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CQUniversity recognised with national employer award

Published:26 November 2020

Lieutenant Colonel Kate Ames and Mr Stephen Oberg

CQUniversity Australia has recently been announced as the winner of the 2020 Defence Reserves Employer Support Award under the not-for-profit organisation category.

The awards were announced at a virtual event by the Minister for Veteran Affairs and Defence Personnel, the Hon Darren Chester.

The awards recognise organisations for their continued support of Australian Defence Force Reservists and the communities they serve across Australia.

In the past year, several CQUniversity employees have been deployed with the ADF Reserves in response to the national bushfire crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) Kate Ames is a Military Public Affairs Officer posted part-time to the Defence Command Support Training Centre. She has been serving as a reservist for 23 years and is also the Director of CQUniversity’s Learning Design and Innovation team.

“Over the past two decades, I have had many different roles, all of which have built skills in leadership, resilience, and personal organisation, as well as my specialist skills in communication which I applied as an academic when teaching in that area,” Ames said.

LTCOL Ames explained that CQUniversity had offered great support to reservists who were deployed as part of emergency response efforts this year.

“Early this year, I was deployed to support the ADF National Coordinator in the national bushfire recovery efforts.

“The deployment lasted two weeks full-time, meaning I was away from my regular role at the University for a period of time.

“Having the support of CQUniversity, my manager and my colleagues was critical, and the flexible approach taken to managing my workload during my deployment meant I could focus on the important role I had in the recovery efforts,” Ames said.

Fellow CQUniversity colleague Stephen Oberg, who nominated the University for the award, has been a reservist for over 30 years and said the University had supported him in the service since he started working at CQU over 20 years ago.

“CQU has been a really strong supporter, and over the years has allowed me to attend courses and exercises,” Mr Oberg explained.

“It was especially important when they released me for six months to participate in Operation Resolute Border protection.”

Mr Oberg said a number of soldiers in his battalion are also CQUniversity students.

“The University takes this service into consideration and grants things like extensions to assignments when military service interferes with study which is fantastic.”

CQUniversity’s Director of People and Culture, Barbara Miller said that CQUniversity places a high value on the communities it serves which is why the University provides support and flexibility to staff who are deployed with the Army Reserves or who are involved in other community organisations.

“The past year has presented many challenges and as an employer we have been proud to support our staff members who have been involved in local and national crisis response efforts.

“We are committed to supporting our staff to give back to communities, whether that is through the Army Reserves, volunteer firefighting services or in community services and healthcare delivery.

“CQUniversity will continue to support our staff to engage in these ways, by providing them with flexible working arrangements, special leave entitlements and a supportive workplace culture,” said Ms Miller.