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Veterans a smart choice for your business

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Veterans a smart choice for your business

Allied Express CEO Colin McDowell

Veterans present a range of benefits to employers looking to fill key skills gaps, as Allied Express CEO Colin McDowell can attest first-hand.

If you’re in the business of hiring people, you’ll understand the difficulty of finding the right people, with the right attitude to fill skills gaps in your workforce. Increasingly, Australian businesses are looking for more strategic ways to ensure the sustainability of their workforce, keep costs efficient and diversify their workforce.

Each year, around 5,500 ADF members leave service and around 70 per cent decide to pursue careers in civilian workplaces. Highly trained, professional, committed and work-ready, veterans are often ignored as potential candidates. But they shouldn’t be.

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Businesses like Allied Express are reaping the benefits of looking to this talent pool to bolster any workforce. Gareth Ballantine joined Allied Express after a successful 13-year military career in the Australian Army. Bringing with him strong leadership and problem-solving skills, he applied his experience to the role of fleet manager for over 250 vehicles.

Gareth continues to demonstrate his ability to get the job done, get it done safely and deliver results. His skills, many of which are attributed to his time in service, are now applied to a national operations role, overseeing the processes of the largest privately owned transport business in Australia.

“The army was about structure, rules and processes as much as it was about being a team player and being there for your mates. Working at Allied Express has given me the opportunities to apply the things I learnt in the army to another context. The army has equipped me to make crucial decisions that have a real impact on the success of the business. The transport business is constantly moving and my role has been adapting and moving with it,” Gareth said.

The important work of demonstrating to Australian businesses that veterans are a great asset to employers is being undertaken by the Prime Minster’s Veterans’ Employment Program. As founding members, Allied Express is joined by other private sector companies on the Industry Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment. Together, the committee is shaping the recruitment landscape for veterans transitioning out of the ADF.

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Military personnel pride themselves on their responsiveness, problem-solving skills, teamwork and ability to work in high-pressure environments. They are leaders and rapidly adapt to new environments and technologies. What employer would not appreciate those skills?

If you haven’t considered veterans as part of your strategic workforce plan, I encourage you to start. You won’t look back.

Colin McDowell is CEO of Allied Express, and also sits on the Prime Minister’s Industry Advisory Committee on Veterans’ Employment.

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Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016. 

The two-time Publish Awards finalist has an extensive journalistic career across business, property and finance, including a four-year stint in the UK. Email Adam at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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