Programs launch for 2024 in Adelaide and Perth

Feb 26, 2024 | Blog

26 February 2024


After a pilot program in 2023 with the support of Veterans SA, two new Cowork Coplay programs started in Adelaide (South Australia) and Perth (Western Australia) last week. The group programs provide participants a chance to focus on their careers, build community and access child care.

The Adelaide program, sponsored by Veterans SA, welcomes the partners of current- and former-serving Defence members. The Perth program is being delivered as a trial through a new collaboration with the Royal Australian Navy.

As the Australian government is growing its defence capability, recruitment and retention is a key focus for Defence. In addition, with the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide underway, the significance of supporting Defence and veteran families cannot be overstated. These families face unique challenges, including frequent relocations, deployments, disrupted careers and the need for a strong support system.

Participants talk with Chantelle Bohan, Director of Veterans SA at the first Cowork Coplay session in Adelaide, SA.

The Navy has recently implemented a number of initiatives focused on retention through its Stay Onboard – People First campaign. According to Director General Navy People, Commodore Tish Van Stralen, Navy leaders are actively listening to members about what’s impacting them and their Service, and families are a critical factor.

“Without our families we can’t do our jobs. Our families are just as important as our members and even more so because of the support they provide us,” said Commodore Van Stralen.

“I’m very excited about the trial and having an opportunity to give back to our families, this will ensure they have an opportunity to develop themselves while their kids are being cared for,” she said.

Commodore Tish Van Stralen talks to participants at Cowork Coplay Perth. Credit: Department of Defence.
Commodore Tish Van Stralen talks to participants at Cowork Coplay Perth. Credit: Department of Defence,
(Left to right) Command Warrant Officer William McConnell, Claire Harris, Commodore Tish Van Stralen, Commander Michelle Freeman in Perth, WA for the first session of Cowork Coplay.

The Cowork Coplay program was designed by Defence partner Claire Harris, to address a gap she saw and spoke to people about. The facilitated coworking programs combine career development, community building and child care, with the added benefit of external mentors covering topics such as local jobs and wellbeing. Claire has drawn from her experience as a Defence partner as well as her professional experience to create the programs, which are delivered through the certified social enterprise, Human Quotient Group.

“It’s brilliant to be working with Veterans SA again, and the Navy for the first time, to bring Cowork Coplay to the Adelaide and Perth Defence communities,” said Claire, Strategic Director with Human Quotient.

“Meeting the partners in week one has been nothing short of inspirational. Some of the program participants are looking for their next job opportunity, some want to change careers and others are studying.

“We have people running businesses and starting PhDs and people with an incredible range of qualifications; one person even speaks 5 languages. Their experience and tenacity blows me away and I think: what an opportunity for employers who are looking for their next talented recruit!” said Claire.

Cowork Coplay participants in a room together Credit Claire Harris 750px
Program participants share their reflections and goals.

Thanks to the expansion, local Program Facilitators have been employed from the Defence community to deliver the sessions in their area. The employment of Defence partners is a key pillar of the vision of seeing Cowork Coplay programs delivered across the country.

“This program and how it’s delivered, face-to-face in local communities, enables Defence and veteran families to connect with others, local supports and also provides a source of employment for our Program Facilitators. I’d love to see programs running around the country multiple times a year and our staff being able to move the job with them,” said Claire.

Read more about the programs or contact us for more information.

Participant working on a reflection exercise at Cowork Coplay, Perth, WA.
A program participant works on one of the activity worksheets provided in the program.
Participants connect at Cowork Coplay session. Image Credit:  Department of Defence,
Participants connect at Cowork Coplay session. Image Credit: Department of Defence,

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