Breaking the Stigma Surronding our Veterans - Ben's Story - QLD

Posted by Top Livin on

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!

If you are struggling and feel you need to speak up, check out our Get Help page for organisations that can help.  If you would like more information about the work of ASVA, click here to check out their website