Advocating for Defence families

Update on ADF Partner Employment

There has been a lot happening in the last few months behind the scenes to address the issue of employment for our Defence partners so we thought it was time for an update.

Defence acknowledges that this issue is important and needs to be looked at from a big-picture perspective, with a long term program planned out thoroughly from the start.

That’s why you haven’t seen anything yet as the consultants they’ve engaged are analysing all the data that exists related to partner employment.

They’re looking at data ranging from survey results, demographic data, through to research reports on programs overseas. They want to understand who we are, where we’re living, what we’re doing and the challenges.

The consultants also want to understand what success looks like for a partner employment program. And how can that success be measured and what’s the most cost-effective way to achieve it? These are important things to know the answers to not just because evidence results in good decision making, but because it’s an issue that we need to find lasting solutions to.

So how does DFA’s initiative fit into this larger work by Defence? I am meeting with the consultants regularly to ensure our work is complementary.

Longer-term decisions about our initiatives will be made at a later date. You may have seen that we advertised for a new position to further our work in this space for the next 12 months. This person has just started and we are currently planning their priorities in the role.

Preliminary employment data from the 2019 ADF Families Survey has been shared with us (the final report is expected to be released early 2020) so we have a fairly good idea of the top three occupational groups that you are currently employed in. A big thank you to all the partners who completed that survey as it means we understand you better and can be more targeted in the relationships we have with employers for example.

I’ve written before asking for your patience about partner employment and I ask for it again because it takes time to figure out a long-term approach to an issue this complex. It’s too soon to say what this long-term program will look like but it’s likely to include a number of strategies. I know you can’t see anything yet but I’m really hopeful for what lies ahead.

We would also like to acknowledge the many ADF partners who have given their time and expertise to help us with this important advocacy work. We could not have done this without you.

Maree Sirois
DFA National Convenor

National Convenor Defence Families Australia Maree Sirois

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