RSL Queensland is rolling out a new employment program to help former Defence personnel and their partners find meaningful jobs.
After a successful six-month trial in Townsville, helping veterans aged 21-68, the program will be made available statewide with four full-time RSL Queensland staff providing assessment and co-ordination.
Kristian Lawson, 23, spent nearly five years in Army but after leaving he was unsure of how to 'sell' himself to potential employers.
"I found myself with nothing, no real qualifications, and not sure where to turn to," Lawson said.
"The RSL program helped with interview training, working out what I could and wanted to do, and actively searching for positions. At the start of this year I got a full-time traineeship as an aircraft surface refinisher in Townsville. It’s non-stop, hard work and everything I learnt in Army, like teamwork, suits this job."
Flying Colours Aviation human resources manager Nikki Armstrong said it had been a positive experience.
"Kristian joined our team three months ago and has hit the ground running," Armstrong said.
"He has settled in very well into our existing team, picked up the training points quickly and we are incredibly impressed with his progress.”
RSL Queensland veteran services manager Rob Skoda said the Townsville trial had demonstrated a real need for practical assistance and advice about getting into the civilian job market.
"Veterans are high-skilled but often don’t have experience with networking, job interviews, writing their resume or translating their Defence skills in a way that’s relevant to different workplaces," Skoda said.
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"Of the 86 people involved in our trial, 23 have secured meaningful employment so far. The others are continuing to hone their skills and undertaking additional training to achieve their career aspirations.
"But this is not about just getting a job – finding stable, satisfying employment has a huge impact on people’s lives and their families, and has an incredible ripple effect through our communities."
Skoda said the program was backed by research conducted as part of Gallipoli Medical Research Foundation’s Veteran Reintegration Study.
"RSL Queensland has invested heavily in research to determine the factors that contribute to successfully transitioning out of Defence. This program is shaped by that research," he said.
"It aims to give those who are ready to commit to the program a revitalised sense of purpose and the opportunity to discover new pathways to sustainable, meaningful employment."
RSL Queensland Employment Program participants must be former ADF personnel, Queensland residents, and not engaged with any employment program provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (to avoid duplication).
"Veterans are an untapped resource for Australian businesses, Skoda said. "This program is win-win for employer and employee. We want to show veterans and their partners that they can have a happy, productive career after Defence."