Karyn Hinder is the Founder of Working Spirit an organisation she set up to help veterans and serving personnel transition to civilian employment. This year Working Spirit is our Defence associated beneficiary and the genesis behind the theme for the 2018 event, Transition.
Life transitions are something we all experience, whether it is becoming a parent, supporting a sick child or partner, relocating, or embarking upon a new career. The threads of our lives reweave themselves often in unimaginable and unexpected forms. Army Art wanted to encourage a proactive engagement with what can be a difficult process, to assist people as they reorient themselves and move through any transition process, positively adapting to change.
Karyn, who has served for the past 25 years in both the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force, identified a key challenge faced by military personnel is the lack of understanding by civilian employers of military skill sets, and the perception that these skills are not transferable. After undertaking specialised training herself and being invited to observe a US Military transition platform as the guest of the US Chamber of Commerce, Karyn launched Working Spirit in November 2016.
Working Spirit works collaboratively with their clients to effectively translate skill sets from a military to a civilian context. Equally importantly Working Spirit engages with industry to showcase that each veteran has unique skills and demonstrates how these are translatable to a wide variety of sectors. One initiative, The Corporate Fellowship Work Experience Program, provides the opportunity for transitioning ADF members and veterans to create valuable connections and expand their networks, while demonstrating their skills and adaptability with the aim of increasing employment pathways and opportunities.
Karyn felt that existing services designed to support ADF personnel transitioning to civilian employment were incredibly limited and seized the opportunity to fill a gap. But as is often the case with great ideas, it was Karyn's personal experience of witnessing a very close friend and a serving colleague going through tough times dealing with the multiple stressors encountered in finding meaningful employment and adjusting back to mainstream life, which ignited her passion to assist as many veterans and serving members as possible.
Working Spirit’s goal is to raise awareness of veteran employability to businesses both in the public and private sector by highlighting the vast workforce potential of military veterans. Working Spirit wants businesses to capture the talent that comes from military service. Karyn's message to prospective employers, "military veterans have many intangible skills they bring to the table, over and above any technical skills."
Working Spirits top tip if you are thinking about moving from the military to a civilian career “plan your transition”. Karyn encourages transitioning ADF members to start to explore their options by attending Working Spirit Military to Civilian Career Summits two years from their transition so they can begin the process of learning how to communicate skill conversion, while networking and meeting companies keen to hire veterans.
Karyn's passionate about supporting military personnel and veterans and minimising the difficulties they may face adjusting back into civilian employment and Army Art is proud to support her in this endeavour.
We look forward to seeing you at the exhibition from the 24th - 26th August in support of Working Spirit, purchase your tickets for opening night here.