Minister Chester and Federal Member for Boothby Nicolle Flint made the announcement during a visit to Flinders University, which will receive the $170,000 Supporting Younger Veterans grant from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
“I offer my congratulations to Flinders University who will use some of this funding to also conduct some research on the barriers and enablers to younger veterans studying at the tertiary level,” Ms Flint said.
The funding will be used to provide a project officer to run a support program and establish a peer group that “can provide relevant transition, study and lifestyle support for younger veterans wanting to embark on study programs, with access to expertise in PTSD, mental health and drug and alcohol support”.
“The government is putting veterans and families first by supporting the needs of younger veterans as they transition out of the Australian Defence Force and establish themselves into civilian life,” Minister Chester said.
“This program assists with the establishment of a [email protected] peer group, which will provide transition, study and lifestyle support.”
Flinders University’s Associate Professor Ben Wadham will drive the program, and benefits from personal experience and insight having served in the Australian Army for five years.
Associate Professor Wadham is now a sociologist working in Flinders University’s College of Education, Psychology and Social Work.
“When it’s time for a veteran to separate from the military, it is a profound time of change,” he says. “While many make a smooth transition into civilian life, a significant number of veterans experience difficulties in employment, education, health, social and relationship issues,” Associate Professor Wadham said.
“Higher education is a great pathway for some veterans to find meaningful employment. The learning process is empowering, giving veterans confidence, knowledge and tools to realise their own aspirations. Veterans often want to give back to the community, and research at Flinders can help that facilitate this. Therapists with military experience, in particular, have the advantage of shared experiences with veteran clients.”
The next Supporting Younger Veterans Grant round is expected to open for applications in July and close in August.
Applications for the grant can be lodged online, through the Australian government’s Community Grants Hub.