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Veterans encouraged to try public sector jobs in NSW

Australian Army officer Colonel Amanda Fielding, Gender Adviser Joint Operations Command (right), talks with organisers of the Defence Women’s Speaker Series event held at the Australian War Memorial.

The New South Wales government has fired the starter’s gun on a push to get 200 military veterans into public sector jobs by 2019.

The Veterans Employment Program shouldn’t have too much trouble hitting its target, which represents just 0.0003% of the 326,765 full-time equivalent positions in the state-funded workforce last year. There are 1300 separations from the Australian Defence Force in NSW each year.

A new website went online yesterday offering current and former members of the ADF detailed information on the program, including a tool that matches military ranks to a public sector employment grades.

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A “capability definition tool” explains the 16 skills and personal attributes used by the NSW public sector capability framework and fictional narratives offer further explanation of the process.

Premier Mike Baird suggested it could address skills shortages in NSW Police, Corrective Services and “infrastructure delivery” agencies, when he announced the program as an election promise in 2015.

Yesterday, Baird joined Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott to kick off the program. They announced former Army Major and author Garth Callender, who was injured by an explosion in Iraq in 2004, would “spearhead” the employment drive.

“This program recognises that the community has already invested significantly in military personnel and their wealth of skills and experience can be of enormous value to employers,” Callender said.

Elliott said he hoped the program would inspire similar initiatives elsewhere.

The Office of Veterans’ Affairs within the Department of Premier and Cabinet has run research to find the best cross-overs between the skills of former ADF members and the needs of the state’s public sector organisations. The team is also embarking on an “ambitious” information campaign inside the NSW public service. Elliott explains in a statement on the new website:

“This campaign will assist in developing the understanding by recruitment decision makers and human resources influencers within NSW Government agencies.  It will provide information to ensure the skills and attributes of former Australian Defence Force personnel can be easily understood and compared against the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework, leading to greater employment of former military professionals.”

In a message of support, Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs told Baird the education campaign would “surely drive a subtle yet significant shift in recruiting practices to ensure military people are not disadvantaged” when going for NSW government jobs. Griggs said:

“Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel receive extensive training and experiences which produces men and women who are uniquely skilled and highly competent. Despite this fact, there remains an inaccurate perception that ADF members’ skills are not easily transferable to the civilian sector.”

Author Bio

Stephen Easton

Stephen Easton is the associate editor at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's previously reported for Canberra CityNews and worked on industry titles for The Intermedia Group.