The Invictus Games are on in full swing here in Sydney. Besides the excitement of hosting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, there’s also an increasing awareness of the challenges veterans face when readjusting to civilian life. One of the most challenging aspects is employment, and transitioning back into the world of business.
We sat down with Victoria Gosling OBE (a former Royal Airforce Group Captain, Helicopter Base Commander and now Sage Military Ambassador, Vicky worked with HRH The Duke of Sussex on the foundation of the Invictus Games and knows first-hand what it is like for veterans returning to corporate Australia) and Debbie Wall (VP of Sage Foundation) to discuss the issues affecting service members and veterans in Australia, and how and why individuals and businesses in Australia should step up in their support and help create real impact.
Here are the key things we learned:
- Veterans have some of the most sought-after skills required to be business leaders – chief among them being leadership, discipline, resilience, focus, and loyalty.
- Returning veterans who joined and left the military while they were young require a different, but equally important kind of support as compared to long-serving veterans.
- These are the 3rd Invictus Games that the Sage Foundation is supporting. Sage’s ‘Serving Heroes’ program and the recently launched ‘Sage Power 50′ (a unique showcase of 50 leading veteran run or owned businesses from across Australia, UK, US, and Canada) are really useful platforms for veterans.
- Losing their sense of belonging is amongst the biggest challenges that returning veterans experience.
- Technology plays a huge role in the lives of veterans – Sage’s software and other learning programs make it easier for returning veterans to build their professional skills and get into the workforce.
- Besides the veterans themselves, family and friends of the returning veterans (whether they’re wounded or injured, or not) are also affected. Organisations like Sage have a support structure in place for these family members as well – in case a veteran is injured, family members sometimes have to become the primary breadwinners.
- The Australian Government’s Department of Veteran Affairs appointed a Transition Taskforce, which has put together a remarkable report titled Improving the Transition Experience, which looks into:
- The barriers that prevent Ex-Service Organisations from effectively engaging with ADF members, the Defence and DVA to provide more effective support to ADF Personnel as they transition out of service.
- The model of mental health care while in ADF service and through the transition period to DVA.
- The efficacy of whole of government support to facilitate the effective transition to employment in civilian life of men and women who have served in the ADF.
- Most importantly, you can support veterans by:
- Buying tickets to the Invictus Games and watching the Games on TV.
- Volunteering with the Invictus Foundation.
- Donating to, and otherwise supporting portals like ‘Soldier On’ – a platform coordinating employment opportunities for veterans.
- Supporting veteran-run or veteran-operated businesses.
- Hiring veterans for your own business.