Nine organisations and individuals who have made exceptional efforts in promoting the unique skills and experience of military veterans have been recognised in the third annual Prime Minister’s Veterans’ Employment Awards.
The winners included Rheinmetall Defence Australia, AeroPM, Emergency Australia, Davor Strbac of Suncorp Group, Jeremy Holder of TacMed, RSL Queensland, the ACT Public Service, and East Coast Apprenticeships. Darren Edwards, former managing director of Boeing Australia, was recognised posthumously.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the personnel of the ADF embody the best of the nation.
“The skills our ADF personnel hone during their service are ones that are also needed in every single workplace which is what the Veterans’ Employment Program recognises,” PM Morrison said. “We celebrate those businesses who are supporting veterans and their families to fulfil their potential as employees and entrepreneurs.
“While I am disappointed the Awards ceremony could not go ahead this year, I want to recognise the amazing efforts of our veterans, and the employers and individuals around the country who are supporting employment for them and their families.
“I would like to particularly acknowledge the winner of the Outstanding Contribution by an Individual to Veterans’ Employment Award, posthumously awarded to Darren Edwards, the former Managing Director of Boeing Defence Australia.
“Darren set an example as a husband, a father, a former Army officer. Through his leadership he put the company at the forefront of recognising and promoting veterans’ unique skills and experience, offering work placements and mentoring, and partnering with a range of veteran support organisations.”
“The Award for Outstanding Employer of the Year went to professional consulting services company AeroPM for its commitment to transitioning veterans into civilian employment,” Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said. “AeroPM has recognised the incredible value of employing veterans and boasts a workforce comprising more than 90 per cent Australian veterans — congratulations and I look forward to reading about your future achievements.”
AeroPM also won Veteran’s Employer of the Year, Medium-Sized business. The company maintains a 97 per cent contract extension rate, ensuring continuous employment for employees even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to CEO and defence veteran Emily Frizell, former ADF members ‘speak the language’ of AeroPM’s clients and are drawn to the company, which rarely posts job advertisements, by word-of-mouth.
“I always say that our point of difference is our people,” Frizell said to ADM. “Led by our veterans, AeroPM provides the most capable and trusted workforce in support of Defence and Defence Industry because we speak the language of our clients and we understand what the war fighter is looking for in the assets that CASG deliver.”
There were a record 129 nominations for the 2020 Awards, the highest in the Awards’ three-year history.