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The Pipeline Project

The project will create a pipeline from the supply of defence personnel and transitioning veterans through education to careers. The project will support 50 transitioning veterans to supply SA industry with a qualified, capable and healthy workforce. The pipeline “takes a whole of system approach, working to ensure transition and support mechanisms are in place and working together for the benefit of transitioning Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families”. The pipeline generates an enhanced capability to the ADF by building on the return of investment in service personnel training and experience by appropriately matching personnel skills and ambition, with market demand and appropriate education pathways to job outcomes.

Project Activities

The pipeline project will collaborate with Defence, Career Guidance experts, Veteran wellbeing agencies and industry (CITB) to generate a unique, holistic and economically efficient transition-employment model to:

1. Support defence personnel / transitioning members in their changing life circumstances

2. Supply Defence Industries and

3. Contribute to wider employment opportunities to bring return of investment (ROI) to non-defence industries and occupations in the form of a reliable, happy and healthy workforce.

4. Support Veterans holistically through career guidance in conjunction with their family unit

The pipeline is supported by SA veteran wellbeing initiative agencies, the Defence Forces Welfare Association and Open Door: Veteran Transition Integration Wellbeing initiative.

The project will create a pipeline of veteran supply to industry demand by innovatively (leading edge technology and assessment tools and processes) assessing veteran skills and experience through one to one coaching and support for the veteran and families (unique holistic family-based model), precise selection of transition pathways through education or employment.

Our key activities are to:

1. Identify veteran groups through the Open Door initiative whilst ensuring veterans receive the appropriate level of personal support.

2. Using credit recognition technology, The Australian Student Veteran Association (ASVA) will translate a military personnel’s service record and put it through a credit mapping framework. This process translates an individuals achieved skills, roles and experience and translate them into Private industry related skillsets and language.

3. Utilising this data, ASVA will align the veteran’s skills on a new portal in partnership with the Australian Veteran Employment Coalition (AVEC) to connect transitioning veterans with the corporate members of the coalition, and align directly with real job opportunities. The AVEC coalition represents some of Australia’s largest corporate employers including Westpac, Wesfarmers, Qantas, Woodside Energy, Australia Post and many more.

4. With this skill information, Meechi Road Consulting are able to ensure the evidence of learning from military service is translated to recognition of current competency and capability that translates to progression in career options. Led by Dr Mark Keough, and using leading technology, Meechi Road will ensure the best learning credentials including translation to educational RPL and micro-credentialling are assessed for specific job opportunities.

5. To contribute to veterans success training is carried out to support the individuals mindset shift whilst assisting them in understanding the language and differences between Military and Civilian life. This is completed utilising a transition training course called Mindright/Storyright.

6. Once the Veteran skills and pathways have been identified, they will be assigned a career/support coach from Getgood Consulting led by former Holden HR director Jamie Getgood. Utilising best practice methods that helped Holden in transitioning more than 86% of its workforce through the closure of the Automotive industry, Getgood Consulting will assist military employees on an individual basis to successfully transition them into new careers. A key focus is also to support other areas including community, relationships, health, and finances. Utilising the skills assessments, we take a 1 on 1 approach in focusing in on each employee’s key transferable skills (technical and behavioural) in line with a personality assessment to identify their strengths and career pathways to help redirect their career. We then partner with them and their family to support and coach them in their desired career direction. This coaching includes training and guidance in developing their core job searching skills (resume creation, Interview skills etc) for the next phase of their careers whilst also supporting them holistically if other matters in their life (Family, health, community).

7. To support career transitions and create real job opportunities, veterans will be offered pathways into civil construction, media, and communications as a result of an industry partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). Other opportunities will also be identified over the proceeding months with other industry partners and in line with the individuals career pathway.


Our aims are to

1) identify veterans seeking to transition or develop their qualifications,

2) undertake a skills assessment and credit mapping exercise to enhance their transition pathways,

3) personal and family transition coaching,

4) an assessment of current veteran entry pathways in SA,

5) wellbeing assessments, and

6) the establishment of an ongoing collaborative SA higher education working group.

Three South Australian universities, TAFE SA, and the Construction Industry Trade Board (CITB) are collaborating to support 15 defence personnel or transitioning members in their changing life circumstances. The pipeline is supported by SA veteran wellbeing research agencies the Military And Emergency Services Health Association (MESHA) and Open Door: Veteran Transition Integration Wellbeing research initiative.

The project will create a pipeline of veteran supply to industry demand by innovatively (leading edge technology and assessment tools and processes) assessing veteran skills, experience and ambition, one to one counselling and support for the veteran and families (unique holistic family-based model), precise selection of transition pathways through education or to employment and wellbeing monitoring for one year. This will include five university pathways (through veteran entry pathway programs) and 10 financially supported (CITB) trade positions in civil construction and data and communications. The support of transitioning veterans will create enhanced capability and improve Defence effectiveness by supporting the Total Workforce System (TWS) offering veterans versatility in their transition to education and employment.

A state-wide education to industry committee will be established and sustained over time. The committee will monitor veteran transition and innovate tertiary education opportunities, pathways and services to meet veteran and industry needs. Our network extends to Defence, Veterans Affairs, ex-service organisations, government, and industry. Collaborators include Veterans SA; Soldier On; Open Arms; the Australian Student Veterans Association (ASVA), RSL and the Defence Force Welfare Association (DFWA).

Enhancing skills recognition and providing transitional and study pathways to build Australian defence capacity will strengthen the defence sector, return the investment on veterans in the national workforce, and support veterans and their families after service. The pipeline we suggest is unique to Australia and is supported by the Defence Community Organisation (DCO) and Veterans SA. The activity will take a holistic approach to examine and research factors relating to a successful transition to and success in tertiary education on the journey to employment.

Higher education and sustained fulfilling employment are pathways out of the military and into a full and engaged lifestyle in civilian society. Transition has particular challenges for veterans. There is the loss of social networks, a sense of purpose, identity, and shift to an environment that is less regimented and controlled and where independent functioning is necessary. Many veterans transition successfully despite the challenges. Add mental health concerns and the range of difficulties in the transition to civilian life can include social isolation, family stress, and drug and alcohol abuse. Veteran skills and experiences are not well translated into civilian education and employment vocabularies subsequently creating marginalisation and a missed opportunity to build on the veteran’s investment as a productive and proficient citizen and employee.

In this project, we will pilot a holistic transition model – the pipeline – from transition through education to employment. We will study a range of wellbeing measures, contextualised within transition narratives (interviews). We will research how a tertiary education, as a pathway, can provide meaning, identity, and relevance to a veteran's life. Flinders University established the Military Academic Pathway Program (MAPP) in 2019[1], and UniSA runs The Invictus Pathways Program. We will research which programs work well and identify how we can leverage strategies, existing infrastructure, resources, and networks to enable a collaborative scaled approach for innovative and sustainable support services for Veterans and ADF personnel pursuing higher education in SA. The project team provides expertise in the equity and veteran experience, military identity, holistic approaches to physical and psychological wellbeing, and university education and pedagogy. Our research will enable us to develop recommendations to fill the current gap in Veteran-specific university services by adopting collaborative approaches to study. Further, we will explore the perspectives of university management, South Australia-wide, to examine the feasibility of reciprocal arrangements for resource and facility sharing, to support transition and academic success.

[1] Nominated Defence Industries finalist in 2020)

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