Tell us a bit about yourself:
My name is Ben and I’m 35 years old. I have just moved from New South Wales to the Gold Coast where I now live with my partner.
What are you up to these days?
I have just completed a Tertiary preparation course at Griffith University’s Gold Coast campus and will begin my Bachelor of Nursing in Semester 1, 2020. I have recently started working at the Gold Coast University Hospital as a Wardsperson and will soon complete my training so I can work as an Operating Theatre Technician, also.
What's your background (military service, deployment experience if any, career highlights)?
I grew up in Victoria and left high school in Year 11 to join the ADF as soon as I could. I enlisted in the Australian Regular Army in 2002 and after completing Infantry Initial Employment Training, I served for the most part in the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, as well as several other units.
In 2007, I completed selection for 4RAR (Commando), which later became the 2nd Commando Regiment, when the unit was re-named in 2009. During my career, I deployed twice to East Timor and once to Afghanistan, as well as serving in Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand.
As a Veteran have you faced any personal or professional challenges since transitioning from the ADF?
I only separated a few months ago, so I haven’t completed my transition – especially after so long in the uniform. When I was considering leaving, I felt very unsure of what direction to take in order to develop a new and meaningful career outside of the military.
To solve this challenge, I planned my separation meticulously and used my long service leave as a cushion to begin ‘being’ a civilian whilst I was still serving. I also analytically reflected and contemplated all aspects of my ADF service and examined my strengths, weaknesses, achievements and what I most enjoyed whilst serving.
Through this process I realised that an active and progressive career, surrounded by those who pursued excellence in their fields, and a high-tempo work environment which encouraged teamwork, professional and personal development, and one that most benefited others, were the most important factors to him. From this, I decided that the medical profession offered me the greatest opportunity to enjoy a fulfilling career and continue to serve my community.
What do you wish the general public were more aware of about Veterans?
I wish the general public was more aware of the extensive training that veterans received whilst they were in the ADF and how transferrable the skills that we have are. I also wish people were more aware of the lesser-known challenges of transition too - when I discharged I didn’t realise how the army almost speaks a different dialect of English to the civilian community!