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Pathways Participants find meaningful employment with Thales

As a multinational organisation with nearly 4,000 employees across 35 sites around Australia, Thales delivers innovative solutions in a range of sectors, including Defence, air traffic management, sovereign space capabilities, and security systems and services. 

Being a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force, Thales understands not only the unique challenges that veterans face when entering a civilian career but also the value that they bring into the workplace. 

Thales signed as a Gold Pledge Partner back in July of 2021. Since then, the organisation has remained devoted to providing an attractive and supportive workplace for ex-service personnel and their families, offering numerous significant employment opportunities to the veteran community, having recently hired a number of Soldier On participants.  

“Our goal is to grow our partnership with Soldier On and bring on as many veterans as we can, as they understand the industry and what it entails,” says David Zhang, Talent Acquisition Business Partner at Thales. 

Four of the most recent Soldier On participant hires include Patrick Hanley, hired as a Safety, Security & Systems Coordinator in the Northern Territory, Joana Dela Cruz, hired as a Customer Service Officer in South Australia, and Nick Di Martino and Graeme Klepzig, both hired as Storage, Distribution & Maintenance Employees in Tasmania and New South Wales. 

Patrick previously worked as a Military Working Dog Handler and Protective Security in the RAAF for 14 years. He was introduced to Soldier On during his separation from Defence in 2021.  

His responsibilities include implementing and administering site-wide safety and security practices, coordinating and delivering training programs, ensuring regional compliance, and conducting safety and security risk assessments to ensure the overall success of his site in Darwin. 

“Soldier On was amazing, as they initially contacted me regarding this position with Thales. The transition was a bit difficult at first, having come from Defence to being a civilian on a Defence base. Seeing the same people I served with only three months prior took some getting used to. However, my role with Thales is so similar to what I was doing in my final years at the RAAF that it was fairly easy to get into the swing of things.”  

Tony Smith, who works as a Regional Manager for Thales, says, “Soldier On’s Pathways Program is one of the many avenues for Thales to gain access to quality candidates looking to maintain a connection with Defence, who for one reason or another are now looking for an alternative career.  

Tony explains, “Defence personnel looking for alternative employment often under-sell themselves, but with the right guidance and advice from Soldier On, they can continue to achieve great things for Australia in the Defence Industry.” 

Likewise, Graeme came from a similar background when starting his new role as a Storeman with Thales. Originally introduced to Soldier On through Open Arms, Graeme said the transition into Thales was made smooth and easy with the assistance provided by Soldier On Pathways Officers.  

He says, “I assist in providing our Navy, Army, and Airforce with the tools they need to do their jobs. It gives me great satisfaction knowing that I can still serve those who serve our country.”  

Luke Melton, Graeme’s Depot Operations Manager, says, “It has been a pleasure working with Soldier On to identify candidates, and we have a real winner in Graeme, proof that the relationship is a worthwhile investment for anyone seeking quality candidates to fill a role. Moving forward, I would be happy to consider more future candidates from Soldier On. If Graeme is anything to go by, we can’t go wrong.”  

Like many other services offered to the families of serving members, Joana first came across Soldier On through an ADF newsletter. After migrating to Australia in 2012, she found that being new to the Defence lifestyle was incredibly hard, having to relocate and start a new life from scratch. She stopped working after the birth of her youngest child back in 2017 and found that the support from Solider On when wanting to re-enter the workforce was not only helpful but essential. Through Soldier On’s support, Joana landed a Customer Service Role with Thales. 

She says, “I’m so grateful that Thales is a Defence contractor. Their understanding of Defence life could not be better than other companies outside the industry. Along with a very accommodating and supportive team, I can honestly say that the transition into my new role could not have been made smoother.”  

The success that has come from Soldier On’s partnership with Thales is a true testament to the power that comes from ESO and Defence partner collaboration. Soldier On is proud to celebrate its relationship with companies like Thales, who go above and beyond to provide long-term, tangible support for those who have served our country and their families.   

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