The 49-year-old former regular Army paratrooper and current sales manager at iFly Penrith, took up the three-year appointment in November as the Defence Reserves Support Council Western Sydney Region Chairperson.
“My role is about communicating to employers the benefits of employing Defence Reservists, not just the quality of people and the skills they bring to the business, but the government support available for the employers of Reservists,” he said.
There are thousands of Australian Reservists, both men and women, who usually serve 20 to 100 days a year in roles ranging from administration and artillery light gunners, to carpenters and civil engineers, to cooks and dental assistants.
Mr Bailey said Reservists came from all walks of life and the time served - which could include overseas deployment as well as short-notice call-ups to natural disasters - depended on their role.
This loss of staff could become a challenge for employers, he said, so the Defence Reserves Support Council hosted activities like Exercise Boss Lift giving employers the chance to see first-hand the important work of Reservists, and the skills they developed, at exercises and operations.
“Since 1950 the Australian Army has had a force of infantry, Rifle Company Butterworth based in Malaysia. The company rotates every three months through this. When I was in the Army only regular soldiers rotated through, now its Reservists," he said.
“In January, the Defence Reserves Support Council is taking a company of employers, through Exercise Boss Lift, to Malaysia.”
Last month, he said, one employer was given the opportunity to see his electrician employee in action as a Reservist, leading his people, making quick decisions and attacking and capturing a hill.
“A lot of employers are not utilising the full skills of their staff. This fellow showed skills of leadership, project management, decision making under pressure … these skills can translate into the business world.
“It’s just so valuable getting the employers to see what their Reservists do, to better understand the skills of the employee and deploy these skills to the benefit of the business.”
Mr Bailey’s new role will complement his work at iFly, which is owned by former soldiers and employs Reservists who work as indoor skydiving instructors and in customer service.
“I would like to increase awareness of the value of Reservists to businesses in Western Sydney, that’s the key need. They get paid by the government for the time their people are taken away but it also gives those employees skills they won’t get in any other environment,” he said.
“As a nation we need our Defence Reservists to step up, we need quality trained people for national security and to do that we need supportive employers.”
People from all walks of life join the Reserves to:
• Defend Australia
• Do something different, exciting and worthwhile
• Leadership and vocational training
• Improve employment skills and career options
• Make new friends
• Provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief
• Travel opportunities
If you’re interested in joining the Reserves, call Defence Force Recruiting on 13 19 01 or visit
To find out more about Defence Reserves Support and the Supportive Employer Program, call 1800 803 483.