Scott Gardiner talks about challenges ex-servicemen face moving into civilian life.
Scott Gardiner talks about challenges ex-servicemen face moving into civilian life. Rob Williams

Former Navy dad's battle to find work

IPSWICH resident Scott Gardiner is proof of the valuable work RSL Queensland does in helping ex-servicemen transition from military life to the civilian world.

On Monday the former navy man and father-of-three will start a new job at Wacol, working in warehousing and spare parts.

The skills he'll use here will be similar to those he picked up at sea as a quartermaster gunner looking after the ship's munitions, boarding parties and searches and seizures.

The RSL have been helping Scott with this transition. What's more remarkable is this is not the first time they've come to his assistance.

The job he starts on Monday will be his second career change since leaving the navy. His first civilian job was as a chef, a big change from his life on the high seas.

Originally from Caringbah in NSW, Scott decided to leave the Australian Navy after nearly 10 years of service to start a family.

Twelve months out from the end of his career the RSL began mentoring him on the changes he could expect.

"When I told them I wanted to leave they got the ball rolling. I finished out my tour and went from ship duty to shore duty," said Scott.

"This is when you can start to doubt yourself. You worry about whether you've made the right decision, you've got a steady income, you've got all your medical paid for, it's stressful giving all that up, but the transitioning helps you work through those challenges.

"They also helped with all my documentation and records so that when you come out everything is in place to help with the process of looking for a new job or career."

Scott's transition was made equally difficult because his quartermaster gunner skills were not easily transferable.

"It's a tough field to find work in unless you want to go into some kind of security work," he said.

At first he struggled to find a job.

"I looked around but couldn't find anything and then decided to try my hand at being a chef."

He did his apprenticeship as a chef and then went a step further, specialising as a bakery and pastry chef.

Now, almost nine years on and having done his fair share of cooking, he's decided on that second career change in warehousing and spare parts.

And once again the RSL has stepped up.

"It's a great service. They helped me with the first transition and then years later as I'm looking at another change, they've come forward again to help me make that move.

"This time out they helped with a new resume and preparing for the interviews."

"Without it all, the change from sailor to chef to warehousing would have been a lot more stressful. It puts you in the right mindset."