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New veterans employment guide supports veteran pathways

Opinion: BAE Systems Australia has launched a Veterans Employment Best Practice guide to share the company’s experience and success in attracting, recruiting and retaining veteran talent, writes Mat Jones, head of business development - Air, Land and Joint at BAE Systems.

Opinion: BAE Systems Australia has launched a Veterans Employment Best Practice guide to share the company’s experience and success in attracting, recruiting and retaining veteran talent, writes Mat Jones, head of business development - Air, Land and Joint at BAE Systems.

BAE Systems Australia’s Mat Jones is a veteran who has a deep passion in supporting fellow veterans find new civilian careers. Below, he talks about the purpose of the guide and some of the other initiatives the company is supporting to grow its veteran workforce.

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As a former member of the Army and a passionate advocate for veterans, I have been interested in the development of a Veterans Employment Best Practice guide for a number of years. I have always wanted a way to present the myriad of benefits that veterans and their partners can bring to any business but to balance that by highlighting the requirement to provide tailored support as they embarked on their new careers.  

The very first step in getting to where we are today, and the release of the Veterans Employment Best Practice guide began more than two years ago. The company has long committed to support veterans, but this really gathered momentum when we established a Veterans Advisory Committee in 2020.

The VAC aims to provide a voice for BAE System’s veterans workforce and helps shape the company’s strategy to not only recruit and retain veteran employees but to also ensure that they are best supported in a workplace that embraces them.

BAE Systems has around 550 veterans who represent roughly 10 per cent of its national workforce. 

The company’s Veterans Employment Strategy also focuses on providing opportunities for the partners of veterans and current serving Defence members. 

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BAE Systems has found the partners of those who have served often also have many relevant skills sets and attributes sought by the Defence Industry, and many have gained an intimate understanding of Defence from supporting their partners throughout their military careers.

The guide is not meant to have all of the answers, but it is a tool to start conversations with other businesses within and external to our industry who are looking to reap the rewards of bringing veterans in to their businesses.

You can learn just as much from your missteps as you do from your successes and bringing like-minded companies together to share their veterans’ employment experiences was the reason we developed this guide.

We hope that businesses that have been considering recruiting veterans may be able to learn from our experience or at least know that we are happy to have the conversation with them and share some lessons.

The guide provides some profiles of our veteran and partner team members as it’s important to always remember that every single veteran and family member are unique individuals and their pathways out of Defence and into our business will be different.

Leaving the military can be a huge transition. For many, it’s been their family, their work, their world. Some will require a fair amount of support as they adjust to their new surrounds while others will make a seamless transition. We are working hard to ensure all layers of our leadership are educated to ensure that every single veteran and partner that joins BAE Systems has the opportunity to thrive. 

And companies not familiar with the defence industry find it hard to translate how defence skills and capabilities can be transferred. But things are changing for the better. 

The Best Practice guide identifies a number of organisations such as Soldier On, Right Management and WithYouWithMe who manage veterans and partner employment programs. 

Trusted partnerships with these types of organisations are critical to ensuring that businesses can maximise their veterans and partner talent pathways and to ensure that advice and support is available if and when required. 

Reflecting the focus on the Veteran Advisory Committee, BAE Systems was awarded the Prime Minister’s Veterans Employer of the Year in 2021. 

Copies of the guide can be found here

New veterans employment guide supports veteran pathways
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