A NSW Government program has helped employ 523 ex-military personnel in the State’s public service, more than double its original target, according to a report in to its first 18 months released last week.
Launched in March 2016, the NSW Government Veterans Employment Program (VEP) originally aimed to employ 200 veterans in Government roles by 2019, but has exceeded the target by 162 per cent, 18 months ahead of schedule.
The program analysed the common skills, experience and capabilities of 250 employment categories found in the ADF, which were grouped into areas most relevant to civilian employers, particularly public sector employment, to identify cohorts of potential applicants.
It also assisted employers to better understand the transferability of veterans’ skills to the civilian workplace, with 100 per cent of hiring managers employing a veteran rating the experience as positive, according to VEP Manager Garth Callender.
“The message is getting out there,” he said. “Our veterans have strong leadership and teamwork capabilities, excel in critical thinking and problem solving and are change management experts; exactly the skills companies today deem are most lacking in their organisations.”
NSW Government Veterans Employment Program video via YouTube
The program review found an overall three per cent increase in the number of applications from veterans and a significant shift in the variety of roles in which they were employed. More than 230 veterans found employment in the justice field, with 144 being employed in transport and 39 in education.
A survey conducted as part of the review found hiring managers who have employed a veteran in the past rated the experience as good (10 per cent), very Good (29 per cent) or excellent (61 per cent) and that 92 per cent of hiring managers would consider hiring a veteran in future.
The level of role in to which veterans were hired across NSW Government showed similar proportions to the ranks in Defence. A total of 82 per cent of the veterans who transition out of Defence annually are non-commissioned ranks; 18 per cent are commissioned officers.
“As the Program continues to mature, the data and case studies collected will continue to provide quantitative and qualitative evidence for the strong business case for employing veterans,” the report stated. “This information is crucial to back up anecdotal evidence and continue to address the common misconceptions about veterans in favour of a greater understanding of the highly transferable skills veterans bring to the workforce.”
Former Army engineer Paul Rindermann is now a Court Escort Officer in the NSW Justice System. He said veterans needed to understand that military and civil life were very different, but that staying in touch with ADF colleagues could help ease the change.
“It is only when I left the ADF that I appreciated the level of camaraderie we have,” he said. “It’s important that veterans manage their expectations and make use of those networks after they leave to help with their transition.”