NATIONAL COLLABORATION TAKES ON CYBER SECURITY BATTLE

An innovative new industry partnership will support Australia’s rapidly advancing technological landscape and boost national cyber security capabilities to meet one of the country’s most pressing national priority areas.

In support of retired defence personnel looking to retrain and reskill into civilian life, the University of Southern Queensland will collaborate directly with Veterans’ support organisation Soldier On and Fortune 500 global IT services provider DXC Technology, to design a bespoke undergraduate Bachelor of Cyber Security program supported through a one-year paid industry internship that will also offer industry credentials including IBM SkillsBuild.

The unprecedented and novel program is being designed to meet the needs of a national priority area and support the Australian Signals Directorate Strategic Plan that recently announced a $9.9 billion dollar investment over the next decade – the largest ever in cyber and intelligence capabilities in Australia’s history.

University of Southern Queensland Dean (Academic Transformation) Professor Lyn Alderman said the innovative, industry-led co-designed bespoke program ensured an equitable transition pathway from military service directly into industry for Veterans and would be specifically designed to support those with no prior experience in the Cyber Security space.

“The University is incredibly proud to bring a multi-faceted approach to a strategic, grassroots collaboration and industry cooperation to offer solutions to a number of national issues,” Professor Alderman said.

“In the first instance, there is a shortage of skilled workers in the cyber security industry, and it is evident that current conventional methods are unable to meet current and future demand, so it makes sense to work with industry partners who have the same aligned focus on helping to produce job ready graduates and deliver them directly to sectors in need.

“Further to that, actively building job opportunities for returned service men and women with recognition of their past Defence service, and supporting Australia’s national security capabilities, is something the University is committed to.”

Senior Executive of Cyber Security at DXC Technology and University of Southern Queensland Adjunct Professor Neil Curtis said the internship program would offer participants certified, industry operational, cyber security training.

“This will be accompanied by real-time on the ground cyber security employment in our live and operational cyber security business, and this includes our Defence, National Security and Government sectors as well as the infrastructure and business portfolios,” Adjunct Professor Curtis said.

“This hands-on experience with technical certifications will prime the Veteran for an ongoing career in cyber security across our business and the broader sector, and overall we will be very excited to welcome these military Veterans into the industry.”

Soldier On Interim CEO, Prudence Slaughter, said the long-term impact of providing equitable transition pathways from military service into industry could not be understated.

“Veterans possess a tremendously diverse skillset from their service experience. Education is a powerful tool for Veterans to advance these skills and their careers after service,” she said

“This collaboration will provide Veterans with valuable guidance in their transition to the civilian workforce and aid in enhancing the field of cyber security in Australia. Soldier On is delighted to see leading organisations working together for the betterment of our Veterans and we look forward to supporting this powerful initiative,” she said.

NEW LIFE PATH

Thanks to Soldier On, Private Thomas Apoyan made a successful transition to the civilian workforce.

After nearly eight years in the Army, Private Thomas Apoyan’s training as an electronics systems technician had taught him to be organised, on time, meticulous – and ready for anything. But it wasn’t until the 33-year-old Adelaide-based veteran decided to swap Army life for a civilian role that he realised just how valuable these skills could be to future employers.

 Thomas had given himself nine months to find employment after leaving the Army – while also navigating the planning of his own wedding and purchase of his first property – because he said prospective employers might dismiss him as just another ex-military veteran that could do not much more than hold a rifle.

According to Thomas, the skills veterans acquire during their time in the military are essential for any employer. He says time management, and ability to follow instructions and teamwork alongside a trade, are just a few of the qualities veterans can offer employers.

Instead, just three months into his job search, Defence contractor BAE Systems Australia snapped him up for the same focus and preparedness that he had developed during his life in the military. And it’s this experience that has made Thomas urge other employers to recognise the skills that highly trained veterans could bring to employers.

 “Giving myself a long-lead-time ensured that if there were any setbacks, there was no pressure and could ensure that everything was done correctly.

“I wanted to move away from Defence and find a career where I could stay in one place and have an opportunity to move into a role with more autonomy and ability to practice critical thinking and decision making using my past experiences in operations management and the Australian Defence Forces (ADF).”

However prepared Thomas thought he was, he said there were still doubts whether he’d secure employment that fitted his skills or if an employer would even recognise them. Not knowing what support services are available can heighten the disconnection some veterans feel when making the transition to civilian life and trying to find employment. As Thomas says, this is where Soldier On came into their own.

“Soldier On really helped me on the right path as to where I wanted my career to go post-Defence. They took the time to understand my previous work experience, my skill set and my experiences with the ADF to put me in good stead for a career that I would not only suit but also enjoy.”

BAE Systems Australia CEO Gabby Costigan described the importance of understanding the valuable skills veterans can bring to an employer. “Veterans have enormous value as potential employees because the Australian Government has invested heavily to train servicemen and women over many years in really diverse roles. Service experience is considerable and diverse.

“The skills a veteran brings can add significant value to your bottom line. A lot of military training is directly applicable in civilian operations. Safety. Leadership. Logistics. Project management. And so much more,” Ms Costigan said.

 In July 2021, Thomas attended a Soldier On Pathways Networking Event after hearing about their Pathways program at a Defence transition seminar. He described the event as a “major confidence boost.”

He went on to say, “The event helped me realise that employers did see the benefits of veteran employment and that veteran’s skills outside of the role were valuable. The Pathways program provided networking opportunities with representatives and organisations who were very willing to talk with me and hear about my experiences.”

Thomas initially approached Soldier On’s Pathways team for help to spruce up his CV. However, he received so much more than a new CV, instead, very quickly he impressed not only the team at Soldier On but representatives at BAE Systems Australia, after being put in touch with a Soldier On Ambassador who worked for the Defence contractor. The rest, Thomas says, is history.

“I met up with the Soldier On Ambassador and found out he had already passed my CV around the company and organised for me to meet their representatives that night. From there I interviewed with one of their project teams and was offered a position.

“If I hadn’t taken my time to find out about the resources out there for transitioning veterans, I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in now. It pays dividends to use the resources available, contact organisations like Soldier On, take your time and see what’s available.”

BAE Systems CEO, Ms Costigan, said: “Thomas’ experience is a great example of skills recognition to support a successful transition to civilian life. We are delighted to partner with Soldier On to support more veterans like Thomas into our workforce.”

National Psychology Services Manager for Soldier On, Joe Losinno said: “Transitions can be a difficult period for veterans, however an organisation like Soldier On understands their perspective and particular way of thinking. Both Soldier On and BAE Systems Australia thrive by building a veteran-centric approach into the heart of their operations. They’re both great examples of how understanding veterans can enrich companies, often in surprising and unexpected ways.”

 After spending his first week at BAE Systems Australia, Thomas says he has settled into his new role and is looking forward to his future post-Defence.

 “BAE Systems didn’t make me feel like a number, they helped me transition into my new role and gave me the time to do so. They are very understanding of where I have come from. A lot of people think of a veteran as just a rifleman, I was very fortunate Soldier On and BAE Systems recognised the skills veterans have.”

BOEING AUSTRALIA AND SOLDIER ON JOIN FORCES FOR VETERAN MENTORING PROGRAM

Soldier On and Boeing Australia have teamed up to establish a national mentoring program for veterans and their family members.

Veterans and their families can now access the Soldier On Boeing Mentoring Program, which launched today on Soldier On’s website and is now open to applications.

The Soldier On and Boeing Australia Mentoring Program covers all aspects of the veteran transitioning phase, providing structured support for members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) community. 

Specialised support will be provided in areas such as career change, progression and planning, skill development, and professional networking.

Veterans and family members will be selectively matched with Soldier On Pledge Partner employees, who will mentor the participant for the duration of the program.

Long-term supporters of Soldier On programs, Boeing Australia have collaborated to establish several employment and connection initiatives and will be active participants in Soldier On’s March On campaign.

“We value the skills and contributions of former service personnel, and this program is a fantastic way to support veterans as they transition to a life out of uniform into civilian roles, where their professionalism, loyalty and experience can be meaningfully applied,” said Dr Brendan Nelson AO, president of Boeing Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific.

 “As a large employer of veterans, many of our employees have firsthand experience of the challenges faced when re-entering the workforce and are committed to empowering others.”

Participants will develop goals along with their mentor, strategise and work together on how to achieve these goals, whether personal or work-related.

This program will utilize a mentoring platform designed to create opportunities for growth and development. The program is participant centric, with the flexibility to tailor to the needs of the individual.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich said Soldier On is delighted to partner with Boeing Australia on the innovative new initiative.

 “The impact quality mentoring can have for a transitioning veteran is significant. Partnering with Boeing Australia to deliver this powerful program, expands access to the knowledge, experience and guidance of leaders in their varied fields of expertise.

We expect both mentors and mentees will cement valuable relationships and both will be enriched through the experience.  This will enable more veterans and their family members to thrive”.

What is Mindfulness?

An article by Soldier On Counsellor Sarah Di Martino

So, what is Mindfulness? A buzzword that is has been going around that now thinks they should do more of. Mmmm, do more… that doesn’t sound mindful at all. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the person who brought mindfulness to the West, framed mindfulness as an: “…  awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally,” … “It’s about knowing what is on your mind.” “From the perspective of mindfulness, nothing needs fixing. Nothing needs to be forced to stop, or change, or go away.” From my perspective, Mindfulness is the quality of being present.

A Harvard study found that 50% of the time we’re either caught up in regretting things from the past or worrying about what we’re going to do in the future.

Mind-wandering is not the problem. That is what minds do – it is the habit of the mind to wander. Noticing the mind drifting – that is what mindfulness practice is – followed by bringing your attention back to the present. Noticing the mind wandering means we’re starting to see our habitual patterns of perception more clearly. A song jumps to mind for me here, ‘I can see clearly now.’

Mindfulness can cause struggle …

Not everyone finds relaxation in stillness. Intentional stillness can prompt feelings of vulnerability, reminding you of times when you felt immobilized, or under threat. These feelings may be too big to tolerate or may even trigger anxiety and panic attacks.

The relationship between mindfulness and trauma may not always be as it seems. At first glance, the two seem like natural allies: trauma creates stress, and mindfulness is a powerful tool for reducing it. You may think that anyone struggling with trauma would benefit from mindfulness practice. But the reality is not so simple. Emerging research suggests that mindfulness can indeed support people struggling with trauma, but and this is a big but, it can also be a bear burden.

Mindfulness can strengthen trauma recovery by supporting emotional regulation, re-focus attention, and bringing awareness to the body – all essential components to healing trauma. On the flip side, mindfulness meditation can create anguish for trauma survivors. Instructed to pay close, sustained attention to their inner world, survivors may experience flashbacks, dissociation, and at worst, re-traumatization – depending on how it’s practiced.

Your therapist should be equipped with the tools and modifications to help you work skilfully through dysregulated arousal, traumatic flashbacks, and trauma-related dissociation.

Despite the value of being mindful in daily life, and under the best of circumstances, mindfulness can be difficult to achieve in our production-oriented, fast-paced society.

Saying that here are a few suggestions for you to try.

Take a moment, get comfortable and see if these techniques work for you. If they don’t, change them up a little bit or find something different that works for you.

Drop Three Relaxation Exercise

​1. Drop your jaw. Make sure your tongue falls to the bottom of your mouth. If your mouth is open a little, you’re doing it right.​

2. Drop your shoulders. Let them loosen and fall.​

3. Drop your stomach. Don’t hold it in tight; just let it go.​

​Now notice how you feel. Has anything changed?​

​You can Drop Three anytime, anywhere. It’s almost invisible, so other people won’t notice. Dropping Three helps you feel more relaxed and more ready to face whatever comes. Instead of spending energy keeping your muscles tense, you have that energy available to use for what you need to do. Try to practice this five times a day. It only takes a few seconds to do. The more you practice it, the more it will be available when you need it.

Breathe

Controlled breathing can bring immediate and long-term relief from anxiety and stress and is also beneficial when practiced daily for mindfulness.

 How to practice deep breathing:

• Inhale for 4 seconds;

• Hold for 4 seconds; and

• Exhale for 6 seconds.

Practice for at least 2 minutes, with 5-10 minutes being the optimal time.

Mindfulness with the 5-4-3-2-1 technique

When using the 5-4-3-2-1 technique, you are encouraged to observe your surroundings through your five senses. Challenge yourself to focus on smaller details you may not usually notice.

If you are looking for further resources, you might like to visit one of the below for worksheets or links to available web apps.

https://www.therapistaid.com/therapy-worksheet/leaves-on-a-stream-worksheet/stress/none

https://www.defence.gov.au/adf-members-families/health-well-being/services-support-fighting-fit/mental-health-online/web-and-mobile-apps

https://www.openarms.gov.au/resources

VETERAN SUICIDE STATISTICS HIGHLIGHT NEED FOR TARGETED SUPPORT

On 29 September 2021, The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) released its fourth annual report on suicide among permanent, reserve, and ex-serving ADF members, including numbers of suicide deaths between 1 January 2001 and 31 December 2019 and rates of suicide from 1 January 2002 to 31 December 2019.

The findings of the report support previous discoveries whereby ex-serving male and female personnel are shown to have a significantly increased risk of suicide when compared to that of the Australian public. The report also provided valuable insights into suicide rates within specific groups.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said the report sheds a light on those groups who are in need of greater support.

“Every suicide is a horrific tragedy. Every statistic included in this report is a human life. These are our mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and our mates,” Mr Slavich said.

“The conclusions drawn from this report will allow Soldier On to better understand the needs of the veteran community and we will be targeting our programs to address the needs of those groups which have been identified as most vulnerable, providing greater support where it is needed most,”

“Among many others, It is clear that those individuals who have separated from service involuntarily are at a significantly higher risk than those who separated voluntarily. This tells us that greater support is needed for those individuals whose transition was not of their own choosing, many of whom may not be prepared for such a significant change,” Mr Slavich added.

Findings of the report also indicate that personnel who have served for a shorter period of time are at a higher risk of suicide. This may be an indication that greater support is needed for our ADF personnel in the early stages of their military career. This may be further supported with statistics showing that our younger veterans are at a greater risk of suicide.

The expansion of this study to incorporate those who had served from 1985 to 2001 is also a welcomed inclusion and acknowledges the lasting impact that service can have on members of the veteran community. In some instances, individuals can experience significant impacts long after their service has ended.

Soldier On hopes that the findings of the report will inform the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide on the shortfalls of current practices and the specific areas that are in dire need of change.

Soldier On intends to be an active participant in the Royal Commission and has established a working group to achieve this. Supporting thousands of veterans and their family members, Soldier On will work closely with its participants to continue to inform the Royal Commission and National Commissioner of the needs of our veteran community now and into the future.

Soldier On strongly encourages its participants to make a submission to the Royal Commission and share your experiences with those who will be leading this inquisition. For those who may not be comfortable submitting their views directly to the Royal Commission, Soldier On will be speaking with its participants to represent their views and experiences within its own submission.

In the meantime, Soldier On continues to advocate for a Veteran Wellbeing Centre in the ACT to accommodate the large number of service personnel and contemporary veterans in the region. Soldier On is currently engaging in discussions with stakeholders, government representatives and other Ex-Service Organisations to advance the delivery of support services across the ACT, as well as other locations across the country.

Solder On Chairman Peter Leahy Addresses Sky News Regarding Returned Afghanistan Veterans

“Many of our veterans who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq have already suffered psychological damages. We know that there are instances of PTSD, we know that there are instances of suicide is far too high. There are people who are inherently vulnerable to these developments right now. There will also be soldiers, sailors and aviators out there who will be experience shock and confusion over the developments. I get a sense of loss. A sense of loss for might have been in Afghanistan, a sense of loss for those who have been killed, wounded and psychologically damaged. For those who are bothered by what is happening, don’t do anything rash, seek out help from the many resources available to you. Soldier On is here to help.”- Peter Leahy, Soldier On Chairman

Soldier On provides ongoing support, however, we do not deliver crisis support. If you are in a crisis, please contact one of the following organisations:

LIFELINE

13 11 14

24 hours, 7 days a week

BEYOND BLUE

1300 224 636

24 hours, 7 days a week

OPEN ARMS

1800 011 046

24 hours, 7 days a week

EMERGENCY

000

24 hours, 7 days a week

Supporting South Australian Veterans and Their Families

Veterans and their families are set to benefit from the new Repat Veteran Wellbeing Centre opening within the Daw Park Repatriation Health Precinct, bringing together ex-service community services and government support for health and wellbeing into one hub.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the Repat Veteran Wellbeing Centre is a welcome addition to the world-class system of support we have in Australia for veterans and their families.

“The Veteran Wellbeing Centre, located within the Repatriation Health Precinct, will bring together a range of services, including support from Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling, Plympton Veterans Centre, RSL South Australia and Soldier On,” Mr Chester said.

“These organisations are experienced in delivering high-quality support for the ex-service community and share the Australian Government’s objective to provide a stable support system that is easy to access and delivers the services they need.

“As a nation we can always improve on the support provided to veterans and their families and this centre is a fantastic example of the Federal and South Australian Governments working together with the ex-service community to improve their health and wellbeing, and provide individualised services based on their needs.”

The Repat Veteran Wellbeing Centre is the second centre to open as part of the $30 million commitment made by the Federal Government to develop a network of six Veteran Wellbeing Centres across Australia, which the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is delivering in partnership with ex-service organisations and State and Territory governments.

South Australian Minister for Health and Wellbeing Stephen Wade said the development of the Repat Veteran Wellbeing Centre, in partnership with the Commonwealth Government, represents a new chapter in the provision of support and access to services for veterans and their families in South Australia.

“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to veterans and their families and the opening of the Repat Veteran Wellbeing Centre will provide a safe and welcoming environment in which veterans and their families can access services and feel confident in seeking the support they need to improve their health and wellbeing,” said Minister Wade.

The centre will focus on delivering wellbeing services to assist veterans and their families to transition successfully to civilian life.

The centre will offer services to support health and wellbeing, advocacy, education, skills and employment, and housing and accommodation support.

Member for Boothby Nicolle Flint MP the Veteran Wellbeing Centre is a key feature of the new Repat Precinct and has only come about because of the tireless efforts of our veterans who campaigned to put a stop to the closure of the Repat.

“It is so important that our veterans and their families have a dedicated place where they can go to connect with one another and to also access the assistance they need,” Ms Flint said.

“The reactivated Repat is in the heart of my local community and I worked hard to see the Federal and State Governments join forces to redevelop this important health precinct, including to return a veterans presence to the Repat.”

Veteran Wellbeing Centre and services will be launched and available to veterans and their families from 1 June 2021.

Soldier On’s Partnerships and Grants Director, Prue Slaughter said Soldier On welcomes the centre and the opportunities it will bring for the veteran community.  

“The Repat Wellness Centre will be a welcome addition to the local veteran community. It is through projects like this that we are able to provide our ex-serving community with the vital support services that enable them to thrive,” Prue said.

Heavy Metal, Movement, and Community: Veterans in the Mosh Pit

The link between positive mental health and heavy metal is closer than popular culture may portray.  The sense of being part of a community, collective movement – such as ‘headbanging’ and ‘moshing’- and the music itself, have been shown to provide numerous mental health benefits. 

We live in a time when one out of four Australian adults feel lonely, and nearly 30% of Australian adults feel they rarely or never feel part of a community or group of friends. [1] Having a sense of belonging is becoming increasingly important for mental health.  A 2018 study showed that heavy metal identity helped metalheads endure stress and challenging environments and build strong, lasting relationships with other fans –helping alleviate potential mental health issues. [2] 

Soldier On reached out to veteran metalheads to hear what they had to say about metal, mental health, and community. Michael, a Navy veteran, felt that the heavy metal community are very warm and inviting.  “There’s a lot of passion in people when they go to a metal show – you’re there to see the musicians perform their art, and to enjoy yourself.  My experience has been it can be pretty easy to strike up a conversation and meet people at shows,” Michael said. Roark, a currently serving Navy officer had this to say, “I absolutely feel an immediate connection with someone at a party or gathering if they are [into metal].  I know we’ll have something to talk about and have similar life experiences.” 

The acts of headbanging, moshing, and other physical movements while at metal concerts, have also shown to support positive mental health.  A 2016 study showed participation in a mosh pit or engaging in headbanging can provide an avenue where negative emotions can be discharged within an environment where aggression is contained and organized.  The study went on to note how the ritualized nature of headbanging and moshing provides a cathartic effect for fans and reduces feelings of shame and isolation. [3]

According to Kelly McGonigal, author of “The Joy of Movement”, the brain responds to music by releasing adrenaline, dopamine, and endorphins which energize the body and alleviate pain. Participating in live music and engaging in the group movements, such as the mosh pit, helps foster a sense of belonging and further facilitates the release of endorphins. [4]

Heavy metal’s mental health benefits were demonstrated in a 2015 University of Queensland study.  The study of 39 adults between the ages of 18 and 34 revealed the participants felt heavy metal was helpful in regulating feelings of sadness while enhancing positive emotions.  The study also showed the participants’ levels of hostility, irritability and stress decreased after listening to heavy metal or extreme music.[5] 

Neurologist Oliver Sacks said, “music is part of being human” and the heavy metal community is full of fans waiting to welcome you into the pit. 


[1] (2018, November 11). AUSTRALIAN LONELINESS REPORT. Retrieved from https://psychweek.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Psychology-Week-2018-Australian-Loneliness-Report-1.pdf

[2] Cansdale, D. (2018, February 19). How heavy metal and head banging can help soothe your soul. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-19/heavy-metal-helps-soothe-the-soul/9450576

[3] Baker, C., Brown, B. Suicide, Self-Harm and Survival Strategies in Contemporary Heavy Metal Music: A Cultural and Literary Analysis. J Med Humanit 37, 1–17 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10912-014-9274-8

[4] MCGONIGAL, K. (2021). JOY OF MOVEMENT: How exercise helps us find happiness, hope, connection, and courage. S.l.: AVERY PUB GROUP.

[5] Watson, M. (2015, June 25). Heavy metal combats depression, anger: Study. Retrieved March 01, 2021, from

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-25/study-finds-heavy-metal-reduces-anger-depression/6571820

Supporting our Veterans journey from military to civilian life

At BAE Systems Australia, we are extremely proud of the brave men and women who have served our country and are grateful for their sacrifice.  Since 2015, BAE Systems has been partnering with Soldier On, as they work side by side with those who serve and protect Australia and their families. This partnership combines financial support, in-kind donations and ongoing employee fundraising and volunteering initiatives. Recognising the benefits of this external support service for veteran employees, BAE Systems Australia formed its own Veterans Advisory Committee (VAC).  Mat is one of those who led the initiative of the VAC. A veteran himself and former CEO of Soldier On, he is now working in Business Development at BAE Systems. Mat says the VAC was created as he saw a need for BAE Systems Australia to be able to provide a voice and ongoing support to veterans and their families who work within the business.  ‘We wanted to facilitate a culture that really embraces the strengths of a veteran’s workforce.’ 

‘We wanted to facilitate a culture that really embraces the strengths of a veteran’s workforce.’

As well as providing ongoing support to veterans at a peer-to-peer level, Mat also recognised that it was important to assist veterans as they navigate their way out of the Defence force and transfer into a civilian workplace like BAE Systems. 

‘We wanted to be at the forefront of assisting veterans as they translate their skills and experiences to be relevant in our business. Often when these men and women come out of the Defence force, they don’t know how to translate their skills, experiences, expertise, and character traits to be relevant in a civilian setting.’ ‘…A lot of people, especially those who have served for a significant part of their life, only know that service and there are so many new things that they need to encounter when joining a civilian workforce like ours, that we would probably take for granted. Having the VAC there as that point of contact can help that navigation.’  Having had extremely close ties with the Australian Defence Force industries for decades, establishing a Veterans Advisory Committee within the company to provide this support for employees was a natural process for BAE Systems.  ‘What we’re trying to do is to say that when you join our ranks in BAE Systems you are just as a part of the overall defence and national security enterprise, as you were when you were in uniform.’  ‘Instead of being on the frontline, you’re playing key roles to develop the future ships and weapons systems, which are still so important and essential to ensuring that the men and women who are on the frontline are able to do their jobs.’  This support which the VAC provides to the 500+ veterans within the company is needed now in 2020, more than ever. 

Mat, along with many others, has encountered and seen through his own eyes the effects of serving and the mental burden and toll it can take on some. Having lost some of his classmates from the Australian Defence Force to suicide, he says acknowledging the problem is the first step:  ‘I’ve seen up close the impacts that the service can have on men and women, both really closely with my friends and then with Soldier On. I’ve seen firsthand these strong men and women who I always looked up to and idolised almost become a shell of themselves.’

Hoping to make a difference, the Committee, which consists of nine other veteran employees within the company, has worked hard to ensure there is a strong membership base within the company which includes both men and women and their families from diverse backgrounds: age, culture and military experiences. Having this broad range of members involved ensures all veterans who join will receive the ongoing support they need.  

Media Release – Raytheon Australia expands support to Australian veterans and families

Raytheon Australia Managing Director, Michael Ward today announced that the company will increase its financial sponsorship to Soldier On to $275,000 over three years.

The increased funding will make Raytheon Australia one of Soldier On’s largest financial sponsors, enabling them to reach more veterans and families across Australia. The funds will support Soldier On’s Veteran and Family Support Officer who provides employment services to veterans and families across South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

“This additional sponsorship from Raytheon Australia demonstrates their commitment to supporting the successful transition of veterans, and their families, into the workforce. They recognise that these men and women are assets to Australian Industry, particularly Defence Industry,” CEO and Co-Founder of Soldier On, John Bale said.

Since launching their employment program in late November 2016, Soldier On has supported more than 600 veterans and spouses through career advice, job application support, interview preparation and development courses. Soldier On has been working directly with industry, through the Pledge for Veteran Employment, to provide greater opportunities and access to roles. Raytheon Australia has signed the Pledge and is working closely with Solider On to employ more veterans within their organisation.

“Supporting veterans is a responsibility that belongs to us all and I am pleased that our contribution will make a real difference to the lives of many.” said Michael Ward. “This additional financial pledge gives back to the defence community in which our company operates and demonstrates Raytheon Australia’s strong commitment to transitioning veterans and their families”.

Raytheon Australia has been a sponsor of Soldier On since 2016 and also funds the Veteran and Family Support Officer in Canberra. In addition, the Raytheon Australia workforce hold various fundraising activities throughout the year to provide greater support to veterans and families.

Soldier On does not receive government funding and relies on the generosity and commitment of community fundraisers, philanthropists, trusts and corporate sponsors. “To have an organisation like Raytheon Australia, and its staff, recognise the importance of the service Soldier On is providing veterans and their families is incredibly humbling.” said John Bale. “It shows that by working together, we can provide the support deserved by those who serve our nation and help to build positive futures.”

-ENDS-

For more information contact:

Melissa Russell

Communications & Marketing Director

Soldier On

0428 076 773