A Flying Start

Leaving the heat and technicolour of India’s Mumbai for Tasmania’s green and cooler climes, Sandesh started his new life in Australia working in the textile industry. 

While attending an Air Show five years later, Sandesh’s attention post aerial acrobatics was drawn to the RAAF information booth. Intrigued by potential new career options he approached the recruiters and not long after began a career with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) as an aircraft structural Technician on the AP 3C Orion and C27J Spartan. 

Sandesh enjoyed the growth and variety his job offered and though it required relocating every few years, with no wife or children at the time he was happy to go where the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) needed him. 

However, after being settled in Queensland at RAAF Base Amberley for two-and-a-half years and engaged to be married, Sandesh was reluctant to move again. When a posting to Newcastle came in August last year, he decided it was time to consider a future outside the ADF. 

With his wedding planned for December 2021, Sandesh gave himself three months to secure employment after discharging from the RAAF – while at the same time helping his wife settle into her new life and find work as a food technologist. 

Sandesh said he didn’t know how long it would take to secure a civilian job, however, with the help of Soldier On’s employment team, he acquired a position with Boeing Australia as an aircraft structure technician – a similar role he’d held in the RAAF. 

“Just before being posted out, I went to a Soldier On Pathway Network evening and spoke to Yvonne who helped me a lot with the transition process. This really opened my mind and increased my comfort level about succeeding on a professional and personal level outside the military. 

“Yvonne started from scratch – building my resume and guiding me through the process. After that, things moved very quickly and she put me in touch with Boeing Australia,” Sandesh said. 

“I had thought there wasn’t much I could do outside of Defence, but Soldier On helped me realise there were companies keen for my skills and experience,” he added. 

“Because of my work supporting Australian aircraft in-country, I was able to transition into Boeing’s structures team seamlessly, and while it is different; I could also continue servicing the defence industry. 

“Our commitment to the Soldier On Platinum Pledge helps us identify and attract talent across the aerospace business, whether from advanced manufacturing on commercial aircraft or research and development to aircraft maintenance and cyber security,” said Amy List, Director of Sustainment Operations, Boeing Defence Australia and the Executive Sponsor of the Boeing Veterans Working Group. 

“Our employees get just as much out of our involvement in the mentorship program as the veterans they’re supporting who are transitioning to civilian life. It’s a mutually fulfilling experience.” 

According to Sandesh, the skills veterans acquire during their time in the military are essential for any employer. He says communication and leadership qualities were significant contributors to his successful Boeing Australia application. 

“There are more promotional opportunities for me at Boeing, which offers a good platform to grow,” he said. 

“Boeing Australia like the skills I bring with me to the position, such as punctuality and the quality of work I offer. To find a stable and well-paying job during a pandemic is very difficult, and Boeing offered me both. They look after veterans very well,” he added 

“I’ve heard people say that the same level of opportunities aren’t offered outside the military, that I would have to have a pay cut and would go down rather than up. For a person like me who has no complaints about learning and working hard, finding a job with Boeing Australia was a great fit.” 

Sandesh said Boeing Australia were accommodating with his start date and allowed him time off to travel to India to get married, return home to Queensland and settle into his new life post-military. 

“Boeing were supportive of my wedding and happy for me to start in January this year. The first three months have been good and I feel very lucky to have found a job that I enjoy and is very similar to what I did with the RAAF.” 

“I was worried initially about going from Defence to a civilian role which can be difficult and take a long time. Things didn’t really change that much though because I’m still on a military base looking after aircraft – the main difference is my uniform!” he said. 

Senior Pathways Officer, Yvonne Dolman said working with transitioning members, veterans and veteran families is a unique opportunity. 

“I met Sandesh “Sonny” at our Pathways Networking Event. These evenings give transitioning defence personnel opportunities to meet employers in a relaxed but professional environment. 

“It’s a pleasure to collaborate with our pledge partners/Employers and introduce what opportunities are available to transitioning members. It’s not an easy decision to leave Defence, and we utilise our resources, knowledge, and experience to assist with their next career direction. It was a pleasure to meet, work with and support Sonny through this process, and I wish him all the best for the future,” she added. 

SOLDIER ON WELCOMES KONGSBERG DEFENCE AUSTRALIA AS PLEDGE PARTNER

National not-for-profit Soldier On welcomes Kongsberg Defence Australia as its newest Gold Pledge partner for 2021.

The Soldier On Pledge helps to create new employment pathways for veterans and their families transitioning from the Australian Defence Force into civilian life, in collaboration with veteran supportive companies like Kongsberg Defence Australia.

The Pledge gives organisations the opportunity to publicly thank Australian Defence Force personnel for their service and recognise the exemplary skills, leadership, and training of those who have served Australia.

Companies that sign the Soldier On Pledge commit to supporting Veteran employment and learning more about the skills and attributes that Defence personnel, veterans, and family members can bring to their organisation.

As the most recent company to sign the Soldier On Gold Pledge, Kongsberg Defence Australia joins more than 180 veteran-supportive companies working in partnership with Soldier On in 2022.

Kongsberg Defence Australia General Manager, John Fry said Kongsberg is pleased to have signed the Soldier On Pledge.

“Our people are very important to our success, and it is imperative we continue to demonstrate the company’s commitment to our veterans and their families.  Seventy percent of the employees at Kongsberg Defence Australia are former Australian Defence Force Personnel and signing the Soldier On Pledge as a Gold partner in conjunction with the Pathways Program, only further advances Kongsberg’s veteran-friendly and supportive workplace. We look forward to collaborating with Ivan and the team at Soldier On,” Mr Fry said.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich said Soldier On is delighted to welcome Kongsberg Defence Australia as its newest Gold Pledge partner this year.

“Soldier On warmly welcomes Kongsberg Defence Australia as a Soldier On Gold Pledge Partner. By signing the Pledge, Kongsberg Defence Australia commits to understanding the needs of the veteran community, recognising the impact that service has on the whole defence family, and doing what they can to support them. We look forward to working with Kongsberg Defence Australia to provide more employment opportunities to our serving and ex-serving veterans and their families,” Mr Slavich announced.

“The Soldier On Pathways Program helps veterans and their families to find and secure new employment and education pathways, enabling them to thrive. For every organisation that signs the Soldier On Pledge, we are one step closer to enabling more veterans and their families to secure their future careers post-service,” Mr Slavich added.

Toyota Finance Australia Commits to Support Australian Veterans

Soldier On welcomes Toyota Finance Australia (TFA) as its newest Gold Pledge partner for 2021.

The Soldier On Pledge partnership provides employment pathways for veterans and their families transitioning from the Australian Defence Force into civilian life.

The Pledge allows organisations to thank Australian Defence Force Personnel for their service and recognise the exemplary skills, leadership and training of those who have served Australia. Organisations that sign the Pledge commit to learning more about the skills and attributes that Defence personnel, veterans, and family members can bring to their organisation.

As the latest company to sign the Soldier On Gold Pledge, TFA joins more than 100 veteran-supportive companies working in partnership with Soldier On to enable veterans and their families to thrive.

TFA Vice President of Sales Daniel Chessari said, “becoming a Soldier On Pledge Partnerallows TFA to further support communities within Australia by providing employment opportunities to people with diverse skills & backgrounds.”

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich said Soldier On is honoured to welcome TFA as its newest Gold Pledge partner in 2021.  

“Soldier On is thrilled to have Toyota Finance join the Pledge. In signing the Pledge, Toyota Finance commits to understanding the needs of the veteran community, recognizing the impact that service has on the whole defence family, and doing what they can to support them in securing their futures. We look forward to working with Toyota Finance to provide greater opportunities to our serving and ex-serving veterans and their families,” Mr Slavich said.

UniSA Pledges Support to Australian Veterans

Soldier On welcomes The University of South Australia (UniSA) as its newest Bronze Pledge partner for 2021.

The Soldier On Pledge partnership provides a pathway for veterans and their families transitioning from the Australian Defence Force into civilian life.

The Pledge allows organisations to thank Australian Defence Force personnel for their service and recognise the exemplary skills, leadership, and training of those who have served Australia. Organisations that sign the Pledge commit to learning more about the skills and attributes that Defence personnel, veterans, and family members can bring to their organisation.

As the University of Enterprise for defence, UniSA has a longstanding relationship with the defence community in research and education.

UniSA Deputy Vice Chancellor Research and Enterprise, Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington, said becoming a Soldier On Pledge Partner would continue UniSA’s strong support of the defence community.  

“Our new Veterans’ Engagement and Education Program offers personalised study support to veterans, serving and ex-serving ADF members, including reservists, first responders, and immediate family members,” Prof Hughes-Warrington said.

“Through our Invictus Pathways Program, we are also providing wellbeing activities and allied health services to ex-defence force personnel,” Prof Hughes-Warrington added.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich said Soldier On is honoured to welcome UniSA as its newest Pledge partner in 2021.  

“The Soldier On Pathways Program works to provide employment opportunities to veterans and their families, enabling them to thrive. For every organisation that signs the Soldier On Pledge, we are one step closer to enabling more veterans and their families to secure their future,” Mr Slavich said.

“Soldier On is thrilled to have another active veteran supporter join the Pledge. We look forward to working with UniSA to provide greater opportunities to our serving and ex-serving veterans and their families,” Mr Slavich added.

RAYTHEON AUSTRALIA PLEDGES SUPPORT TO AUSTRALIAN VETERANS

Soldier On welcomes Raytheon Australia as its newest Platinum Pledge partner for 2021. The Soldier On Pledge partnership provides a pathway for veterans and their families transitioning from the Australian Defence Force into civilian life.

The Pledge allows organisations to thank Australian Defence Force Personnel for their service and recognise the exemplary skills, leadership and training of those who have served Australia.

Organisations that sign the Pledge commit to learning more about the skills and attributes that Defence personnel, veterans, and family members can bring to their organisation.

Raytheon Australia is continuing its partnership with Soldier On, signing the Pledge again in 2021. The company has been a Pledge partner since 2016. Raytheon Australia Managing Director, Michael Ward said they were thrilled to work closely with Solider On to continue their support of the veteran community.

“Raytheon Australia is committed to supporting our veterans and we are pleased to have been able to sign the Soldier On Pledge once again. Through our continued partnership with Soldier On, we are able to give back to the military community and assist veterans in transitioning into new career pathways,” Mr Ward said.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich said Soldier On is honoured to welcome Raytheon Australia back as its newest Pledge partner in 2021. “The Soldier On Pathways Program works to provide employment opportunities to veterans and their families, enabling them to thrive.

For every organisation that signs the Soldier On Pledge, we are one step closer to enabling more veterans and their families to secure their future,” Mr Slavich said. “Soldier On is incredibly grateful for Raytheon Australia’s ongoing support. Through signing the Pledge, Raytheon Australian acknowledges the diverse skillsets that our veterans acquire during their time with the Australian Defence Force and the value that these skillsets hold,” Mr Slavich added.

Built Joins the Soldier On Pledge in Support of Veterans

Soldier On welcomes Built as its newest Gold Pledge partner for 2021.

The Soldier On Pledge partnership provides a pathway for veterans and their families transitioning from the Australian Defence Force into civilian life.

The Pledge allows organisations to thank Australian Defence Force Personnel for their service and recognise the exemplary skills, leadership and training of those who have served Australia. Organisations that sign the Pledge commit to learning more about the skills and attributes that Defence personnel, veterans, and family members can bring to their organisation.

The newest signatory for 2021, Built, is a proudly Australian and privately owned diversified general contractor, with over 1000 employees nationally, and is one of Australia’s largest construction groups.

Upon signing the Pledge, Built General Manager ACT, Nadine O’Keeffe said they were thrilled to be able work closely with Soldier On to provide support to the veteran community.

“Supporting veterans and their families is something Built are very proud of. With both personal and community connections to serving and ex-serving Defence personnel, demonstrating our commitment via the Pledge signing is very important to us. As we partner with Soldier On, we look forward to providing and expanding our support, training and opportunities for veterans and their families.” Nadine said.

Soldier On CEO, Ivan Slavich said Soldier On is thrilled to have Built as its newest pledge partner in 2021.

“Soldier On’s Pathways Program is working in collaboration with companies like Built to enable veterans and their families to thrive. The more organisations that come on board by signing the Pledge and supporting the veteran community, the greater the impact. We are building a stronger Australia together – for every organisation that signs the Soldier On Pledge, we are one step further to enabling more veterans and their families to secure their future,” Ivan Said.

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