Mentor program empowering veterans to forge career success

SA Gov

A mentoring program that connects veteran community members with business leaders to help them achieve career success is now open, providing a pathway for Defence personnel and their partners to work towards their professional goals.

The Veterans SA Career and Business Mentoring Program enables currently transitioning and former Australian Defence Force (ADF) members, Reservists and Defence partners to connect with local industry leaders, develop critical skills and take the next steps in their career or business.

Members of the veteran community are paired with experienced South Australian business figures who share their knowledge and insights as mentors to unlock participants’ full potential and build mentees’ skills and confidence in the workplace.

The 2024 program, which is free, will run over eight months from April to November – an extension on the previous six-month program, with pairs working together on career planning, skills translation and business tips and networking.

Mentees are offered a choice of two program streams – Career and Skills Development or Business Development and Entrepreneurship – and matched with a mentor who best suits their individual needs.

Mentor applications are open to professionals from diverse backgrounds, such as small business, academia, and strategy and consulting, and have included former-serving ADF members wanting to give back to the veteran community.

Based on participants’ feedback, this year’s program has been expanded to feature monthly online workshops with expert guest speakers and program alumni to provide mentees even more support.

Now in its third year, 35 members of the veteran community have completed the mentoring program with participants going on to secure meaningful employment, seek new opportunities within the workplace and bring business ideas to life.

The program is part of a $2.1 million State Budget commitment to improve outcomes for veterans and their families, with a host of initiatives being rolled out.

South Australian-based Strategy and Business Coach, Christine Molitor from Be Sustained, will facilitate the program, using her extensive consulting experience to guide participants on what they want to achieve.

Applications to nominate for positions as either a mentor or mentee are now open and will close on 15 March 2024.

As put by Geoff Brock

This innovative program is a valuable stepping-stone for veterans wanting to gain new skills and experience as they transition into the workforce.

The program also supports families of Defence members by enabling partners to get involved and demonstrate their own unique capabilities gained through Defence life.

The connections made and networks built through the program will help those involved in the next stage of their professional careers.

Having direct access to leading industry figures and learning from business mentors will go a long way in improving long-term employment outcomes for participants.

As put by Veterans SA Director Chantelle Bohan

Each year, the Career and Business Mentoring Program is carefully designed to support the needs of currently transitioning and former ADF members and their partners to develop new skills and prepare for future careers and ventures post-service.

It is fantastic that this opportunity can be offered to another group of highly skilled and experienced individuals who can benefit from the program this year.

As put by RAAF veteran, founder of Emereas and 2023 mentee Kat Hare

When I was medically separated from the RAAF in 2022, I lost my identity, purpose and belonging. Business helped me regain my identity and purpose, but belonging was still absent.

I needed a mentor, someone who could sound board my ideas, challenge my plans and ask good questions that led to breakthroughs. I was matched with Paul, who gave me everything I needed.

My message to other veterans is the people, presentations and resources of the mentoring program will help you, no matter what stage of business you’re at.

As put by FireFlight founder, Spatial Scientific CEO and 2023 mentor Paul Dare

I’ve been through the entrepreneurial start-up process and know trying to get good advice can be very difficult.

It can be lonely starting a business and feeling like no one’s got your back, so I wanted to get involved in this program to help Kat on her own journey.

It’s satisfying to know I’ve been able to make a difference and point her in the right direction, even if it’s something small like new funding or network opportunities.

As put by Be Sustained CEO Christine Molitor

The mentoring program continues to foster a supportive, professional community and network that empowers members of the veteran community to embark on or build their career or business.

I am excited to watch and support a new group of participants learn from each other and form new professional and social connections that will help them achieve their future ambitions.

Photo (L-R) Paul, Kat’s assistance dog Charlzy & Kat

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