Cowork Coplay program wrap up with co-founder, facilitator, and Minister for Veterans Affairs, Geoff Brock.
Cowork Coplay recognises the barriers partners face and gives them the time, space and tools needed to pursue their career and study goals while connecting with likeminded participants.

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Geoff Brock MP
Minister for Veterans Affairs

An innovative program helping partners of current and former-serving Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel has been set up in Adelaide’s north, enabling participants to advance their career goals and connect with other Defence families.

Cowork Coplay supports Defence and veteran partners with young children to pursue meaningful employment and study by providing an inclusive community environment where they can learn new skills and network while their children are cared for on site.The six-week program is designed to address the unique challenges of military life on partners including career disruptions, increased caregiving responsibilities and loss of social connection – with frequent postings and moves interstate often adding to these challenges for the resilient and adaptable group.

Supported by Veterans SA, Cowork Coplay aims to eliminate these barriers through mentor workshops, community building and access to career information in a
dedicated learning space with childcare facilities nearby for added peace-of-mind.

The program is overseen by a Program Facilitator – a local Defence spouse – to guide participants each week and assist long-term outcomes.

Seven Adelaide-based Defence and veteran partners participated in this year’s program, which ran from February to late March at the Burton Community Centre.

It follows a successful 2023 pilot program which included three participants securing ongoing employment and wider recognition of confidence gained and goals met.

South Australia was the first state outside of the ACT to roll out the program – and the Malinauskas Government is the first state or territory government to deliver financial support, totalling $30,000, to ensure it returned to SA in 2024.

The State Government’s investment is part of a $2.1 million budget commitment to improve outcomes for Defence and veteran families, with initiatives like the new Veteran Employer Network and Port Adelaide Football Club’s ADF Veterans Program already underway.

Cowork Coplay founder Claire Harris used her own experience as a Defence partner and business leader to create the program, which has since been expanded to Perth.

Learn more about the Cowork Coplay program here.

Quotes attributable to Geoff Brock

The South Australian Government recognises the value this program brings to families and has led the nation in supporting it.

While Defence and veteran partners are often highly educated and eager to work, frequent relocations due to the nature of military life can see them struggle to secure job opportunities – all while juggling caregiving responsibilities and, at times, social isolation.

Cowork Coplay recognises the barriers partners face and gives them the time, space and tools needed to pursue their career and study goals while connecting with likeminded participants.

It’s another example of a Government-backed initiative that is improving outcomes for our Defence and veteran communities and achieving meaningful results.

Quotes attributable to Human Quotient Group Strategic Director and Cofounder, Claire Harris

I created the Cowork Coplay Program to fill a gap and respond to needs in the Defence and veteran community. The program, with child care alongside, provides a unique and welcoming experience for participants to connect with each other, explore work that matters to them most and learn about available resources and services.

Over the past six weeks, participants have stepped into their own power – more deeply appreciating their special skills and strengths – and gained confidence.

They have completed university assessments, explored career options and job opportunities or worked on important projects. They also focused on enhancing their personal wellbeing and supported each other with deep empathy, as they all understand the work-life pressures that come with military service.

I continue to be inspired by the resourcefulness and enthusiasm of these amazing humans. They have skills, they’re ambitious and they’re proactively looking at the career opportunities ahead of them.

I’m grateful to be working with Veterans SA again as a leading veteran agency. Their commitment to creating opportunities for meaningful and sustainable employment and community connection is improving lives in the veteran community.

Quotes attributable to 2024 program participant Kimmy Pike

Having the time to focus on my own career and postgraduate study has been amazing. The workshops with mentors allowed us to have insightful group discussions and think about our own goals and how to get there. The environment was so supportive, and it was comforting to know that everyone had an understanding of the challenges of Defence life.

My son had never been out of my care prior to the program, and it’s been great to see that he’s had a wonderful time with the carers each week. I’m now considering returning to work part-time in the near future. Seeing my son thrive has given me the confidence to enrol him in an early learning centre.

The program has given me the time I need to focus on my studies and has freed up more time at home to spend with my partner, something that is so valuable to our family.

Thank you so much to Veterans SA for sponsoring this program, it has had such a large impact on my life in such a short time. My confidence has improved and I feel a readiness to return to work, something which seemed so daunting not long ago. It was so lovely feeling the sense of community and knowing that everyone had lived experiences in the Defence lifestyle.

I have been so grateful to receive a place in this program and I have had an amazing experience. Initially I was nervous having never placed my son in care before, but the first day assured me that the carers were incredible and the program would be so important for my needs also.