Advocating for Defence families

Resilience, adaptability, communication, time management, and social skills.

Amy Martin has kindly written this week’s guest blog post about how she was able to secure work with BAE Systems, one of our Defence Partner Friendly Employers.

Recently, I was reviewing a post shared by Defence Families Australia about their Defence Partner Friendly employer program. Curious, I clicked through and read about the checklist that explained the strategies that supporting employers have in place to assist Defence partner employment. Investigating further I found that BAE Systems was identified as a supporter of the program meeting all aspects of the checklist.

I decided to take a look through what vacancies they had available and was pleasantly surprised to find a role that ideally suited my career direction and current lifestyle. I looked more into the benefits, opportunities and culture of the organisation and decided to apply.

Previously, when writing job applications, I have found myself omitting some of my experience as it hints to my Defence ties. Unfortunately, in the past, I have found some employers make assumptions about me based on my partner’s career. Misconceptions like “you won’t be here long, so it isn’t worthwhile hiring you” and “changing employers or gaps in employment make you seem unreliable”. I even had one perspective manager flatly say “I don’t hire Defence spouses!” Fortunately, on this occasion, I confidently highlighted my Defence involvement feeling secure with the knowledge that BAE Systems had supported the Defence Partner Friendly initiative.

The interview process was incredibly positive. With the interviewers actively asking me about all of my experience including my involvement within the Defence community. They made me feel very comfortable with sharing my past experiences and even asked me to elaborate on areas previous employers never asked me about, e.g. my involvement as a Local Family Representative for Defence Families Australia, and being awarded a RAAF Bronze Commendation from the Air Commander Australia in recognition of my efforts in supporting the Defence community. The whole experience was extremely positive, and without even the mention of “What does your partner do?” (Which we all know is not allowed but doesn’t stop some employers from asking!)

Now I am writing this blog post to you as the new Learning Partner for BAE Systems! BAE have been very approachable and supportive. During the application process my partner started a deployment overseas, and with two children at home, anyone would be nervous about starting a new role. However, BAE have been so welcoming, and incredibly understanding of the circumstances. They have allowed me to adapt my work hours and offer work from home opportunities to suit my family situation.

On past relocations I have had to take backwards steps, sometimes leaps, in my career just to get employment. The whole situation can be so disheartening making you question your abilities.

My best piece of advice for anyone looking for work is to assess your experience and realise the skills you have developed that employers are looking for: resilience, adaptability, communication, time management, and social skills. All skills developed by Defence spouses due to the nature of changing and adapting to different situations and environments. Recognise and embrace these skills and strengths! And if you need help in doing this reach out to a recognised Career Development Practitioner.

My future is looking bright with an incredible employer in a career position I want to be in! As a global employer with sites all over Australia and the ability to take on flexible working arrangements, I have no doubt that I can advance my career with BAE long term.

Thank you to DFA for sharing that post and creating the Defence Partner Friendly Employer guidelines. Without it, I may never have discovered this fantastic opportunity!

We recently held a webinar which looked at support for ADF Partners in relation to employment. Read more here and access a recording of the webinar.

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