NSW has already exceeded a target of putting 1000 veterans into public sector jobs by next year.
The state government’s veterans’ employment program has placed 1200 former service personnel in NSW government jobs since 2018.
At the time, the program had aimed to place 1000 veterans in public service jobs by 2023. But the opposition now claims the target was set too low as the number of veterans in the state rises.
The program facilitates the NSW Office for Veterans’ Affairs to work with public sector managers and veterans to understand how defence force skills and experience are compatible with the state’s public service.
Leading Aircraftman Todd Robinson, one veteran to benefit from the program after serving in the Royal Australian Air Force for 15 years, said it had supported him in gaining a role within the Department of Justice.
“I had more confidence with the skills and capabilities that I had gained and the program set me up for success in my applications,” Robinson said.
Former Army Captain Angie Holst, who served in the army from 2007 to 2016, said transitioning defence force members faced challenges articulating their skills and experiences into language the public sector understood.
“The veterans employment program conducts workshops that provide information about applying for government roles, and advice on tailoring a resume to make it applicable to government positions.”
NSW veterans minister David Elliott said he was thrilled the employment target was exceeded.
“This program is instrumental in helping our veterans enjoy a smoother transition from military service to civilian life, and means we retain the skills, knowledge and experience of our outstanding former service personnel,” Elliott said.
Greg Warren, NSW Labor’s spokesperson for veterans, says he knows first-hand the difficulty for veterans preparing for post-military life after spending six months doing it himself.
“In light of that I will always welcome any program that helps veterans entering the workforce,” Warren said.
“But I believe the target set by the NSW Government in relation to the Veterans Employment Program is far too low.”
He said when the program was established in 2015 there were 47,000 veterans in NSW, and now there were due to be 65,400 by mid-2022.
“The number of veterans throughout our state has increased remarkably in seven years – by close to a third – but the NSW Government’s ambitions for the VEP haven’t,” Warren said, also criticising the lack of detail around hours and place of work released by the government.
The Victorian government also exceeded a similar target last year, putting 767 veterans in public sector roles between June 2017 and June 2021 — slightly above its 750 target.
The Queensland government announced last year it was offering 300 veterans free TAFE courses alongside support to mentor veterans looking for jobs in the state’s public service.