Proud Aboriginal woman Amber Alexander is urging people to be curious and open to learning things about Indigenous culture during National Reconciliation Week as she reflects on her Army career and successful transition to reserve service.
National Reconciliation Week 2023 runs from 27 May – 3 June, with this year’s theme “Be a Voice for Generations”, encouraging all Australians to be a voice for Reconciliation in tangible ways in everyday life—where we live, work and socialise.
Ms Alexander grew up in Geelong, Victoria, joining the Army at the age of 19. A proud Aboriginal woman, she is now both a Project Support Officer, an Indigenous Development Program mentor and an Army reservist. Ms Alexander is a fabulous example of a successful transition into civilian life and Reserve service.
Ms Alexander transitioned out of full time service in the Army in February 2023 and now works for JY Australia; a proud Indigenous and Veteran-owned professional service provider. Ms Alexander is also an active reservist, working for Defence Force Recruiting, in the Women in Defence Team in Adelaide.
When asked about her new civilian career, Ms Alexander highlighted the way the Army helped prepare her for her new role.
“Although I had no project management experience or a certification, the skills the Army taught me were very beneficial in helping me be a great fit for the role. Skills such as organisation, punctuality, leadership and the ability to be flexible and get the job done were all things my colleagues said made them confident that I would succeed in the role.”
Along with her civilian role, as an Army reservist, she advocates for the benefits of working in the services and what having the support of her civilian employer means to her.
“For me, It’s about putting on the uniform and being part of the service, the reserves are there to supplement your lifestyle so you can live the life you live and still give back to community and country”.
“I really wanted to keep that connection, I enjoy everything the Army has to offer so being a reservist helps me balance all of the commitments that I couldn’t do full time”.
“I think it’s important to note how much I really enjoyed my Army career, so to still represent the service is really important to me. JY Australia, being Veteran and Indigenous owned and run has meant they are nothing but supportive to complete my Reserve time and I am grateful for their support and pride in releasing me for my Defence Service.”
National Reconciliation Week is an opportunity for all Defence personnel to learn more about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving Reconciliation in Australia. When asked about what National Reconciliation Week means to her, Ms Alexander had a strong and meaningful message to share:
“I think first and foremost it is a time that everyone acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People as the first people of this land. It is a time that is important in the public and I hope that it fosters discussions and education.”
“It should be done all year round but I think it’s important more than ever during this week to be inquisitive and have a want to learn, and people should use this time to ask, listen, be educated and learn.”
When asked about joining the Army in either full-time or Reserve capacity, Ms Alexander had the following to say.
“Whether you are first nations or not, just do it. It’s awesome! There is a lot of support and giving back to country and community, you can’t compare anything to that.”
For more information on National Reconciliation Week, visit Home - National Reconciliation Week 2023
Ms Amber Alexander is pictured in her Civilian role at JY Australia (right image). She is also pictured on the footy field with friends (left image). A proud Aboriginal woman, she is now both a Project Support Officer, an Indigenous Development Program mentor and an Army reservist.