Is there a ‘Placement Service’ for employment of ex ADF?

READER QUESTION: Referring to “ADF transition services rolled out nationwide” for members and former member to civilian life, training etc. – my question is … Is there then a ‘Placement Service’ for employment of these ex members who are finding it difficult to find jobs? Is there such a register of potential employers looking for very skilled and intelligent enthusiastic employees?

There is a lot of training organisations out there, but at the end of the day, there is no connect to Job/Work Labour Hire organisations, very little opportunity of suitable employment.

I do know the government is trying to encourage employers to get onboard and a least give our former service members a fair go.

It is a tragic waste of such particular and special skills, either because potential employers are not aware – or they just do not have the opportunities to offer.

With your extended network I am hoping you might have some information in this regard.

Cheers, Chris Brown, OAM retd


Hi Chris.
Here are my thoughts….

What the government is doing (as per story you refer to) looks like a good idea and I think, given continuing support and time to mature, it could prove itself very worthwhile.

One thing I would say that I think reflects poorly on the govt/Defence’s commitment in this field, however, is their blanket ban on employment advertising in Defence newspapers, which has been in place for decades.

Just today, a Defence spokesman confirmed to CONTACT that the Service Newspapers have a long-standing policy not to accept recruitment advertising for employment outside of the Australian Defence Force.

“This policy recognises Defence is committed to investment in and retention of its skilled workforce,” the spokesman said.

“The Service Newspapers’ advertising conditions are periodically reviewed, and the most recent review resulted in no change to the policy on external employment advertising.

“For members who plan to discharge, the newspapers publish advertising for transition-related services, and articles on the Australian Government’s veterans’ employment initiatives and transition support services.”

So, their logic is that if external employers could advertise internally, then highly trained service members might be poached.

I say, if members are happy in their service they won’t be tempted to go anywhere (so it’s up to Defence to keep them happy) – until it’s really time to go – and at that point, employment advertising in their own newspapers could give them a good head start and peace of mind before they pull that pin.

That’s just my opinion, of course – but to me it is a logical extension of the government’s new-found, well-meant and commendable other initiatives in this field.

But here’s a shameless plug for potential civilian employers of highly skilled veterans – CONTACT will accept your employment-opportunity advertising ––– AT HALF OUR USUAL ADVERTISING RATES!

Chris, you also mention external employment and training services, of which there are many.

I’ll mention two here, which I am acutely aware of because one currently advertises with us and the other advertised in the recent past.

First is WithYouWithMe, which not only offers (free) training and mentoring to ex ADF and those who are thinking about getting out, but also invites industry people onboard as mentors.

They also run (free for job seekers) Veteran Career Expos, of which Sydney was the first, two weeks ago.

I popped in for a look see on that event and it blew my socks off. More than 100 ex- or getting-out-soon ADF – and a range of employers on site with more than 180 actual jobs to offer!

I only stayed an hour at that first event – yet I took pages of informative and actionable notes.

I think it’s a brilliant concept and well worth checking out. The next one is in Brisbane in February.

The second company I’ll mention is AgriLabour Australia, which has a specific veterans program called AgriVet, seeking to place ex-ADF in agriculture or agriculture-related positions.

I’d encourage any veteran or soon-to-be veteran to seek out these and other companies’ web sites and especially Facebook pages and keep track of everything they offer.

All that said, I feel your comments are skating very close to a suggestion that veterans should be handed jobs on a plate. I wouldn’t support that.

I’m a firm believer, as you are, that veterans are highly trained, skilled, motivated individuals with an excellent attitude to work and getting the job done – and any employer would be well advised and are being actively encouraged to take heed of any job application with ‘military experience’ appropriately outlined in it.

But, it’s up to every individual job seeker, whether veteran or not, to do their homework and present themselves appropriately for every single job they apply for. And part of that process is educating themselves, with appropriate assistance, on how to achieve this new mission.

Finding a job is no different to any military mission in terms of the basics of prior preparation and planning – and hard work in the execution.

With appropriate training, guidance and mentoring, backed up by military skills, knowledge and attitudes, every soldier, sailor and airman transitioning into the civilian employment marketplace could and should be better prepared and more competitive than most civilians.

That said too, however, anyone ‘just thinking about’ leaving Defence, would also be well advised to think long and hard about it.

Defence is fun and exciting when you’re young and keen – but when that shine fades or family commitments begin to bump up against a frequent posting cycle etc etc – the temptation to pull the pin can grow.

But my advice is to think long and hard before you lodge discharge papers.

Make no mistake about it – a Defence job is a good job – very well paid (by comparison to most similar civilian employments – and, really, only the Public Service comes close in this regard), with extra allowances up the wazoo, free medical and dental, subsidised housing (rental or own), plus this and that and the other. The overall ‘package’ simply cannot be matched by most employers.

And, if you grow really really tired of the current job you’re in, consider a corps transfer or even a service transfer before discharge.

But do not assume ‘getting out’ is going to be easy – or better.

Actually, the ‘getting out’ part is relatively easy (except for the new-career-unfriendly six-months-notice bullshit) – it’s the ‘what next’ that’s the hard part – the new mission, which will not be handed to you on a plate.

You have to seek new mission training, plan and prepare, then execute – and then compete for limited positions against the 6000 or so other veterans leaving Defence every year as well as hundreds of thousands of school and university leavers!

If that sounds daunting – it is. And it’s also the reality.

But, with proper training, guidance, planning and preparation – and a good attitude – you will be very competitive in that field.

But you do have to get out there and compete. It will never be handed to you.

But then – when you do get a new job, the ‘culture shock’ can be another biggie.

You could easily regret leaving ‘the brotherhood’.


Anyway, that’s my two cents worth, since you asked ?

Brian Hartigan








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