Ultra Electronics Australia has entered a partnership with the University of South Australia to provide a scholarship to support the studies of serving and ex-serving Australian Defence Force members and their families. As the University of Enterprise for defence, UniSA has a longstanding relationship with the defence community in research and education. UniSA’s Veterans’ Engagement and Education Program (VEEP) helps Australian veterans get to and through university, and to access meaningful employment following their transition from service. Through VEEP, the University provides an extra layer of encouragement and support for students to complete a degree.
The Ultra Electronics Australia VEEP Grant is available to commencing and continuing students registered with the Veterans’ Engagement and Education Program, studying full-time or part-time in a software, electronic engineering or computer science related undergraduate or postgraduate coursework program. UniSA Director, Defence and Space, Matt Opie says that UniSA recognises that veterans and their families can experience unique challenges when studying because of their commitment to service. “The program offers personalised study support to veterans, serving and ex-serving ADF members, including reservists, first responders, and immediate family members,” Opie says. “We piloted the program in 2020 and launched it this year – we now have 125 students registered with VEEP. VEEP students are offered flexible study solutions, support for health and wellbeing, career transition services, and a welcoming defence community on campus.”
Ultra Electronics Australia Managing Director Doug Burd says the company is proud to be supporting the education of an ADF member through this scholarship. “As a provider of bespoke technology solutions to the Australian Defence Forces, we are excited to support veterans develop their skills in technology areas that align with its future skills requirements,” Burd says.
The first recipient of the Ultra Electronics Australia VEEP Grant, Douglas Burns, is a first-year student in UniSA’s Bachelor of Information Technology (Cyber Security and Networking) degree. He has been a serving member of the Royal Australian Army as an Electronics Systems Technician since 2017. He was recently deployed on Operation COVID-19 Assist at local hotels to support quarantine compliance efforts. He is involved in several UniSA student clubs and also plays competitive chess. “I want to diversify and expand my skillset in the world of technology and electronics,” Burns says. “The grant from Ultra will allow me to pay for my upcoming subjects and mitigate the debt I will incur during my studies. When I do transition to a civilian job, I would like to work towards a cause that helps people.”
Through the Ultra Electronics Australia VEEP Grant, Burns will have access to opportunities at Ultra such as mentoring, work experience and networking opportunities. He aims to use his degree to further his career within the Australian Defence Force as a commissioned officer or to support transition to a civilian technology job.