In­vic­tus shows the re­silience of peo­ple who de­fend our way of life

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - OPINION OURS & YOURS - GE­ORGE FRAZIS

EACH and ev­ery day veter­ans are mak­ing a unique con­tri­bu­tion to West­pac.

We’re for­tu­nate to em­ploy more than 400 veter­ans, re­servists and spouses of Aus­tralian De­fence Force per­son­nel right across our busi­ness and I’m proud to say I’m one of them.

While my days are now spent run­ning West­pac’s con­sumer bank, I was once a mem­ber of the Royal Aus­tralian Air Force.

It was a time of great change. As an en­gi­neer, I was tasked with work­ing on our Hor­net fight­ers, which had re­cently re­placed the Mi­rage. Get­ting these in­cred­i­ble air­craft ready for my col­leagues was a priv­i­lege and an ex­pe­ri­ence I’ll never for­get.

I now get to take all the lessons of this time of my life and ap­ply them to my day job. I’m also lucky enough to share them with West­pac’s vet­eran work­force, a group which is al­ways grow­ing and one we are in­cred­i­bly proud of.

It’s for this rea­son that West­pac is proud to be a pre­mier part­ner of the In­vic­tus Games Syd­ney 2018.

We want Aus­tralians across the na­tion to ex­pe­ri­ence what we see ev­ery day — veter­ans giv­ing their best, con­quer­ing new chal­lenges and in­spir­ing those around them.

The In­vic­tus Games har­nesses the power of sport to in­spire re­cov­ery, sup­port re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and gen­er­ate wider un­der­stand­ing and re­spect across the com­mu­nity for those who serve their coun­try.

I think it’s also the per­fect plat­form to start a con­ver­sa­tion about the is­sues fac­ing the de­fence com­mu­nity, in par­tic­u­lar the hur­dles veter­ans face when it comes to em­ploy­ment.

Veter­ans pos­sess unique skills and ex­pe­ri­ence, bring­ing enor­mous value to both the pub­lic and pri­vate sec­tor.

With ex­cel­lent lead­er­ship and prob­lem solv­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, re­silience, agility and the abil­ity to op­er­ate in com­plex and highly pres­surised en­vi­ron­ments, the ben­e­fits of hav­ing veter­ans as part of the civil­ian work­force can­not be un­der­es­ti­mated.

In Novem­ber 2016 Prime Min­is­ter Malcolm Turn­bull launched his Veter­ans’ Em­ploy­ment Pro­gram. One of its six ini­tia­tives is an in­dus­try ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee, which I’m proud to chair. The com­mit­tee is con­stantly look­ing for prac­ti­cal ways to help busi­nesses at­tract and ben­e­fit from the in­cred­i­ble skills and ex­pe­ri­ence of our veter­ans.

West­pac is al­ways try­ing to bring more veter­ans, re­servists and spouses into our work­force, but we also want to en­sure we are pro­vid­ing the right sup­port for them.

This work is led by a ded­i­cated West­pac team, com­prised of veter­ans, re­servists and part­ners of cur­rent serv­ing Aus­tralian De­fence Force mem­bers. Through this group we have a fo­cus on at­tract­ing, re­cruit­ing, re­tain­ing and men­tor­ing veter­ans, and on sup­port­ing spouses and pro­vid­ing over­all fam­ily sup­port.

My time with the RAAF taught me about the power of adapt­ing, mov­ing with speed and of the need for sound de­ci­sion mak­ing — all lessons which have kept me in good stead in the cor­po­rate world.

And while I found a mean­ing­ful ca­reer out­side the De­fence Force, there were oth­ers who couldn’t.

I know that can change though, which is why I en­cour­age busi­nesses across Aus­tralia to give veter­ans, re­servists and spouses an op­por­tu­nity.

The De­fence Force is all about tech­no­log­i­cal dis­rup­tion, cross-func­tional teams solv­ing prob­lems, and un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance of pur­pose and achiev­ing your mis­sion.

Ev­ery year 5500 peo­ple leave the De­fence Force and these great men and women have the abil­ity to make a spe­cial con­tri­bu­tion to a range of in­dus­tries.

It isn’t just about find­ing veter­ans a job, it’s about en­sur­ing that the men and women who have served and sac­ri­ficed to de­fend our way of life are able to find new, ful­fill­ing ca­reers in what­ever they choose to do.

Or in the case of the In­vic­tus Games, find challenge, op­por­tu­nity and ful­fil­ment through sport while help­ing to gen­er­ate wider ap­pre­ci­a­tion and un­der­stand­ing of the strength and re­silience of our veter­ans.

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