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