Matt Education Soldier On Pathways Program education support

Ambitious Army Veteran upskilling to step into Cybersecurity career

Matt is no stranger to the importance of security, having worked in the Army for over 5 years. On leaving Defence, Matt wanted to find a long-term meaningful career. Initially working multiple jobs whilst searching for his future career pathway.  

6 years on, Matt has set his new career in Cyber in motion – thanks to his determination, the support of Soldier On’s Pathways Program and the free online learning opportunities available to Veterans via IBM’s SkillsBuild platform.

Matt joined the Australian Army to make a positive difference in the world. Working as a Chef, his military career highlights included cooking for the troops in East Timor and completing adventure leadership training to help lead others. After leaving the Army, Matt transferred to the reserves and then to inactive, to enable him to spend more time with family, as he was also working 2 – 3 jobs at a time.

Transitioning out of the Army, Matt maintained his passion and flair for cooking. Working as a Chef at the prestigious 5-star hotel, the Stamford Plaza hotel, alongside work as a Chef cooking for those living in Aged Care, where he continues to have a positive impact on others’ lives.

At the same time, Matt set about researching future career options to find something that would set him up for a secure and rewarding career. That’s when he reached out to Soldier On and his future career goals began.

“A friend mentioned Soldier On, I had a look and found the Pathways option, signed up and got connected from there. The Pathways team is helping out me out heaps – with fixing up my resume and the education side of things,” Matt explains.

“I’m now planning to pivot into Cybersecurity and utilise my skills and expertise that have been built up in the Army and Hospitality, and transfer them across into Cyber, where I will be able to analyse and tackle problems, finding solutions promptly.” he adds. 

Soldier On’s Pathways Program supports current serving and ex-serving ADF members and their families, with employment and education support. The Pathways education team help enable veterans and their families to get their skills recognised, upskill or retrain to achieve their educational goals and kick-start their new career pathway.

The Pathways team provided Matt with practical employment and education assistance, connecting him with the free digital learning opportunities which are available on the IBM SkillsBuild platform, via the Soldier On Pathways Program. This enabled Matt to upskill in areas he was interested in, which includes Cybersecurity courses.

Under the Pathways Program, over 3000 veterans and their families have access to online learning programs to gain digital and professional skills. The subjects covered on SkillsBuild span a wide range of topics which include web development, data management, customer support, cloud administration and cybersecurity.

Pathways Program Director, Prudence Slaughter explains; “Soldier On’s partnership with IBM is enabling more veterans and their families to upskill rapidly at no cost, in a wide range of courses as diverse as communications, cybersecurity, to health and wellbeing courses. We’ve found at this time of year more veterans and family member access Soldier On education support as they look to the year ahead and the possibility of a new year, new career.”

Joining the Soldier On Pathways Program helped Matt to pinpoint his career intentions, update his resume and set his future career direction in motion. Matt was able to get started straight away on building his cybersecurity expertise via the online learning available on IBM SkillsBuild.

“We are thrilled to see so many Soldier On veterans using the IBM SkillsBuild platform. Since it’s launch six months ago, Soldier On participants have completed more than 300 lessons with many focusing on building cybersecurity skills.”

“With a current job shortage in tech and the cybersecurity sectors, we are looking forward to seeing more Defence personnel, veterans and family members use the IBM SkillsBuild platform to upskill for the jobs of the future.” Jade Moffat, Corporate Social Responsibility Lead – IBM A/NZ.

“I’ve been really searching for the next step in my career over the past year. I delved into Cyber Security on SkillsBuild and have now set myself firmly on the Cyber Career Path,” explains Matt.

“I now want to step into the cybersecurity field for a stable and more rewarding career. A career where I’m learning more every day, with different opportunities of advancement and one where I can make more of a difference than I am now.” adds Matt.

Thanks to Soldier On and IBM’s partnership and the courses available on the digital SkillsBuild platform, Matt is now rapidly upskilling, fitting his online studies and career development around his current career as a Chef.

“I would definitely recommend other veterans to use SkillsBuild via Soldier On. It doesn’t just provide you with basic information and courses – the SkillsBuild platform has the resources on there to learn from scratch or upskill even further into a career path of your choice. There’s also mentoring and coaching available too,” Matt says.

“The cybersecurity courses are structured technical courses, which really helps you to learn the skills. It also comes hand in hand with practical work, so it’s not just theory. There’s some lab-based training on there, with more up and coming hands on projects – practical projects, learning experiences,” he adds.

As well as completing courses in cybersecurity, Matt is also undertaking professional development in a range of subject areas including completing a course in ‘Pedagogy’ – which is all about Learning how to learn; “I would recommend the Pedagogy course to anyone – I found it amazingly insightful, really relevant and a great resource for people just starting to study or learn online for the first time,” enthuses Matt.

“Don’t be intimidated by change and of learning new things. It’s never too late to learn something new and to steer your career in a different direction,” he adds.

For any veterans in a similar situation, Matt recommends contacting Soldier On to access the support available and discover the digital learning opportunities available on IBM SkillsBuild, via the Soldier On Pathways Program.

Soldier On helps with employment opportunities and the education support. The Pathways team are really helping to motivate me. They are helping me to see the light at the end of the tunnel – that they can help and I can do this,” Matt explains.

Matt is continuing to study and upskill rapidly. Completing online courses on the IBM SkillsBuild platform, fitting his studies alongside his career as a Chef, with a view to securing a role in cybersecurity in the new year.

About Soldier On’s Pathways Program Education support

To find out more about Soldier On’s education and employment support, or to access free online learning opportunities, via the IBM SkillsBuild platform, contact: education@soldieron.org.au

Pathways Program education and employment support is available to current and ex-serving ADF members, veterans, defence partners/spouses and defence family members.

About IBM SkillsBuild

The IBM SkillsBuild Program is a free digital platform from IBM that gives adults the opportunity to develop technology and professional skills regardless of background, education, or life experiences. 

To find out more about IBM SkillsBuild, visit www.skillsbuild.org

For free access to IBM SkillsBuild register with your Pathways Officer now to access the full suite of learning, industry accredited courses and additional services provided by IBM through its partnership with Soldier On. Register via education@soldieron.org.au

About Soldier On

Soldier On is a not-for-profit organisation delivering a range of services to enable veterans and their families to thrive.

Soldier On’s holistic support services include a range of mental health and wellbeing programs, employment support, and education programs, as well as participation and social connection activities centred around the needs of the Australian veteran community. The support Soldier On provides currently reaches more than one million Australian veterans and their families.

Further information is available at www.soldieron.org.au

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