attributes they acquired throughout their military career is, and how that can contribute to the civilian work environment. 

“Things like leadership skills, time management skills, teamwork, resilience, endurance, loyalty, respect, dedication, focus and thriving under pressure are attributes that civilian employers are looking for these days,” says Mills. “To find all of the knowledge, skills and attributes veterans have, all neatly packaged up in one individual, is like stumbling across a unicorn.” 

As part of the support ADF provides, each transitioning member is paired with a qualified Defence transition coach who works with them and their family to develop a tailored transition plan. Defence transition coaches refer members to Right Management for professional, one on one career coaching, job search preparation and support from a team of employment specialists.  

Building a Coalition  
Whilst those unicorns are out in the wild, connecting employers to them was proving to be a challenge for many companies. What needed to happen was the creation of a consortium of like-minded private employers, thus the Australian Veterans Employers Coalition (AVEC) was born in 2017.  

Meredith Wilson, former chair and now special advisor to AVEC, explains AVEC’s mission is to take Australian employers of all shapes and sizes from simply being veteran-friendly to veteran-ready. 

“There was no one helping the private sector or employers translate the military skills into corporate speak or into their role requirements. The idea was that the employers that were a bit more advanced on the journey would be able to share their lessons, promote the benefits of hiring veteran talent, and actually connect veteran talent with veteran-friendly employers,” Wilson says. “What we've done is actually capture that in a portal. So, it was really helping to just take that bridge one step further and actually articulate and match those skills with the role requirements of employers who were looking for talent.” 

Purpose-driven Career Support 
Helping to build that bridge is the Defence Force Transition Program that supports members develop their future career and employment opportunities outside Defence. The goal is a role or career pathway that matches desire and capability. An especially valued program called Transition for Employment or T4E, supports those members with significant complexity to their transition. It’s a program that Talent Solutions Right Management Account Director Susan Cummins says is deeply personal to everyone involved. 

 “We celebrate every time someone lands meaningful engagement, and we keep using that term because full-time employment may not always be the goal. The goal is about purpose. It is about being meaningfully engaged and wanting to be ready in whatever form that looks like in your post-Defence career,” says Cummins. “We've taken very much the view in Right Management that this particular cohort, they were often injured or wounded whilst they were serving, so it's been our real honor to serve them as they find what's next for them that's going to make their heart sing. It really is deeply special to our whole team, as it is for every member and partner who receives career support.” 

To hear more of the conversation, listen to the Transform Talent Podcast episode “Veteran and Military Career Transition with the Australian Defence Force & the Australian Veterans Employers Coalition”.