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Transitioning from defence to civilian life is no easy feat, and a new TAFE Queensland initiative aims to assist veterans into the next stage of their career. The Transition to Civi Street program matches existing skill sets with educational opportunities to create new civilian career paths.

The program is led by TAFE Queensland Defence Solutions Officer Paul Copson, who served in the Australian Defence Force. Since leaving the defence Paul has worked in the vocational education sector for seven years in both a teaching capacity and across commercial projects.

Paul said that his background in the Australian Defence Force coupled with his experience in the vocational sector has placed him in a unique position to assist veterans.

“One advantage that I have been able to bring to the program is knowing how to speak both the defence language and the language that our employers and industry use," said Paul

“Not being able to translate this language has often been a barrier for many veterans as they embark on new careers post defence,” he continued.

"My work in the vocational sector has allowed me to work closely with employers and defence prime industries, utilising these contacts when matching veterans to new employment opportunities."

Paul has recently been working with former 5RAR Infantry Digger Patrick Druery, who received a medical discharge after sustaining a serious knee injury. Patrick’s knee injury prevents him from undertaking manual work, which has become an obstacle to finding suitable employment which includes his previous career as a boiler maker.

Through the transition program Paul has been mapping career avenues that utilise Patrick’s trade background as well as the technical skills and understanding he acquired in the defence force.

Through the assessment process two avenues have been identified for Patrick. The first involves exploring a trade teaching career which will require Patrick to complete a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAE40116). The second, completing a Certificate IV in Engineering (MEM40105) to leverage his existing trade skills and move into employment with a defence prime or supply chain industry.

Patrick said that the transition program has opened his eyes and really given him something to aim for.

“The program has enabled me to set some clear goals and set in place a pathway that I can continue to work on to get back into the workforce”, said Patrick.


 

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TAFE Queensland