Although your defence force career may be over, your potential for contribution should not be underestimated. The skills and training obtained through the ADF are many and varied – from organisation and discipline, to problem solving and project management and so much more. Ex-defence force personnel have much to contribute to the workforce, with businesses much better informed about this today and more willing to consider veterans for employment.

Many who make the transition from the ADF to civilian life are seeking new versions of their career elsewhere, or brand new careers altogether. If this is you, or someone you know, we have put together a few tips to help you discover and pursue your employment goals for life after service.

1. Contextualise your skills with the ADF Transition and Civil Recognition Project (ADF TCR)

Overseen by the Department of Defence, the ADF TCR Project’s core function is to contextualise military skills and training to civilian employers. The term Recognition of Prior (RPL) learning is a familiar one to many and the project aims to make sure that your training undertaken with the ADF fulfils the requirements of the nationally recognised accreditation for the skill. Also that your skills can be transferred and recognised in the civilian context. Basically, that the employers see you are competent to do the job, despite not having done that job in a ‘normal’ role (outside of the ADF) in the past. Review your PMKeyS ‘ADO Service Record’ for the training and qualifications you received during service and then contact the ADF TCR Project for more information.

2. Get support through Engage Connect

The Australian Department of Defence’s online portal Engage Connect is a search engine of sorts for ADF members and their families to find support services in their area. Specifically, there is an Employment Services section that lists a range of services – from resumé writing, ADF transition support and partner employment, to job placements, Recognition of Prior Learning services and referrals.

3. Lifelong career planning and support with Soldier On

With specialist veteran and family support officers on staff, Soldier On is focussed on providing assistance specific to employment and education. As well as assisting you with resume writing and job applications, they have a veteran specific job board through careerone. In recognition of the unique needs of veterans, Soldier On is engaged with industry to develop more flexible recruiting options, such as internships and work placement and training, as part of their support for the Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Initiative (see next point). If you aren’t seeking paid employment, Solider On is also coordinating volunteer opportunities and programs to enable Ex-servicemen and women to continue to engage with the community, learn new skills and stay well. Best of all - they offer lifelong support to veterans.

4. Serving the community through a role in the public sector

The Victorian State Government launched the Public Sector Veterans Employment Strategy in 2017, to assist ex-servicemen and women with life after service. In March 2019, the original goal was tripled, with a new target set for 2021 of employment of 750 veterans under the strategy. The strategy provides pathways for veterans to find employment, with a focus on those looking for work in the Victorian public sector. The strategy is an entry point to a diverse range of jobs across government departments, public health, education, emergency services, water and land management, arts, finance and transport. When applying for a public sector roles you need to self-identify as a veteran on the application to ensure you are recognised as such during the selection process. So far almost 300 veterans have found gainful employment through the strategy.

5. Advancing your partner’s career through the ADF PEAP program

Specific to transitioning personnel who have left the ADF due to health reasons, or on medical grounds, the Partner Employment Assistance Program (PEAP) funds initiatives that help partners of ADF personnel seeking employment. If you have left the ADF on medical grounds, the responsibility for the primary income of the household may shift to your partner. Eligible partners can apply for funding that covers a range of initiatives that assist in them re-entering the workforce. This might cover professional registrations, resumé and job interview preparation services, or job search training programs, as examples.

If you need further advice or assistance, or are experiencing hardship and not finding the support you need, you can also contact us on (03) 9629 2648 at Carry On Victoria and find out how we can help you.