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On the eve of ANZAC Day, Australia’s leading provider of veteran entrepreneur and business support programs, Frontline Labs, is calling for drastic change in the way we view and support our veterans.

The truth is that not all veterans are broken, however, the current support system for former personnel and their families transitioning into civilian life is primarily focused on medical and health support - ignoring the vast majority of veterans, and their spouses, who have the necessary skills to build their own businesses.

Frontline Labs’ purpose is to provide veterans and their spouses with an opportunity to unlock their potential by utilising the power of education, training, and mentorship.

All of Frontline Labs’ programs are free for veterans and spouses, including Australia’s first ASQA accredited unit of competency designed with Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and veterans called Developing, Testing and Selling Business Ideas to Potential Investors.

Frontline Labs’ Partnerships and Development Manager, Mark Leatham, is a 28-year veteran of the ADF with a further 12 years in the RAAF Reserves. Following his transition from the ADF, Mark was diagnosed with a mental health condition and suffered numerous physical injuries, but despite these challenges, he utilised his military skills and experience to climb the corporate ladder, holding senior positions at Toll Group, Fujitsu, and Accenture.

Mark passionately believes that veterans are being underutilised in the Australian workforce.

“To be honest I am sick of hearing the narrative that all veterans are broken. “It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy for those not dealing with serious medical issues, it has an impact on your confidence and ambition.

“The current approach to transition largely ignores more than 80% of veterans who are not suffering serious health issues and simply need help to build a career, avoiding the common mental and physical issues exacerbated by isolation.

“Despite the best of intentions, one would be hard pressed to find a veteran who thinks the current transition process works well. The same can be said for the existing RSL model, it’s simply not relevant to today’s veteran community.

“Military personnel should be considering the next step in their career at least 2 years before they transition out, but too few have any plan for what comes next. That is doing a disservice to the brave men and women who have sacrificed for our country,” Leatham said.

Frontline Labs will primarily focus on veterans with 5 to 6 years of service and their spouses, who have developed strong skills in areas like project management, operational planning, new technologies and problem solving.

Mark said that these veterans are used to performing under pressure, but Australian employers are not utilising these skills despite the skills gaps in our economy.

“The core attributes and skills of our veterans and their spouses are the fundamentals of what is required to start up, to run or help to run a successful business.

“It’s time for a change in the way we support our veterans and at Frontline Labs, we are changing the game,” Leatham said.

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