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SM TAFE wins at Australian Defence Reserves Employer Support Awards

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

3 November 2023

South Metropolitan TAFE (SM TAFE) was honoured to recently win the Australian Defence Force Reserves Employer Support Awards, Public Sector category, following the nomination of long-standing employee Nihar Rai.

The Awards formally recognise the commitment of civilian employers in supporting reservists in their workplace. SM TAFE was acknowledged for going above and beyond for their reservist employees over a sustained period, as well as for their special efforts in enabling the staff members to complete their Reserve commitments.

Mr Rai is the SM TAFE Defence Industry Consultant. Whilst carrying out his role, he also fulfills commitments as a reservist for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and is one of 7 reservist employees at SM TAFE.

Mr Rai has been an integral part of the SM TAFE team for over fifteen years, beginning as Director Maritime Studies. With a background as Master Mariner Unlimited,  he has made a significant contribution to the training of students studying seafaring at the SM TAFE Fremantle campus. The campus offers some of the most comprehensive facilities for maritime training in the country. Mr Rai also undertakes duties for the Royal Australian Navy as the Maritime Trade Operations Officer.

Both roles have a natural synergy; Mr Rai’s defence service empowers him to successfully engage with SM TAFE defence industry clients, also acting as a bridge between students and employment opportunities in defence. The program provides employers with fundamental knowledge of the SM TAFE maritime and defence industry training and workforce development capability.

“SM TAFE has strongly supported my reserve activities since 2019…Management has always encouraged me in my ADF role, providing flexible working arrangements and additional resources where needed,” he said. “As a reservist, I have gained enhanced skills, unique capabilities and character traits through Royal Australian Navy activities, exercises and training programs. My defence reserve service has expanded my attributes to equally benefit my civilian employer SM TAFE and the defence industry community as a whole.”

Mr Rai said that symbiosis and motivation are key for him in managing his defence service duties which can involve international travel, along with SM TAFE responsibilities and family commitments.

SM TAFE congratulates Mr Rai and all reservist employees for being part of the team while supporting students. The award is testimony to the SM TAFE commitment to the ADF, including line managers who demonstrate flexibility in their approach in supporting reservist employees.

Category award winners from all states and territories will be considered for the National Employer Support Awards in November.


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