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Meet Phil

Phil served in the Defence Force for eight years before looking for his next opportunity. Here he explains how he transitioned his skills and experience to corporate and why he chose Westpac.

Phil Milton
Information Security Manager
Security Controls Assessment, Information Security Group

What was your role in the Defence Force?

I was a Leading Seaman Communications and Information Systems sailor in the Royal Australian Navy. My main responsibility was supervising a small team of sailors who kept watches in the communications centre and on the bridge, encrypting, sending and receiving all the relevant signals and intelligence to and from the ship. 

How did you find the transition from the defence force to corporate?

I have been out of uniform for eight years. The hardest part of the process was getting recruiters and companies to understand my experience. The training and operations I took part in during my service gave me the ability to adapt to new environments. I had also developed a good level of self-awareness, I knew my strengths and weaknesses, so I knew I could contribute to an organisation, I just didn’t know where. 

When and how did you join Westpac? How have you been finding it?

In early 2018 I attended a seminar organised by WithYouWithMe (WYWM) at the Sydney Maritime Museum. After conducting a skills assessment, they organised five “speed date” interviews with prospective employers, and Westpac was one of them. I was impressed with Westpac’s presentation by their Chief Information Security Officer, Richard Johnson and knew Westpac was a good fit for me. I then completed cyber and solutions architect courses through the WYWM academy and gained a better understanding of how service personnel with my background have skills that align well with cyber security.  In April 2019, a talent acquisition specialist from Westpac who I had met during the WYWM seminar contacted me as he thought I would be a good fit for the Cyber Hygiene team - and the rest is history. Westpac is a great place to work. Everyone has been very helpful, the team is diverse and the culture is great! 

What skills do you think veterans can bring to the corporate world?

Teamwork and leadership are well ingrained into all veterans. They will be able to operate under pressure without becoming overwhelmed and are trained to work through problems in the most dangerous environments. Veterans are also a social and inclusive bunch. Living and working in close contact with people from all over the world for extended periods of time, they have compassion, and are very aware of their impact on the others. Understanding risk is instinctive for veterans - they will pay attention to the details and be able to think on their feet. All these add real value to a team. It's easy to teach someone to perform a task, but these skills can take years of training.  

What advice would you give to someone looking to transition from the Defence Force into a corporate career?

Network. Talk to friends that have transitioned and find out what worked for them. Go to specialist veteran recruitment agencies and attend seminars they offer. It's difficult to find companies that have a good understanding of our experience, but they are out there. Westpac is one of them and I would not have been given that opportunity if I didn’t seek it out.