In June 2020 the BAE Systems Veterans Advisory Committee (VAC) was established to assist BAE Systems Australia in all aspects of decision making regarding Veterans employees and their families.
The purpose of the VAC is to provide appropriate advice and governance to BAE Systems Australia’s leadership and employees on the issues facing veteran employees and their families today and into the future.
Our Veteran Charity Partner
BAE Systems Australia partners with Soldier On
to support the health, employment and rehabilitation of Australia’s veterans, service personnel and their families.
Soldier On is a leading support services provider working side by side with those who serve and protect Australia and their families. Soldier On facilitates a range of health and wellbeing, education, employment and social programs to target some of the key issues service personnel, veterans and their families face with integration into civilian life.
BAE Systems Australia has been supporting Soldier On since 2015, and we are honoured to be the primary supporter of the veteran volunteering program Serving On.
Serving On supports veterans to build skills, resilience and connection through meaningful volunteer work and involves monthly projects in various locations, in collaboration with other community-based organisations.
“Having served this great country I am proud to lead a company that is committed to supporting our veterans as they move from service to civilian life”
- Gabby Costigan CEO, BAE Systems Australia
Supporting veterans beyond service
BAE Systems Australia is a proud employer of Australian veterans. More than 10% of the 4,500 strong workforce has served in the Army, Air Force or Navy.
The unique set of skills and experiences they bring to BAE Systems Australia are utilised across all areas of the business. Having served their country they are uniquely placed to contribute to the continued protection of lives and making a difference where it counts.
BAE Systems Australia offers specific recruitment services and programs for veterans when they join the BAE Systems team, and also works in partnership with Soldier On, Right Management and the RSL to ensure the successful transition of Australian veterans back to civilian society.
BAE Systems is fortunate to have many veterans within our business bringing not only a variety of skills, but a working knowledge of the defence force that allows us to better understand the needs of our customer.
Meet some veterans working across our business today.
After finishing his service in the Army, Mat found it challenging to return to civilian life
"I didn’t really know what I wanted to do because my whole life growing up I wanted to be in the army"
After five years in the Australian Army, including active service in Afghanistan, Mat felt lost when he returned to Australia and civilian life.
“I found the transition at first a little bit hard. I was lost. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do because my whole life growing up I wanted to be in the army. I got out and did some labouring jobs but I didn’t really like it. I thought I wanted to go down one of two paths, either defence or becoming a police officer,” Mat said.
After having some time away from the Army, it was getting back to the Reserves that gave Mat both a sense of purpose and a path to his career at BAE Systems Australia.
“The Reserves really set me on the right track. It led me to my role at BAE where I have been for about a year now, and I get such a sense of achievement from still wearing the uniform, but not full time.”
As a Field Service Representative at BAE Systems Australia, Mat fully utilises the skills he gained in the Army. In his service role he drove armoured vehicles, ensuring personnel were able to move safely in conflict zones. He now works in the BAE Systems workshop on the maintenance and development of armoured vehicles, including the new semi-autonomous vehicles.
“Every single day I have learnt new skills which is what I like about my role. Every day is a little bit different, so I don’t get bored. I get to work with a great team and really cool machinery and I’m starting a trade qualification soon. I really feel supported and like I am being set up for success.”
One of the main reasons Mat left the armed forces was to regain work life balance and to create a stable home with his now fiancée.
The pair has recently finished building their first home together and are planning a wedding for 2022. With a stable career and home life, Mat says having some time off was really what he needed to re-set when he left the Army.
“Picking the right career and focusing on family was what helped me. A lot of people work in BAE Systems Australia who have a defence background. They really value the skills and experience we bring, and being a reservist helps me to continue to wear both caps,” Mat said.
When the time came to leave the Air Force, Claire was questioning her decision but decided to take the risk
"I think not being afraid to take that risk is important, as well as not sticking to your mould"
Having grown up in a military family, where her parents even met in the Air Force, Claire knew from an early age that she was going to serve. She even went to a high school specialising in aviation, such was her determination to serve in the Royal Australian Air Force.
When she found herself thinking about leaving the Air Force a number of years later, she said it was a decision she initially questioned, but in the end felt she needed to take the risk.
“I think not being afraid to take that risk is important, as well as not sticking to your mould. I was an Intelligence Officer and now I’m a Commercial Officer and those things don’t normally go hand in hand nor lead to the other,” she said.
“But I’m fortunate that BAE Systems Australia was able to recognise the broader skills I bring to the business. Don’t feel you need to stick to what you’ve always done. Take a risk and do something different.”
She has also been able to continue her studies while at BAE Systems, building on the Bachelor of Business she completed while in the Air Force.
“I am finishing my Masters of Law, majoring in Corporate, Commercial and Taxation Law. It’s a bit dry for some people but I thoroughly enjoy it. BAE Systems has been supportive by giving me time off when I need time to study or attend face to face lectures, knowing that it ties back into my role and future within the organisation,” she said.
While Claire said her studies and all of the new leisure activities she has taken up in the Macquarie region have helped her to transition from the Air Force to civilian life, she said the newly formed Veteran’s Advisory Committee at BAE Systems had also been a big help.
“There were a lot of veterans around but there wasn’t much cohesion. You never really knew who was a veteran until they opened up about it. I think being part of the Veteran’s Advisory Committee which started last year is really working to change that,” she said.
The committee is focused on recruitment of veterans, engagement with organisations like Soldier On that help people transition from the forces, and mentoring to ensure that everyone has the support of someone who has been through the same experience.
Glenn left the Navy in search for stability when he could stay in one place for longer
"You don’t have to sacrifice everything you get from the defence force to be in the defence sector"
Having spent 22 years as a submariner in the Australian Navy, Glenn Ireland knew he wanted to keep his connection to the water and the defence sector when he became a civilian.
Working as a training lead at BAE Systems Australia, Glenn trains sailors in how to operate a range of leading technology on the latest ships. Based at the Osborne shipyard in Adelaide, he has been able to blend his defence expertise with a relaxed, coastal lifestyle.
“I left the Navy because I wanted stability and I wanted to stay in one spot for more than two years,” Glenn explains.
“But you don’t have to sacrifice everything you get from the defence force to be in the defence sector - they speak the same language, come from the same background, have the same values. It’s been an easy transition to that environment.”
For someone who joined the Navy the very day he left school, the transition to civilian life was made easier through choosing to work in the defence sector and maintaining that link to the armed forces.
“I loved the Navy as much the day I left as the day I joined. It was the right job for me. But I no longer wanted to live in Perth, so I thought I’ll leave the navy and it made sense for an ex-submariner to come to a city that has a submarine shipyard. I bought a house next to the submarine factory. It just made sense to me,” he said.
Jeremy left the Australian Army after serving for 13 years
"For me, I needed to really reflect on what I needed to be fulfilled in my civilian life"
When Jeremy Satchell left the Australian Army after serving for 13 years, he knew that it wasn’t about replacing one job with another, it was about building a completely new life and lifestyle.
In his own words Jeremy chose to work at BAE Systems Australia because there is an ability to ‘choose your own adventure’.
“The scale of the business and the success of the business over many years, has allowed us to be very diverse and that presents us with opportunities on a day-to-day basis.
"You may start in one area of the business and can end up working within another completely different program.”
Working as the Australian Industry Business Development Manager within the global access program, Jeremy helps SME’s to explore export opportunities within the global BAE Systems network.
Reflecting on his transition from the Army to civilian life, Jeremy explained that maintaining a sense of service was really important.
“One of the key reasons I wanted to join the military was to serve my country. To me service means giving back to the nation, to your community, to your family. The way I felt I could do that best was by putting on a uniform. A sense of service is in every Australian,” he said.
“For me I needed to really reflect on what I needed to be fulfilled in my civilian life and I was able to achieve that by volunteering with Soldier On, working at my local children's school, fulfilling army reservists duties and joining my local football club.”