Invictus Australia and Soldier On Join forces to better support our veterans 

Two of Australia’s leading Ex-Service Organisations (ESO), Invictus Australia and Soldier On have partnered to further support the health and wellbeing of military veterans and their families. 

Both organisations will work together to increase awareness, understanding and appreciation of the Australian veterans and families that they exist to serve. The partnership will see more sport and recreational opportunities, events and resources available for the Defence community.  

Invictus Australia will bring their sporting expertise and connections to the partnership, to help facilitate local initiatives, through its extensive network of sporting partners.  

Whilst Soldier On will provide support for local activations around the country, helping to facilitate and communicate sport and recreational opportunities to their audience of veterans.  

Michael Hartung, Chief Executive Officer of Invictus Australia said:  

“We are delighted to partner with Soldier On to share our expertise in the sporting arena, and together show real collaboration in action to deliver better outcomes for veterans and their families. We know the powerful role sport can play in the recovery, rehabilitation and reintegration of our veterans and their families, and look forward to working with the extensive Soldier On network across Australia to deliver upon our shared passion and purpose to support all those who have, and continue to serve our country.” 

Prue Slaughter, Interim Chief Executive Officer of Soldier On, said:  

“Soldier On is thrilled to team up with Invictus Australia. In their tremendous work, the Invictus Australia team works to strengthen the physical and mental wellbeing of our nation’s veterans and their families, a mission that very much resonates with Soldier On. With this collaboration, we look to broaden the support network available to our veteran community, providing more opportunities for connection and making these services more accessible than ever before.” 

Both organisations look forward to creating a larger impact for Australian veterans and their families by working together, and supporting relevant programs, events and activities.  

Standing Proud

Soldier On Ambassador and BAE employee Jeremy Satchell reflects on the solemnity of remembrance and the honour of serving his country. 

Commemoration and remembrance are an important part of our society’s make-up. Whether it be for a passed loved one, a tragedy or a significant milestone taking the time from our day-to-day activities to come together and pay respects is not only the right thing to do, it helps us to learn and grow as individuals and a community. 

Some say that there is no greater honour than to serve your country. For me, being a member of the Australian Regular Army was an immense privilege and an experience I hold dear. In 2017 I made the difficult decision to resign in order to settle my family and explore an alternate career path which has led me into the defence industry sector. Knowing that the work I do each and every day is contributing to those that still wear our nation’s uniform is immensely fulfilling, but still a distant second from actual service! 

Each year we publicly commemorate events such as Remembrance Day and Anzac Day. These days provide some stark focus for us all to acknowledge the great sacrifice that so many have made. For me, Anzac Day is like no other. A day of pride, respect and time for reflection. I love the stillness and silence of a chilly dawn service, complete with poignant words of The Ode and a bugler who also plays the Last Post with such passion. There is something about that minute of silence, which seems to bring us all together as a nation, which I’ve never felt replicated, anywhere in the world. Of course, the subsequent crunchy Anzac biscuits and warming tot of rum at 0600h is also quite unique! 

But we must forget veteran-related issues outside of these commemorative events. Each and every day, we, as the BAE Systems Australia team, seek to ensure we are supporting our veteran community positively. 

While I find the tag of ‘veteran’ slightly disconcerting and embarrassing, I’m slowly learning that it is in fact a label of respect and an absolute honour to be able to count myself within such an exemplary group of women and men. I’m extremely passionate about removing negative connotations associated with service and reshaping the narrative as we progress through the 21st century. Our society needs more people with respectful morals and ethical values, and our service and veteran community lead the way in demonstrating these. These are values our business embraces also, and we welcome the opportunity to provide employment for our veteran community. 

Over the past four years, I’ve had the honour of being a Soldier On Ambassador. Personally, I seek to support Soldier On with their employment programs, utilising my personal and professional network and a mentoring approach. When I was transitioning, I was well supported by a few key people. It’s immensely fulfilling to be able to pay this effort forward. 

This role complements my involvement with our Veteran Advisory Committee as we are able to align our efforts with those of Soldier On and also explore opportunities where we can leverage each other’s resources. There are some exceptional case studies of individuals who have benefited through our business relationship with Soldier On. 

We are continuing to position BAE Systems Australia as the veteran employer of choice and develop our internal culture to be increasingly supportive of our people. This will ultimately aid retention but also ensure our veterans are valued, recognised and appreciated – each and every day. 

I implore everyone to take the time to reflect on how this group of people have shaped and contributed to our nation, not just on our key dates of Anzac Day or Remembrance Day. We must continue to embrace the legacy they leave us and drive forward the examples they set. And most importantly, we must never forget those that paid the ultimate price in the service of our nation. 

To those that have served, and continue to serve, Australia says thank you. 

SOLDIER ON OPENS NEW HEADQUARTERS AT CANBERRA AIRPORT

National veteran support charity, Soldier On, has opened a new national Headquarters today at an event at Canberra Airport.

Currently supporting more than 8,000 veterans and family members, Soldier On is Australia’s only national fully integrated and holistic support service provider.

Soldier On’s services include a range of mental health and wellbeing services, employment support and education programs, as well as activities focused on connections with family, friends, and the broader community.

Soldier On Headquarters is made possible by the support of Capital Airport Group.

Chairman of Soldier On, LTGEN (Retd) Peter Leahy AC, said the new location offers advanced opportunities for support services across the country.

“As the national headquarters, this location will not only operate to support the Canberra region but will assist the vast network of Soldier On teams around the country in delivering vital services to Australia’s veterans and their families,” he said.

Soldier On’s new Headquarters was officially opened by the Governor-General, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd). The Governor-General and Mrs Hurley are Joint Patrons of Soldier On.

“It is incumbent on all of us to help veterans transition back into society and to ensure they and their families have access to support. Australia owes a great deal to the men and women who serve in uniform and to their families,” the Governor-General said.

“The interests of our contemporary veterans and their families are at the very core of Soldier On’s work. These new premises will enable Soldier On to better support the Canberra region and the network of Soldier On teams around the country.”

Canberra Airport CEO, Stephen Byron said the organisation is thrilled to support our nation’s veterans with this partnership.

“We are proud to be a Principal Partner of Soldier On and recognize the importance of their vital support to those who served, and continue to serve, in the Australian Defence Force,” Mr Byron said.

“As one of the major employment hubs in Australia for Defence personnel, it is only appropriate that Soldier On’s headquarters is based here at Canberra Airport, where they and their families can access Soldier On’s Services.”

Soldier On Welcomes Sky News Australia as Official Media Partner

Soldier On has welcomed Sky News Australia as its newest official media partner in 2021.

The partnership will build on the organisations’ existing relationship to further support Soldier On and enable current and ex-serving veterans and their families to thrive.

In partnering with Sky News, Soldier On will receive the additional support needed to increase awareness of its life-changing support services to more members of the Defence and veteran communities as well as the Australian public.

The partnership will also provide an important avenue for the promotion of veterans’ affairs and encourage conversation across the nation.

“Soldier On is thrilled to welcome Sky News as an official media partner. Sky News has been an active supporter of the veteran community and Soldier On for many years and we look forward to collaborating further through this significant partnership,” Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said.

“With this partnership, Soldier On will not only be able to enhance the delivery of its support services but also enhance the national conversation of prominent veterans’ affairs, bringing greater awareness and acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by our service personnel and their families, their struggles and their triumphs,” Mr Slavich added.

“At Sky News, we recognise the varied experiences of our service personnel and acknowledge the need for greater support services for veterans and their families. In partnering with Soldier On, we hope to enable more veterans and their families to thrive with positive and impactful assistance in all aspects of their lives,” Sky News Australia, Chief Executive Officer Paul Whittaker, said.

“We are proud to be partnering with Soldier On and will continue to shine a light on the issues facing our veteran community to encourage important national conversations and meaningful outcomes,” Mr Whittaker said.

BGIS Takes to the Mountain to Prevent Veteran Suicide

This year, Soldier On supporter, BGIS took to the mountains as part of the March On challenge.

Soldier On’s March On challenge called upon Australians to walk 96 kilometres, the length of Kokoda, during the month of March to raise funds to help prevent veteran suicide.

Attracting more than 6,200 participants, 862 teams and 27 schools marching a total of 382,000km, the challenge raised more than $1.8 Million to prevent veteran suicide.

During March, members of the BGIS Defence team took on the Ten Aussie Peaks; Australia’s highest peaks all located in Kosciuszko National Park.

The four-day trekking challenge saw the team hike a total of 67km. A tremendous feat, the challenge saw participants conquer some of our countries most iconic peaks through extreme conditions, encountering ferocious headwinds of up to 70km/h, snow, hail, rain, flooding, and even white outs.

Thanks to generous donations from BGIS, their partners and individual supporters, the team raised more than $52,000, making BGIS the highest fundraising team throughout the March On challenge.

BGIS Managing Director – Operations, Defence & FMO, Brad Robbins, also raised an outstanding $11,232 for the challenge, making him the highest individual fundraiser across the campaign.

An avid supporter of Soldier On, BGIS has demonstrated its support for the veteran community through its own programs, as well as its ongoing partnerships with Soldier On as a Platinum Pledge Partner.

BGIS Managing Director – Operations, Defence & FMO, Brad Robbins said the team were thrilled to take part in the Mountain Challenge.

“This was a sensational experience for a truly worthwhile cause, and we enjoyed the team bonding and camaraderie that came with it,” Mr Robbins said

“To have raised such a huge amount means we will really make a difference for veterans and their families,” Mr Robbins added.  

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said he has been astonished by the outstanding efforts of the BGIS team.

“It has been fantastic to see a veteran supportive organisation getting out there and walking the walk against veteran suicide,” Mr Slavich said.

“Every dollar raised by the BGIS team will go directly to the services that Soldier On provides to our nation’s current and ex-service personnel and their families. With their help, and the help of all those who donated to the March On campaign, we will be putting on more Psychologists, more Counsellors, and offering more social connections services to help prevent veteran suicide” Mr Slavich added.

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.

SOLDIER ON’S NATIONAL GALA BALL RAISES MORE THAN $150,000 FOR VETERAN SERVICES

Soldier On has celebrated its 9th annual National Gala Ball at the National Arboretum Canberra, where more than $150,000 was raised in support of serving and ex-serving veterans and their families.

Led by media personality, Melissa Doyle, the premier black-tie event attracted more than 400 attendees and VIP guests. The event welcomed the most senior people in Defence, business and the community to raise money for Soldier On’s life-changing services.

This year’s event saw His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley deliver a memorable address to attendees, sharing the complexities of service in light of upcoming ANZAC Day celebrations.

“We should recognise that this generation has changed, evolved and built on the ANZAC legacy in a spectacularly successful way… If you take the words ‘Endurance’, ‘Sacrifice’, ‘Mateship’ and ‘Courage’ – the four words we talk about on ANZAC Day – How do you turn that into a way that you live your life as a country?” His Excellency asked.

“There are three aspects to that; give us a job to do and we do our best to get it done, give us a job to do and we will do it in a way that you will feel proud of us, while we are doing that we will look after our mates, and when we’re finished, we will look after them too. That, to me, is the ANZAC legacy. Soldier On lives that to its core,” His Excellency added.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich, said he was overwhelmed by the outstanding support that was received on the night. “It is fantastic to see so many influential members of the Defence and business communities coming together in support of our serving and ex-serving veterans and their family members,” Mr Slavich said.

“The funds raised at the National Gala Ball will allow Soldier On to deliver more of its services to our participants. We will be putting on more Psychologists, more counsellors, and offering more social connections services to try and help prevent veteran suicide” Mr Slavich added.

This year’s event is made possible by the support of Synergy Group Australia, the 2021 National Gala Ball Platinum Sponsor.

Synergy Joins Soldier On as Platinum Partner

Soldier On welcomes Synergy Group Australia as its Platinum National Ball Partner for 2021.

The National Gala Ball is a premier black-tie event attracting more than 500 attendees and VIP guests. The annual Gala Ball welcomes some of the most influential people in Defence, business and the community to raise money in support of serving and ex-serving veterans and their families.

As the event’s Platinum Partner, Synergy will contribute a total of $50,000 to the Soldier On mission.

Synergy’s partnership will allow Soldier On to deliver more of its services to a greater number of veterans and their families, enabling them to thrive in their transition from the Australian Defence Force into civilian life. This is achieved through Soldier On’s delivery of holistic services assisting individuals to build resilience, create and expand meaningful connections with family, community and employers through its health and wellbeing services, employment programs, learning opportunities and participation activities.

Synergy is one of Canberra’s largest and fastest growing consulting and contracting firms, specialising in the provision of services across Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments.

An avid supporter of Soldier On, Synergy has demonstrated its support for the veteran community through its own programs, with the implementation of a Veteran Recruitment Campaign and Veteran’s Assessment Centre which has seen the number of veterans within the organisation grow to over 10% of the growing workforce.

Synergy has also offered support to the veteran community through its ongoing partnerships with Soldier On by signing the Platinum Pledge, as well as being the Platinum Sponsor of the inaugural Golf Vet-AM.

Galia Cornish, CEO for Synergy Group, is a strong supporter of providing opportunities for veterans.

“Veterans are a fundamentally important part of our business and we really enjoy the energy they bring to Synergy. Our support of Soldier On reflects our ongoing commitment to assisting veterans and their families,” Galia said.

“Transitioning after years of dedicated service can be demanding, so creating opportunities to bridge between the Veteran – their values and beliefs, and Synergy’s values and our principles- based approach to business, is critical to providing a meaningful next step. The capacity of Veterans and their families to get on board and get on with each new challenge and opportunity has been admirable and shows the value that Veterans provide to businesses like Synergy Group,” Galia said.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich said Soldier On is thrilled to have Synergy as its 2021 Platinum National Ball Partner.

“Soldier On is extremely grateful for Synergy’s ongoing support. This partnership will not only work to assist current and ex-serving personnel and their families across the country, but it also sends a clear message that there are large organisations in our community who are proactively committed to supporting those who have served our nation,” Ivan said.

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.  

Matched Giving Doubles Donations

MEDIA RELEASE: Every dollar donated by the Australian public will be doubled by Soldier On corporate partners leading up to this year’s Remembrance Day.

Soldier On launched its third annual Stronger Together campaign today in the lead-up to Remembrance Day, 11 November 2020.

The 24-hour unique fundraising initiative in support of Australian contemporary veterans and their families will kick off at 10am today and continue until 10am on Tuesday 10th November when all public donations made to Soldier On will be matched by a host of the charity’s corporate partners.

In the lead up to Remembrance Day, the importance of supporting service personnel is at the forefront of the Australian community’s minds. Soldier On will be holding a 24-hour Australia-wide campaign to raise much-needed funds to strengthen our services around the country and ensure that all defence families across Australia are supported as best as they can be, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic that has impacted so many of our veterans and their families.

Solider On Australia’s CEO, Ivan Slavich, says “It’s no secret that 2020 has been a tough year for all Australians, with the devastating bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic, we have relied on the support of many of our servicemen and women – and in-turn their families – during these times. Now it’s time for the Australian public to show their gratitude. As a community – Australia needs to come together to ensure that our veterans and their families are adequately supported. They need us to show our support and come together so they’re stronger and stay connected.”

‘We need all Australians to give any funds that they can afford to help strengthen the reach of Soldier On’s support programs, for those who face significant and unique post-service struggles including difficulty finding work, post-traumatic stress disorder and feelings of isolation. Soldier On has proven that our programs are comprehensive and relevant to help our veterans and their families build better futures following their service.”

“Thanks to the generosity of our matchers, this campaign presents the ideal opportunity for Australians to show their gratitude to those who have fought in our nation’s defence, because every dollar donated will be doubled during the 24 hour campaign,” adds Mr Slavich.

Australian philanthropist Dr Chau Chak Wing said: “From my visit to Soldier On, I came to understand the problems and challenges faced by our veterans and their families in their daily lives. I am proud to support such an important campaign and I encourage everyone to show more care and support for veterans and their families.”

Soldier On is a leader in supporting those who have served and continue to serve in the Australian Defence Force. With an exemplary track record of providing practical and emotional assistance critical to building successful post-service lives, Soldier On is recognised as an essential first port of call for veterans and their families as they transition from the Defence Force to civilian life.

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