Season 2, Episode 14: Veteran and Military Career Transition with the Australian Defence Force & the Australian Veterans Employers Coalition
Each year, the Australian Department of Defence supports around 5,500 permanent Australian Defence Force (ADF) Members transition to civilian life. As many organizations find veterans to be some of the best hires due to their ability to collaborate, problem-solve and thrive under pressure, we ask what initiatives, support mechanisms and programs can be put in place to help veterans and military to not only transition to a civilian life, but also to translate the skills learned during military service to a civilian job.
We are joined by Kim Mills, A/g Director of Transition Coaching and Support within the Defence Member and Family Support Branch of the Australian Department of Defence, Meredith Wilson, Special Advisor of the Australian Veterans Employers Coalition (AVEC) and Cultural Strategist, Executive Coach & Mentor, and Susan Cummins, Account Director of Talent Solutions Right Management, to learn from those who are leading the way for Australian organizations committed to improving employment outcomes for transitioning service members, job-seeking veterans and their partners.
Hosts: Roberta Cucchiaro and Dominika Gałusa
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Intro (00:01): The future of work and the future for workers is changing. From new technologies and talent strategies, to the management of tomorrow's workforce, tap in to ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions' 60 years of expertise and join us for the Transform Talent Podcast, your guide to talent market trends, new technologies and winning talent solutions.
Roberta Cucchiaro (00:31): Hi, and welcome to the 14th episode of the Transform Talent Podcast. This is Roberta Cucchiaro…
Dominika Galusa (00:38): … and Dominika Galusa. For today's episode, we are traveling to Australia, and we will talk about the Australian Defence Force, which we refer to as ADF, and the Australian Veterans Employers coalition. We will be talking about the Australian Department of Defence's journey supporting 5,500 permanent ADF members annually as they transition to civilian life, and we will learn about the Transition for Employment, also known as T4E program.
Roberta Cucchiaro (01:10): And we will touch upon the challenges that ADF members face when transitioning to civilian life and the value of their experience. As many organizations find veterans to be some of the best hires due to their ability to collaborate, problem-solve and thrive under pressure, we ask how all these programs have helped ADF members to not only transition to civilian life, but also to translate the skills learned during military service to a civilian job. So for this episode, we're very excited to be joined by Kim Mills, who's Acting Director of Transition Coaching and Support within the Defence Member and Family Support Branch of the Australian Department of Defence. Welcome, Kim, to the podcast.
Kim Mills (01:55): Thank you so much. It's lovely to be here.
Roberta Cucchiaro (01:55): Lovely to have you here. And we are also joined by Meredith Wilson, former Chair and now special advisor of the Australian Veterans Employer Coalition, also know AVEC, and a cultural strategist, executive coach and mentor. Welcome, Meredith, to the podcast.
Meredith Wilson (02:11): Thank you.
Roberta Cucchiaro (02:12): And Susan Cummins, who's our Account Director at Talent Solutions Right Management, and she's also the link between our organization at ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions and the Australian Defence Force and AVEC. Welcome, Susan, and thank you for bringing us all together.
Susan Cummins (02:27): My pleasure.
Roberta Cucchiaro (02:28): So, we want to start with you Kim first, and I would like to ask you to ... You know, if you can share with us a bit about your career, your link to this topic. And I'm really curious to hear from you, what do you think are the biggest challenges faced by the military wanting to transition to a civilian role?
Kim Mills (02:46): Thanks, Roberta. Well, it's lovely to be here today. A little bit about me. I joined the Department of Defence back in 2017 as an Australian public servant. My role at that point was to assist Defence to design and deliver a program called The Transition for Employment program. And the key focus of that new program was to assist those members medically transitioning with the most complex of psychosocial circumstances into a civilian life many of which would not normally have either established employment or meaningful engagement upon transition.
So, I've been with the Department of Defence now for five years, and over that period of time we have gone through quite a comprehensive transformation in the transition space. And I think that that really started in 2017 and Defence actually recognizes that transition from military service to civilian life can actually be a significant life-changing event, which in itself brings about periods of uncertainty for members and their family. So, Defence recognizing this has over a period of time developed a suite of transition support services that actually assist members based on their individual need.
We started this process in 2017 and underneath the Transition Transformation program. And during this time, Defence actually consulted very widely with not only transitioning members, but former ADF members as well, and also with industry to understand what some of the complexities and challenges were that military members experience as they transition out. A majority of members, I think it's really important to note, do transition our voluntary out of the military, and most have secured employment prior to transition.
However, what we've found is one of the biggest challenges is members understanding the knowledge, skills and attributes that they have acquired throughout their military service, and how that can contribute to the civilian work environment. However, we find that it's the soft skills that really has those military members standing out in the crowd, and things like leadership skills, time-management skills, teamwork, resilience, endurance, loyalty, respect, dedication and focus, and certainly being considered under pressure, really are those attributes that civilian employers are looking for these days. To find all of those skills neatly packaged up in one individual, I think really is like stumbling across a unicorn.
Dominika Galusa (05:30): So, as you mentioned, transitioning to civilian life brings its challenges. But on the other hand, many organizations find veterans to be some of the best hires. As you mentioned, the ability to collaborate, problem solve, and thrive under pressure.
Kim Mills (05:47): Mm-hmm.
Dominika Galusa (05:47): So, I'm just curious to hear a bit more about, you know, how are you teaching veterans to trust their skills learned during military service to a civilian job?
Kim Mills (05:57): So, we have a number of support mechanisms wrapped around members to assist them in translating these, uh, their military skillsets. Each transitioning member is paired with a certificate for a qualified career coach who works with the member and their family in a one-on-one environment to develop a transition plan. And that transition plan is individualized to the member and the family's needs. As part of these coaching sessions, coaches will identify or work with the member to identify their military skillsets and translate these then into industry language. This is also supported by the suite of services provided by Right Management.
In particular, it's about helping members identify civilian career goals, their competency and capability mapping modules, and that takes the member from what they've trained and learned during their military career and aligning that with a civilian employment opportunity that sometimes has the same skills. And we're also now looking at other aspects around meaningful engagement, and sense of purpose and, and what is it that a member loves to do, and can we help them find a civilian equivalent?
Susan Cummins (07:05): Sort of building on that, one of the activities that's frequently undertaken is to participate in an assessment. We use Birkman as the assessment to do that. And that really helps people identify career job families, activities they might like to do, stress behaviors if they need something, and it can really help craft that initial thought and build upon that military career to help really identify what will be the avenues that are really going to make someone's heart sing post their military career. And that's what our coaches work very closely with a member to identify that on a one-on-one basis what is really going to be that unique job, or meaningful engagement that's really going to make the person really happy post their Defence career.
Roberta Cucchiaro (07:52): I'm glad you mentioned the assessment to identify transferable skills, Susan, because this reminds me of the Game to Work campaign for which we won the Shorty Award this year, actually. And with the Game to Work campaign, the ManpowerGroup launched our gaming skills translator in 13 countries. And the purpose of this was to translate people's video gaming experience into soft skills, eventually improving their employability. So it's a great example of how transferable skills are everywhere. So, we were talking about the military and now, you know, it's relevant for gamers as well. And with gaming, it's, uh, it's really interesting, actually. Because we must not forget that in August 2020, video games sales were up 37% year over year. And gaming itself, 75%.
So, this meant that we had a lot of young people during the lockdowns stuck at home, out of a job, and in front of a computer - gaming. And in order to be good at gaming, you need to have a very particular set of soft skills, which can actually really easily translate to the job market. But, you need to be able to identify those skills, you need to be able to understand what you're good at, what you want to do, what you enjoy.
Susan Cummins (09:10): It's interesting that Kim has recently been sharing, what's your game plan? (laughs) And so, there's an interesting link between that. So, it is about helping people be prepared and have a really good game plan when they are planning to transition.
Roberta Cucchiaro (09:24): Absolutely.
Meredith Wilson (09:27): Roberta, I'm glad you clarified that you were talking about video games, because in my head I was thinking Olympic Games.
Roberta Cucchiaro (09:33): Oh (laughs).
Meredith Wilson (09:33): And so, you know, I've done a lot of work, you know, outside of this work, a lot of work identifying transferable skills for athletes, but also a lot of the volunteers who've worked on the Olympic Games and how they will then transition into the workplace. So, I'm glad you clarified video games, because my head went to the Olympic Games.
Roberta Cucchiaro (09:53): That's, that's really interesting, Meredith, and, and also the proof of what I was saying earlier, actually, that transferable skills are everywhere. You just need to be able to connect the dots. So, going back to Kim. Kim, you already shared a bit of background on what the Australian Defence Force is doing, but I'm really interested, and I'm sure our listeners are as well, to understand all the components and mechanisms you have available to offer this support. So, can you tell us a bit more about the Transition Transformation Program, how it's set up, how it works and how it has evolved in the last few years?
Kim Mills (10:31): Yeah. Fantastic, Roberta. Yeah, we've actually had such a wonderful journey over the past four or five years with the Transition Transformation Program. And we commenced to this period of transformation to enhance the support for members and families back in 2017. And this came as, after a period of consultation with veterans and also current serving members and their families at the time. I think it's really important to note though that transformation is not static. We are constantly evolving our programs and responding to not only what industry wants, but also what the needs of the member and the family are as well.
Within those early stages of transformation, we responded very quickly in 2017 with the introduction of inviting families, partners and families to transition sessions as well. Because what we know is that when a member is supported by the family and the partner, that quite often, you know ... I suppose a problem shared is a problem halved as well, but it's about that shared experience through the transition process. And in many instances, the family serves as well. So, we want to make sure that they're supported through the process.
We also stood up a transition or post-transition survey, which at that point was administered by Right Management and Right Management continued to deliver that for us. Initially, that survey was a 12-month survey that we deployed every three months to members after they transitioned. And that became a really rich source of qualitative and quantitative feedback and data for the Department of Defence and it's played a really active role in guiding us as to what members want and where to from here.
The other thing we did really quickly was we stood up a job search preparation workshop. And that workshop was there to support members and their families to establish a career pathway as they were going through a transition. And then finally, we professionalized our workforce by having all of our transition coaches certified into a cert for in career coaching. Now, that was because we actually moved more to a coaching model and moved away from an administrative model, which was previously just a ... I suppose a tick and flick, making sure that members had completed certain tasks. We moved away from that.
In 2018, we, we also undertook a review of the Career Transition Assistance program, which was a range of support available for members. This range of support was actually entitlement-based, so it was based on the years of service a member had rendered. So, the first threshold was 12 years of service and then a member would have access to, you know, CV writing. So, it was based on tiers of years of service. What we actually realized in there, and this was certainly through some of the data that we received back through the post-transition survey, was that the average year of service was between seven and nine years of service.
So, in actual fact, we had a majority of our members transitioning from the military with not a great deal of support. So, this was quite insightful for us. And based on that, we also found that, and through this review, that the support that was available for members as well was limited in its range. Um, and also, because it was delivered by a number of providers, it had varying degrees of, I suppose, quality over those service providers as well. So, by leveraging all of this information, these new findings through this review, we were able to pivot really quickly and respond to what members needed.
And we moved to now what we call the needs-based model. So, regardless of how many years or how many days of service, as long as you have spent one day in uniform, you will get the same amount of support regardless, based on your particular needs. Now, members work with their own transition coach and we work together to develop an individualized career plan and transition plan. So, based on what that member and their family want to achieve post-transition, we're able to customize that. And where our coaches don't necessarily have the the specialist skills to develop those career plans past transition for the member, we actually leverage our contract now with Right Management to deliver those support services.
So, in 2019, Defence realizing that the support range was small, decided to expand that scope of work and approach the market for a single national provider of these services. So, what we wanted to do was actually make sure that regardless of where a member transitioned out of, which part of Australia, or where they were transitioning to, their support services were consistent and they could transition out of, say, Perth, on the West coast of Australia, move to Brisbane on the East coast of Australia, and they wouldn't need to tell their story again to their transition coach. They, there would be a natural handover, or warm handover of their case files. Um, and so, by moving to that single national provider model, we're able to provide that support to members.
We also expanded the range of services. And so, we certainly maintained the job search preparation workshop and we've talked before about the Transition for Employment program, that certainly stayed as well. We also included another program called The Personalized Career Employment program, and that program was for our early leavers, or for those members that are 18 to 30 years old, less than four years of service, administratively or medically transitioning. And it's very similar to T4E, but is a three-month intensive program, and again, supported by the job connection's team at the backend of that. So, certainly about getting members into employment faster.
And then we have the Career Transition Coaching program, which can be delivered as an entire suite of services, or based on the member's need, could be modularized. And I often talk about this as though we're going shopping down the supermarket with a member and based on their need, we're going to take different elements off the shelf to bake the cake, I suppose. So, we look at personality profiling and use the Birkman profile to actually understand a member's sense of purpose and needs and how they like to work and what that civilian career might look like. We have civilian goal-setting, competency and capability mapping, personal branding and marketing, job search skills, interview skills, negotiation skills.
We also have another module called Adjustment Coaching and that actually helps a lot of our military members adjust to a civilian work environment, which sometimes can be a little difficult coming from, you know, an environment where it's very structured and ordered into a civilian work environment, which may be less so. And then we also have modules there as well for those members that might be retiring outside of working.
I think then from there, what we've started to do more recently, 2020, 2021, is we've now started to move into more of a human security aspect. So, we're putting a human security lens over all of the things that we're doing and, and asking ourselves, "Is what we're actually providing considering all of the aspects of overarching wellbeing?" And with that in mind, we're actually now looking at support through seven key factors of housing, health, social connectivity, which we know is very important for members when they transition out. We're also looking at finances, transport, housing, education and meaningful engagement.
And so, when the members work with their transition coaches, and through the support of Right Management, we certainly look at that employment and meaningful engagement and retirement aspect. But where some of the support that is required falls outside of that, the coaches actually leverage other support that is available throughout Defence and through the Defence Member and Family Support Branch to support members. And so, we're thinking about things now like the Australian Defence Force Financial Support Consumer Center, which help members budget and plan for their financial wellbeing and literacy post-transition. We're also looking at health requirements for joint health command and certainly, again, the Australian Defence College with some of that education elements.
Our coaches also work very closely with some of the external agencies very close to us, such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Commonwealth Superannuation corporations as well. And so, the coaches are linking members into the veterans' support officer network around Australia, which helps members with their medical claims. And ultimately, by now moving into this human security framework, the purpose is really to assist the member and their family to take ownership over their transition and help them prepare for and succeed in civilian life.
Roberta Cucchiaro (20:07): Thank you, Kim. That was, actually, a very clear explanation and it helps to understand how inclusive your program is and how it's able to make an impact on all members equally. So, very closely related to this topic, we have the AVEC. The AVEC is the Australian Veterans Employers Coalition. And the AVEC is leading the way for Australian organizations who are committed to improving employment outcomes for transitioning service members, job-seeking veterans, and their partners as well. And AVEC's job portal uses a veteran's profile information to match the military skillset with corporate role requirements and making that link. So, the question is for you, Meredith, as former Chair and now Special Advisor of AVEC, what is the story behind AVEC? What was the idea behind it? How was it created? And how does it work?
Meredith Wilson (21:06): Well, before Kim and the program that she's talking about, commenced. Going back, I don't know, seven or eight years now, I was actually looking to fill a talent hole in one of, one of our businesses’ coal mines in Central Queensland. And we were looking for a workforce that was going to break the mold and bring some different thinking, while also bringing the necessary skills. And so, my leadership team and I had been brainstorming about where we could find this talent that would be safety-oriented, and team-minded, and would appreciate company-provided accommodation, and would consider relocating their families to that part of the world. And we kind of came up with this idea of hiring veterans.
But we then found the process of actually finding veterans and sourcing that talent quite challenging. None of us had any connections to the Defence Force or any veterans ourselves. And so, we really didn't know where the front door was. And in the process of stumbling around looking for the front door, I met a bunch of great people, some of whom were also looking for the front door and some who had the door open and welcomed us in. And so, the group of employers that were looking to hire veterans that I spoke with, we came together in a coalition and we're all private employers. And the employers, there were about 10 on the steering committee and then there's a range of kind of membership options available for organizations depending on their size and scale.
There's some very well known Australian brands around the table. And there's also some less well known brands that are large Australian employers. Uh, and together, we kind of came up with this idea that the Department of Defence were doing a lot of work on improving veteran transition and employment outcomes, and employers were not really ready. They might've been veteran-friendly, but we wanted to help them get to be veteran-ready. And so, we talked about this continuum where employers would move from being veteran-friendly through to veteran-ready. And we did a lot of work initially, career's fairs and the kinds of activities that you might've seen before in trying to kind of engage talent, particularly when it was coming out in large cohorts.
But we wanted to find something that was scalable that would, would support employers across Australia, and also regardless of their size. So, large Australian employers who've got HR and Talent Acquisition teams that could turn up to a seminar and would, could host us all at a careers' events. But, you know, the moment that welder in Tumba, which your listeners may need to Google to find. But it's a long way from many, many places. You know, that they would struggle to actually have representation at some of these kinds of events. And so, how do we make it more accessible for a broader range of employers?
And so, we've created this coalition and 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. And we also identified that it wasn't just veterans or those who were transitioning out of the Defence Force, it was also veterans who were active reservists and so needed to be able to maintain the flexibility of their work with their reserve commitments. And also the families, so the partners and families of currently serving members of the Defence Force who, you know, on a posting cycle, may move from one part of the country to another.
And so, we were looking for employers that could provide portability of roles, so if, you know, one of Australia's largest supermarkets is part of the coalition. And so, if you were working in a store on the West coast and you were transferred to the Southwest of Australia, that you could actually have a seamless or frictionless move and continue your career. So, you know, there was a range of kind of areas that we felt we could add value. There was a lot of work being done, and you said before what, you know, what training are you providing, or assistance are you providing in helping veterans translate skills? What we've done is actually captured that in a portal and it ... There are a lot of people helping veterans translate their skills into civilian or corporate language.
There was no one helping the private sector or employers translate the military skills into corporate speak or into their role requirements. So, it was really helping to just take that bridge one step further to actually articulate and match those skills with the role requirements of employers who were looking for talent.
Dominika Galusa (26:17): Thank you, Meredith, for sharing more background on the AVEC. When thinking about the support given to a job seeker looking to translate their skills into something new, I'm also thinking about the need to support their family members, partners and spouses. Kim already mentioned some of the work that ADF is doing through the Transition Transformation program. And I loved to hear from Susan and you, Meredith, as well, how you incorporate family members into your work.
Susan Cummins (26:50): I think it's really interesting when you talk about partners and how if partners can also be taken care of during that posting cycle, it actually can impact on retention as well and everyone's happiness in the work life that defence and military service sort of provides. So, one of the things that's, uh, I think that ... Well, there's two key things around the program and partners. Um, we will definitely recommend that the partners, spouses put their information onto the AVEC portal, but ... So, that's one very key element. The second element I just wanted to build upon was around the job connections' team. If you were posted to a state you've not lived in before, you don't have family and friends around.
You don't have many connections. Rather than just have a list of veteran-friendly organizations, that team will actively find the unique opportunities that match that partner's career goals and their desires. So, if they want to have a particular role in a particular industry, that team will find all of those warm opportunities and make introductions to those companies. So, it's a very unique service that is provided to partners and spouses and one that's held in quite high regard because they will find opportunities that do not exist otherwise. There are often hidden.
Meredith Wilson (28:08): So valuable, Susan. I should say too that we also offer the service to the children of currently serving Defence Force members.
If you think about teenagers who are looking for, you know, kind of the casual job to supplement their pocket money or whatever that's called these days, we have a number of large retailers who are members of the coalition and they're looking for, you know, kids who are looking for those casual jobs from the age of kind of 14 or 15. And so, we're also supporting the families of those who are currently serving members. So, I think that's really important. We often focus on partners, but actually, you know, as Kim and Susan have said, the, the happiness of the home unit is so vital to sustaining talent in the Defence Force. And so, yes, partners are important, but actually so are the children. So, it's a great sort of talent for those retailers and it’s good continuity for the children as they move around the country.
Roberta Cucchiaro (29:09): Mm-hmm, absolutely. No, that's very, very interesting, actually. And like you said, it's, uh, it helps the whole family be happy with a new move which is already hard by itself. It's great to hear that there is this kind of support for the whole family.
So, I would like to just move a little bit towards, more Susan now. Kim already mentioned it briefly, but, well, a, a successful transition needs the right support, it needs coaching as well. And I know in 2018 we launched the Transition for Employment, which we also call the T4E program and it's a successful transition support program which incorporates both career coaching and specialist employment services, very much, very closely aligned to the ADF members sense of purpose. So, Susan, can you tell us a bit more, what's the story behind the T4E program and how do you link between all of them? So, how do you work together with the ADF and AVEC to address all of the challenges?
Susan Cummins (30:12): I think I would like Kim to start the story about T4E, because it's a ... I think a very deeply personal story that starts with Kim, that then moves very nicely into how Right Management supports and its been very much a partnership with the contract commonwealth provider. We've worked very hard together on delivering really positive outcomes for members who were referred by Defence to Right Management. So, I think we need to cover that first part of the story as to how they do become referred to Right Management. So, Kim, I'm handing that one back to you.
Kim Mills (30:50): Thanks, Sus. Um, so, yes, T4E is, is a deeply personal program for me, something I'm very passionate about and certainly the reason why I came into Defence. I was very fortunate to land into a program, or land into an opportunity with my director and my director general who gave me the creative license to design a program that would take care of our most complex wounded, and ill, and injured members, many of which who would transition from the military medically and would not necessarily find either employment or meaningful engagement post-transition. I think what was really important about that was knowing that employment and meaningful engagement is one of the major contributing factors to overarching wellbeing.
And so, if we can find members an opportunity to reengage back into the social side of, of civilian world, then our outcomes would be far more successful for them. So, the concept around T4E and the design was to move away from the "once a mechanic, always a mechanic" mentality and seek to understand why members originally pull on a uniform and what was that sense of purpose and why, what was the calling to the military to start with. And when a member could no longer do that work in the military, could we possibly find them a civilian equivalent that would bring them that same sense of purpose that their military career once did?
We also decided and designed T4E to support members for up to two years, and this gave members time to plan and work through the process at a pace that was sympathetic to their injuries and illnesses. And noting that this cohort of members had additional complexities in their lives that needed to be managed in addition to the normal transition process. So, yes, very special program. It's been now active since 24th of July, 2018. And I've seen it, deliver such, such wonderful outcomes for members. Maybe we could share some of that a little bit later on.
Susan Cummins (33:08): Well, and I think last week the 245th member landed meaningful engagement. And we celebrate every time someone lands meaningful engagement, and we keep using that term because full-time employment may not be the goal. The goal is about purpose. It is about being meaningfully engaged and wanting to get up pressed and ready in whatever form that looks like in your post-Defence career. It could be volunteering. And in Australia, to volunteer, you are going to need a resume and you're probably going to need to be interviewed. So, there are still those skills that people need to learn about, "How do I explain what I've done? And what is the benefit that I can bring to this organization that I'm going to now be volunteering with or working with, you know, through my retirement? Or it might be, you know, full-time employment that I'm going to be interviewed with as well.”
So, we've taken very much the view in Right Management that this particular cohort, you know, they were often injured or wounded whilst they were serving us, 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? So, it, it really is deeply special to our whole team, as it is for every member and partners who are having career support. But it holds a very special part in my heart and many other people too.
Roberta Cucchiaro (34:34): It's difficult to come after this, Susan. It was beautifully said. But thinking about the journeys of successful member experiences with the program, why don't you share with me the, one successful member experience that really resonates with you?
Susan Cummins (34:52): Well, I think one of them really busted the myth, you know, that, "Once a mechanic, always a mechanic." You know, that everyone assumes that, or you know, "Once you've done this particular role, you can only do this after you've done that particular work." And we had one fellow who was in a hardcore very physical role within the Army and he found his passion and he is making pet accessories. And, he loves it. It, it doesn't reflect, I guess, the day-to-day activity that he did when he serves, but the important thing is he has found his passion and he's thriving whilst he's doing it as well.
So, many a myth has been busted, because there's absolutely no predictor that what your past has said that you've done is going to predict what you're doing in the future. And many stories are very touching and I think we had the 100th person who landed as well, you know ... Said that having the support of his Right Management coach helped him get out of bed every day. And you know you're making a difference to people's lives, but it is very much a joint effort. It is very much from Defence member family services and the transition coaching support that's provided and Right Management. It is a joint effort. So, there's no one taking the crown by themselves there. I just want to make that point very clear.
And then, here the AVEC process, of course, that could be the source of where we're finding what the next meaningful role might be. But the important thing is, it is the member that's at the center of the model. So, if someone calls me and says, "Sus, we'd really like six truck drivers. Can we have six truck drivers?" I will say, "Let's see if anyone wants to be a truck driver." And if that's the case, fabulous. But that's not the angle we're coming from. We're coming from, what is going to make that person's heart sing? And that opportunity may be, might be found through the AVEC portal. It might be something so completely unique and different, that we have to go hunting for that particular unique opportunity for that person?
Roberta Cucchiaro (36:59): Mm-hmm. And it's... the personalization element is key. Every person is different and unique to understand. Like you said, what, what makes their heart sing, um, to each of them.
Dominika Galusa (37:09): Meredith, Kim, Susan, it was, great, you know, to hear about all the programs that you're running, about the amazing work that you've been doing and you will be doing. So, just to close up, I have the final question to all of you. Tell us and the listeners about your proudest memory from the past years as you have been helping thousands of members transition to a new role?
Meredith Wilson (37:34): What I'm proudest of is connecting the veterans who had perhaps a more, you know, maybe a role that might've starred in a movie, people outside of the Defence Force and that realm, but only recognize, so a submarine or a sniper, or an infantry, or artillery, or some of the roles where there isn't a very easy translation into the corporate world. I think when someone is a project manager or they have logistics experience, it's an easier placement to put forward to hiring them and the skills, you know, translation is pretty obvious.
But for those guys and girls that had roles that do not have anything like that available in the corporate world, you know, some of those placements and connections have been the ones that I've really been most proud of. And it required some imagination on the part of the hiring leader or hiring organization, and it required some preparedness to try something new and some courage from the veteran themselves. And so, you know, that's when kind of magic happened is when you can kind of create that connection and that opportunity.
Kim Mills (38:50): I think for me, there's a couple of different aspects that I'm most proud of here. I think certainly the team that I work with on a daily basis. It might sound a little corny, but they are dynamic and they're passionate and they care very deeply about the members and ensuring that those that put a blanket of freedom over us every night are actually taken care of as they transition back into civilian life. I'm also really quite proud of how Defence continues to evolve and we're continuing to address as the challenges and the barriers to transition emerge for members, we're very quick to respond to that and look for ways to reduce risk for members and to support as best we can. And also support families.
So, we've constantly got that continuous improvement lens over everything we do. But I think, for me, the greatest joy is when we have that opportunity to work with members ... And, you know, I've had certainly that for the first 86 members in T4E, to work so closely with them and have some members that had, I suppose, were really challenged with that level of uncertainty around what their next chapter of their life would look like. And when you can talk to them about what support is available to them and how they can actually harness the strength in their military career to have the next chapter of their life. I think when we frame transition as just the next mission, "It's just the next mission," it's really lucky. And it, you know, I find myself very grateful to actually work in that space. You know, it's the cherry on top for me and it's certainly why I get out of bed every day.
Susan Cummins (40:45): And I think it's worth celebrating. The Australian Defence Force has put in place some extraordinary support for the men and women who've served our country as they transition out. I guess I have the great honor of collating every week the stories from our coaches and the diversity of the landings, the stories, the partners, the spouses and the members are landing into post-serving, it's extraordinary. And it's one of the highlights of my week is sending the highlights to Defence and letting them know what the men and women had achieved through their transition program. So, it’s a real highlight for me. It's my career highlight doing this work. As I said before, it's a real honor to be supporting the ADF and the members who've served us.
Roberta Cucchiaro (41:33): That's nice. And I, I think one of the most rewarding experiences I think, can be in life or in career is knowing that what you do makes someone else happy. So, I think that's, you make their life easier, you make them happier, you make their heart sing, like you said, Susan. I think that it's beautiful to hear what all of you are doing and it was a really, really interesting conversation and I have learned a lot, so hopefully our listeners have as well.
So, thank you so much for joining us today on the 14th episode of the Transform Talent podcast. We hope that you enjoyed this episode as much as we did. And to all our listeners, don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review in your favorite podcast listening app. See you at the next episode. Bye-bye.
Outro (42:25): The Transform Talent Podcast, because we know the right talent transforms organizations and helps your business flourish. Talent solutions, business and talent aligned.