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Interview: Rheanna

Churchill:

So Rheanna congratulations on an advanced diploma of work health and safety, an advanced diploma of government and a diploma of business. That’s three really amazing qualifications. And you are on leave in your position as a captain of the Australian Army. That right?

Rheanna:

Correct. Yeah.

Churchill:

Great. So, Rheanna, could you take me through a bit of your career history, your time with Defence and basically what brought you up to the point of contacting Churchill Education and using Recognition of Prior Learning to convert your service experience into qualifications.

Rheanna:

Okay, I can do that. So the career started 13 years ago. I was 17. Straight out of high school. Joined the army straight to Duntroon. And graduated as a Lieutenant, [inaudible 00:01:06]. I didn’t get a degree, which was fine. The adventure of army was enough for me. And as a combat engineer my training is a Jack-of-all-trades kind of role.

Rheanna:

So you know, everything from water purification to bridging to basic construction, demolition search, really fun, challenging stuff though that is problem solving. There’s never a neat fix. There’s always templates and guidelines, but there’s never a, this is the solution because I think typical of Defence, problem-solving and planning anyway. So the trade really suited me in terms of, I like a challenge, I like problem solving, I like to be hands-on. So I really enjoyed the experiences as a junior officer. It started, well, with topographical squadrons, so map-makers. So I actually was very lucky. I had, as a trick minder, I had a specialist troop which had data mergers, surveyors and a digital air camera and so what the digital air camera is, is it takes near infrared or any multi spectral imagery which the government uses for strategic planning, pipeline ,gases, things like that as well as humanitarian aid and things. So at 19, 20, I was just having the most broad, completely different experience that I did not expect to have in the engineers.

Rheanna:

And I really enjoyed that, but I didn’t want to stay in that, that world, I wanted to come back to combat engineering. So had the time at the school as an instructor in training young staffers who’ve just come from [inaudible 00:03:04] and then also in the specialist engineering wings. So demolitions, dives, watermanship and basic combat engineering. So your timber felling, timber milling, water purification, that kind of stuff. So six years into the career and I’m teaching people about stuff that you don’t think you’d ever do if you didn’t join the army really. I had a operational trip early, but not a trip, sorry. Here domestically in 2011 post the Grantham floods. Were right out in Grantham straight away doing recovery and then enabling the town folk to come back, helping them with reconstruction, initial assessments. So that was a really initial, rewarding experience, being able to give back to your community and your nation so readily.

Rheanna:

That was a real highlight for me. You Fast forward a few years, I’m in Townsville in the 3rd Comanche Regiment. I’m stepping up into position with commands that I was trained and prepared for that I didn’t expect to be in so quickly and and just thriving and loving it. Deployed to Iraq with a small team and this was a real other thing, the captain going to Iraq with a team of five. So it was like being back to a section or a platoon commander again in terms of the way you interact with people. Going from commanding a squadron of 120 to a team of five, and that team is for the next six months we live in each other’s pockets where we’re there all the time. So really fluctuating broad exposures and just really enjoying it but also getting tired and there wasn’t anything, it wasn’t Army’s fault as such. It was just a matter of me realizing that whilst all these experiences have been amazing, it wasn’t something that I wanted to do for the next 13 years again.

Rheanna:

You look forward and you go, “I don’t know if I want to keep doing this” because it takes it out of you and you balance other things in life that come and go. So there was things in life that turned up. I go, “No, I want to keep these, I don’t wanna prioritize Army over these anymore.” So you have to start thinking about making those decisions, and that’s what drew me to.

Churchill:

So Rheanna, what sort of things were coming up that you felt that you needed to prioritize?

Rheanna:

My relationship with my partner James. It sounds like a cop out but work-life balance.

Churchill:

Not a cop out at all. It’s [crosstalk 00:06:06] life.

Rheanna:

Yeah. As and as an officer, it’s no different to a life as a soldier in terms of when work says you’ve got to be there, you’ve got to be there.

Rheanna:

But there was definitely, I felt drained as my personal time and my actual personal head space in terms of, little things that I used to do, things like whether it was writing or painting or woodwork. I would come home and I just wouldn’t even bother about those. You just collapse and try to turn the brain off.

Churchill:

So you were a soldier first and a human second?

Rheanna:

Yeah. And the organization always demands more and that’s the nature of it. Also, I think as you go up as an officer, it’s more and more desk-bound duties. As a junior commander, as a junior officer, I’d been so lucky with the experiences and the exposure. I’d been in Papua New Guinea, I’ve been in America, I’ve been in Iraq, I’ve been in New Zealand, all because of Army, all with different exposures and experiences for command and doing your job. But the amount of time I actually got to come home and feel like a human being with my partner, was spinning out and him being in the military as well, there’s a balancing act in terms of living together and posting and being away, which we both understand and accept. So I was just getting tired of never, never having a say in it anymore and looking forward, not excited about the opportunities of more office work.

Rheanna:

That’s what I joined Army to do. And whilst it’s important, it serves its purpose and it’s vital for the organization, I didn’t want to commit myself to that long-term, that’s what I’m most anxious about. So I look forward in my career.

Churchill:

Right. Yeah. So with all of your experience you’re at the point where you’re at a senior level and mostly senior levels are strategic and planning and behind a desk and a computer and not out in the field in whatever you might end up doing in the future.

Rheanna:

Exactly.

Churchill:

Yeah.

Rheanna:

Yeah.

Churchill:

Wow. You’ve had some amazing experience Rheanna, and done some incredible things.

Rheanna:

I’m very lucky, yeah.

Churchill:

So how many years was it all up that you’ve spent so far in Defence?

Rheanna:

It was 13 years on the tenth of [crosstalk 00:09:03].

Churchill:

13 years, yeah. Wow. Okay. So you got to the point and you thought, “Okay, I need to look at my work life balance.” And so that’s obviously what brought you to considering Recognition of Prior Learning?

Rheanna:

Yeah. It also probably last year was a weird year personally in terms of, I had a medical issue arise, it kind of came out of nowhere, that really made me, I guess reflect on what I was prioritizing in life, like I said. So that kind of triggered, even though it was like, “My work life balance is rubbish”, I hadn’t given that much thought to dealing with it. What’s the fix, what’s the solution?

Rheanna:

So when this medical issue has happened I was off work for a couple of months with it and very lucky that work was so supportive and helpful and proactive that it meant that I actually had time to sit back once I’d recovered and go, “If that were more serious then what, do I look on for reflecting on what I enjoy and what I’ve made of my life the last few years?” And when you give so much to the organization, you can’t quantify it back you as a person, how you feel, how you move in the world kind of thing. I really struggled with justifying staying in Army and that’s what made me think, “Well if I did get out tomorrow, what are my options?”

Rheanna:

I have a lot of skills, I have a lot of experience, I have a lot of knowledge, I’ve got a good attitude, a good work ethic I know all these things, but how do I translate that to a potential employer regardless of what field I want to be in because I don’t quite know yet. I’ve got some ideas, but I don’t know. So that’s what got me looking into RPL and I cannot remember how I found but I think a friend recommended to me to come and check out Churchill because they said they’d give you options.

Rheanna:

I think that’s how I found it. And straight away it was a bit of a relief I suppose to go, “Hey, just give us what you’ve done and we’ll look at it objectively for you.” And that was an important part for me because it was a matter of I didn’t have to sit there saying, “I think I could a business thing. I think I could do that.” It was, “We’ll tell you what we think you can get out of this, out of yourself.” Really, you’re just translating it and, and it was hilarious when I came into the assessment with all my paperwork, because I’m only 20 minutes up the road from the office, I was able to come in and put faces to names and that kind of thing. And Nick, the fellow who was doing my assessment has been my instructor on one my courses years back.

Churchill:

Oh wow.

Rheanna:

And remembered me, five years, six years after the fact, remembered me instantly and the penny drops and you go, “Oh my goodness, it’s you.” So straight away there was definitely confidence in me in this business for what I was looking to get out of it because I knew that bloke, I trusted him. Yeah. And to see him at the helm of something like assessing what my capabilities are that translate into qualification. That actually really reassured me.

Churchill:

I bet it did because civilians can’t understand the military world. And so yeah, so Nicholas is 14 years of military experience. Actually it’s great to have him as part of the team because he gets military like none of us who are civilians can ever hope to. Just a different world isn’t it?

Rheanna:

It is. And I think in many ways it’s like any industry. You don’t really know what people in the industry deal with, like hospitality. I don’t know what they deal with. I could only imagine it’s horrible being in hospitality, mining, that [VIFO 00:13:42] life that’s challenging. You know, and we’re, we’re so lucky in defense in terms of the national, not so much the recognition we get, but how that mission translates to I guess as social security. So that [inaudible 00:14:00] says, your understanding I guess that, yes, there are safety regulations. People should be held accountable, like Army and Defense kind of drill these things into you. Even though they’re unique to Defense, the systems they’re still based off of what the national requirements are.

Rheanna:

So if you then go to work in mines, dodgy works going on or something. You can actually go, “I know that’s not right.” So it really doesn’t tell you. But I think, like I said ,try and understand it outside looking in a lot of the time we’re not very open with civilians on things. We just pass over information because we think it’s not relevant or it doesn’t matter or there’s too many acronyms to explain.

Churchill:

It’s [inaudible 00:14:58] isn’t it?

Rheanna:

Oh there is. Yeah. But you know, it’s nothing that anyone couldn’t understand. I think that we just keep an air of, sorry, I’m probably waffling a bit, but we probably don’t explain it as well as we could, but we also don’t feel the need to.

Churchill:

Yeah, because I guess that it’s only other people in military you need to understand and they all, yeah. They all know what the acronyms mean.

Rheanna:

Yeah, well you move somewhere, you meet people that you now work with or your kids go to school with, [inaudible 00:15:38]. So your circles tend to stay within military circles. You don’t engage, unless you’re actually actively trying to go to a sports pub and meet people out of Army or do something different to meet people out of Defence. You don’t move in those circles until you’re no longer in Defense. So, yeah.

Churchill:

Yeah. Okay. So tell me a little bit more about the actual process of Recognition of Prior Learning. So you think someone, a friend or a colleague mentioned Churchill, and then what did you do first? Did you look at the website or did you call?

Rheanna:

I looked at the website. I think I sent an online inquiry just to say, I think it was through the website actually. Just, “I’m interested in something and here are my details.” Within a couple days, I think it was two days, I got a call back from Amanda who was very proactive. Very, I want to say reassuring, but that’s not quite the right word. Very simple explanations about the process, very upfront about you know, costs and things like that. There was no hidden fees or anything lurking around and then it was a matter of, “You can either mail us just your, I guess you call pink keys, just your service summary that we have. Send us that or you can drop it in in person and we’ll do an assessment. We’ll get back to you within, I think it was even, we’ll get back to you within 24 to 40 or within a week.” But I heard back from Amanda, within two days in terms of, “Yeah, come in.”

Rheanna:

Yeah so when I actually came in, brought in my documents to come and put faces to names, gave them the mix, I got an email back the next day on, “Here is what you’re eligible for based off our assessment” in terms of, “We can qualify you for these instantly and here are the costs for these varying qualifications.”

Rheanna:

I don’t have the list handy actually I should’ve thought of that. But there was probably 12 or 13 options straight up that were rating from advanced diplomas, three, and all of them across different industries as well. So there was, lets say, health and safety, government leadership, business.

Churchill:

I have just gotten the list up in front of me and I will read them all out. Just to demonstrate that I think it’s good. I think first of all it’s, it’s great to know how many qualifications a Defence career can convert into, but also that it’s not necessarily relevant to enroll in all of them. So you were found eligible for advanced diploma in work, health and safety, advanced diploma of leadership and management, advanced diploma of government, diploma of security and risk management, diploma of project management, diploma of business, diploma of business administration and a certificate for in-government border protection. So wow, when you got that list, what was the process that you went through with Amanda of working out which of those were most useful?

Rheanna:

That took me a little while. I started with looking at what kind of, I felt that I could cull straight away.

Rheanna:

So things like, I think it was the couple around business I thought to myself, “I only need one in business, that that will be enough to at least evidence that I’ve got a notion about business.” The thing that was important to me was having documented qualifications that demonstrated my professional skills. Everything else that I can do, what I can think or I can achieve, I can demonstrate that through whether it’s resume, conversations or just through work, I can show what I’m capable of achieving. But the professional side of the house in terms of if you want to be a suit, if you want to be able to work in an office, how do I demonstrate my skills there? So that’s where the thought process initially came from. The other thing was making myself, what’s the word? Potential, making myself as flexible as I could be.

Churchill:

Versatile? Yeah, yeah,

Rheanna:

Yeah, yeah.

Churchill:

Okay so you wanted qualifications that would demonstrate your versatility and broad range of skills.

Churchill:

Yeah. And given that, sorry to just interrupt. Just more thing to finish off this point. So I know a lot of clients will come to us and they definitely know what their next move is and so they know that they need this qualification to get there. Whereas a lot of other people in your example of this, don’t necessarily know what their next step is and so that was your scenario, wasn’t it?

Rheanna:

Exactly right. I have some ideas. And in all honesty, the quals I went for, they weren’t to help me right now. They were like, “Okay, if I work my way up somewhere, I’ve got these skills as well to keep demonstrating” so it was, “I don’t need to demonstrate that I can do this administration right now, but after my long service leave, after all these other things happen, then I’ve got something down the track that’s hard copy, that’s “Hey, I’ve got the skill and I can apply that or these skills.”” So that was ,like you said, that was the, I guess framing, around the problem of how to decide which to narrow down to. [crosstalk 00:22:23]

Churchill:

The other thing too, for people to keep in mind is that Recognition of Prior Learning can only take into consideration what you’ve been doing in the last five years. So yeah, we really make a point of saying to people in Defence that if you’re thinking of getting out or particularly you’ve been out for a while, really think seriously about converting your service into civilian qualifications because after five years there’s a currency issue and then in a way you lose the value of all of that great experience.

Rheanna:

Yeah. And the other aspect as well was, something that really helped me get those advanced diploma levels was the fact that I’d been performing higher roles for significant periods of time in the last two to three years. Being an acting officer commanding for nine months meant that I could evidence things and that I was qualified for, meant that I could evidence at a major level rather than a captain’s level, which shouldn’t make a big difference, but also does. You’re only, I guess is, what am I trying to say there?

Rheanna:

That’s the way the system works. If you’ve been performing in higher roles and can make yourself more.

Churchill:

Yeah, I know what you’re trying to say. I think what you’re getting at is that you’re only as qualified as your qualification reflects.

Rheanna:

Yeah, that’s exactly it.

Churchill:

Yeah, so even though you might have a lot of experience and incredible skills, the way, particularly the civilian world works, is that once you get into management and senior management positions, if you can’t prove through qualifications what your capabilities are, it’s as though it didn’t happen. It’s like if the tree falls in the forest and no one hears it did it really happen. So a good metaphor for that isn’t it?

Rheanna:

It’s an excellent metaphor for that. You know, exactly right.

Rheanna:

So, so I also tried to pick qualifications that I knew had benefited from my higher duties assessment so that I was getting the best bang for the buck at that point in time.

Rheanna:

Because if I went back for another assessment in six months, like you said, I’ve got five years I can look back on. But that higher duties is only good for a couple of years. So it’s got to be very current and very hard copy evidenced, like here is my report from that period showing that I performed these roles and to a good standard. So I wanted to maximize that opportunity as well.

Churchill:

Yeah. That’s great. And I’m just looking at the three qualifications that you chose because another advice that we give to people is to choose a range of qualifications that demonstrate business skills, technical skills and specific skills. So you’ve got your diploma of business and you’ve got work health and safety which is the technical skills and then I guess the advanced diploma in government is a civic skill area.

Churchill:

So you’ve also got qualifications that demonstrate a range of skills in those three areas, which is really beneficial.

Rheanna:

Yeah, and I mean like the other thing I did was I took the list, so after I’d made my short list of what I thought I wanted to pick, which was practically, I think two of those or maybe those and then the leadership and management.

Rheanna:

I then sent the list around to people I knew and trusted. Mentors to family, friends or colleagues that valued their insight and said, “Hey, say someone’s applying for some kind of job in your area, out of these, which, which is most enticing or what do you think is of most benefit in a long-term situation?” And the responses I got back with varied or biases coming from their industry or their experience and that kind of thing.

Rheanna:

But it was really, I guess kind of a mind shift to see other people’s assessment and what they thought and also think, “Well why do they think that one in particular is useful? Or is that useless?” What was their thought process there and then go, “Okay, cool. So that’s something I hadn’t considered. That’s a really good point. So maybe I need to think more about that.” So that also was a big determining factor in what I came up with in the end because I don’t know what I don’t know.

Churchill:

Yeah, exactly.

Rheanna:

So it was good to get other people’s insight and advice on that.

Churchill:

Yeah. So what was the gist of the advice that trusted friends and colleagues were giving you, and family?

Rheanna:

Practically the gist I guess was make yourself relevant and do just because you’ve got qualifications, it doesn’t mean you’ll get a job. That was a big point. Like yeah, you might have all these, but unless you can evidence why that business or that company wants you and then the qualifications aren’t worth anything as well. So it was very, almost like a cynical approach to, there’s some great options, but you don’t need every single one either. So that was interesting as well because I was kind of in the thought process of, well I need the qualification to get the job, you know, and people who had been at government departmental level HR saying that doesn’t matter.

Rheanna:

If you can evidence this, this and this, then that’s what you want. So focus on how you’re going to present that. Oh, okay. But I don’t necessarily want to work in government, but the idea behind the diploma in government was that that enables me to evidence I can work in public service. I can work in council, government, all levels and understand the systems, and the processes and almost have like a bit of a foot in the door if that is ever a good option for me. Even if it ends up being 10 years from now, I can still formally evidence that as well as saying, “Hey, I used to be in the army too.” I think a lot of people have natural, not so much stereotyping but maybe a bit of cognitive bias to what different people, different trades, industries are.

Rheanna:

And tradies versus hospitality. We all have natural unconscious bias. And for the military, that tends to be, especially with the way the current, I guess climate is for veterans affairs and all this is, that, “Oh are you okay?” Like, have you got, PTSD, like you were in the army. Or they might be a risk because you don’t know about the background. And that’s purely based off feedback I’ve got from mates who have gotten out is that people were hesitant to hire them because of their military experience because they were worried that they might be mentally ill.

Churchill:

Oh, that’s so interesting. So the mental health awareness movement has been great in some ways, but it’s also stigmatized Defence a bit as well.

Rheanna:

Bt that just comes down to being able to have a conversation as well and say, “Yeah, yes and no.” Like mental health is much more than “You’re in the army, you’ve got issues.” I think everyone’s got issues in their own way.

Churchill:

Definitely.

Rheanna:

So something that was important to me was being able to evidence working in government or state departments without having to just rely on, “I was in the Army.” Having something that communicated my skills and systems without having to divulge that as well, essentially, because it’s not always something that stands you in good stead. It’s something to be proud of, but also not something to wave a banner around on and, and use that to open doors I think.

Churchill:

And so now you’ve got your qualifications, you’re on some long service leave. So what are you planning to do with yourself? So now we were talking a little bit before I started recording this call and we were both talking about the importance of taking some time out in life from time to time at certain points to just reflect things really and decide what you want out of life rather than just putting one foot in front of the other and day after day groundhog day. So you’re in a really important time in your life. And also it is a challenging time in terms of it being a transition period and you’re not sure where you might end up. So do you want to just talk to me a little bit about that?

Rheanna:

Yeah, sure.

Rheanna:

I think for me at the moment, and yep, long service leave officially started this week, and for 13 years I’ve got four months up my sleeves, so at half pay, enough to pay the bills and all that. I’ve got eight months of me time essentially. We know we’re in Brisbane this year, hopefully next as well, so it doesn’t matter where we are, but actual location isn’t going to change abruptly. So that’s a bit of security for the moment.

Churchill:

Your partner James is in Defence?

Rheanna:

He is, he’s in the Army too, yeah.

Churchill:

Okay.

Rheanna:

We live the army life at the moment, and it’s a bit of a shift from what I obtained through Churchill in terms of the qualifications. But I’m actually hoping to start a wine industry course.

Churchill:

Oh! [crosstalk 00:33:52].

Rheanna:

And the caveat for all this is that I haven’t actually made a decision yet about whether I’m going to separate from Army or not. I’ve got til September, I’ve got time to work out if I just needed a refresh and a reorientation and then I’m back on board as such, or get the confidence in myself through some experience without Army because as well, like I said, I was 17 when I joined.

Rheanna:

So even though I’d been working and doing stuff through school, I haven’t actually lived without Army’s cocoon, without Army’s safety net. So trying to step out of that safety net confidently is something that I’m very cognizant of. Like that’s important for a successful transition. So the long service leave is enabling me time to evaluate whether I’m ready to leave Defence because I think when you’re ready you know, but I want to be sure and also to prepare for whatever’s coming next. Get the finances lined up, worked out how super works outside of military super. Work out how health insurance works, all these kinds of things that I honestly.

Churchill:

Just on a side note, have you read The Barefoot Investor?

Rheanna:

I haven’t, no.

Churchill:

Read it. It’s really, it’s just really great simple advice for personal finance and just getting your life sorted out in terms of your financial life.

Rheanna:

Yeah. Okay, cool. Yeah [inaudible 00:35:40] that. Doing the research and, and working out what’s going to be best for me, giving me time to get all those affairs sorted I think is important. It doesn’t all happen overnight, so there’s nothing wrong with taking some time for it. But yeah, hopefully this course, it’s out at Stanthorpe, so it’s a few hours away. I’ve talked with the course managers last year. The course goes for about 12 to 18 months and it introduces you to all aspects of the wine industry. So you work vintages, you help with processing, with lending, laboratory operations, you help with bottling and production, distribution, front of house. So it’s through the Queensland College of Wine Tourism and they’re a part of, I think it’s USQ. So there’s stepping stones to study viticulture or enology study. If that floats the boat. But practically, I just want to start this course for a few months, start the vintage and work out if this is the way I want to go.

Rheanna:

I miss, like we’ve talked about, I miss being hands on, I miss being on the ground. I miss seeing the smaller teams and I also miss seeing what you actually create, feeling what you actually create. Especially as a junior officer, there was a lot of opportunities. Julia Creek was a great example last year when I was out there, whatever we were, I was helping with always helping or working with this as a liaison officer for the council. You saw it happen. But what you don’t see is the long-term recovery. You don’t see how these people are once they’ve been able to rebuild and one their stocks come back. So there’s pros and cons to Army, but you don’t always see your end-state.

Churchill:

That’s a bit of an important human need, isn’t it? To have ownership over a project from beginning to end. We have a feeling of having created something.

Rheanna:

Yeah, and I think that’s really important for not just having that feeling of creating something but also getting that intrinsic, natural, not adrenaline, but that feeling of success and achievement. When we build something or, we blew something up, you get to see it, you get to feel it, you get to experience it. Like we talked about earlier when it comes to that next level of strategic planning and development and decision making, which is really vital to the organization. You don’t actually get to see it executed, which is why we have mission command. It’s why we have junior commanders, it’s it’s fantastic. But that was one of the best parts of the job.

Rheanna:

So, it’s this idea of the wine industry, it might sound a bit all romanticized and up in the air, but I really want to get back to something where I’m getting my hands dirty on the job.

Rheanna:

Where I’m working in a small team together to actually finish something. Even if it’s, “Hey, we picked all the grapes on this vineyard today.” You know, you can see that. You can feel it too. “Hey, we bottled all these fermentation vats today and here’s our bottle line.”

Churchill:

To taste and [inaudible 00:39:26] vintages.

Rheanna:

Yeah.I’m trying to work out if that’s something that I’m going to enjoy.

Churchill:

Yeah. Well, sometimes you just got to do things and try them and, and find out. And if nothing else, it sounds like it’ll be a lot of fun and it will be a whole new realm of learning and experiencing, and that’ll be worthwhile for sure.

Rheanna:

Yeah. And the benefit as the Churchill qualifications, is that from the research I’ve’ done, the people I’ve met, there’s a lot of different aspects of the wine industry. So even though I don’t quite know what I’m going to pursue yet, I do know that everywhere need workplace health and safety. Everywhere needs it.

Rheanna:

Any winery at the end of the day is a business. So then people who understand what’s important in their administration, their marketing, their production that they’ll use, bookkeeping, whatever it is. And, like I said, the government one is a bit of a backdrop for me. If I ever want to be able to work in a government, local council or state department, it’s a bit of a back up, “Hey, look what experience I have.” Evidence it, here we go. So that was the idea at the end of the day with the WHS and the business was there anywhere really could be any industry that I want to work in. Typically those things are important and I can apply myself to that industry with those skills readily. I can evidence that I can do that through my experience and how I present myself. So yeah.

Churchill:

That sounds exciting. So, Rheanna, how would you sum up the experience that you had with Churchill and Recognition of Prior Learning?

Rheanna:

Honestly, inspiring.

Churchill:

Oh wow.

Rheanna:

Yeah. And, and I don’t say that lightly. Inspiration is one of those things that might get thrown around a lot and people tend to throw it more at creatives and muses and things like that, or great human achievements, that’s inspiring. But this process for me was, yeah, I didn’t really know what to expect. And all of a sudden here’s someone saying, “This is what you have demonstrated that you’re capable of and then we can help you with taking that forward. If you want to do more, you can do more. And this is just a stepping stone to helping you on that process.”

Rheanna:

And we talked a lot about transition. Transition is a very challenging kind of world of unknowns. There’s just something about Churchill’s confidence in helping me, “But you are a person. We acknowledge that you’re unique. Here’s how we can help you.” It honestly, it was inspiring cause I was like, “Hey, you’re right, I can do this. I can have that, that will help me. This is relevant. The future just looks a little brighter.” So yeah, it’s inspiring. And then from a customer service aspect, just fantastic. People that genuinely care, genuinely put themselves, like they’re honest with you. There’s no used car salesman kind of spins or anything like that. So it was a very, very good experience going through this process.

Churchill:

That’s great, Rheanna. I’m so glad that you had such a great experience. And what advice do you have for other Defence members who might be looking at transitioning or just looking at their options and adjusting work life balance perhaps.

Rheanna:

It’s hilarious. Like a 30 year old giving advice.

Churchill:

well you’ve got to 13 years of experience to give advice on the back of, I think you’re qualified.

Rheanna:

Well, you know, the other aspect is, I haven’t transitioned yet. I don’t even know if I’ll transition yet, but I guess my advice and some, the ideas I guess that I follow or keep clear is that you don’t know what you don’t know. Do your research ad don’t be afraid just to ask. Always be open and honest about what you don’t know when it comes to planning your transition and you’re more powerful than you think. Just because you’re not used to something doesn’t mean you can’t get through it.

Rheanna:

Like I said, I’ve been getting very anxious this last week. I don’t really know when the course is meant to start. I’m not sure if I’ve done the right thing. It doesn’t matter. You can get through any of these things with just the right mindset and that just takes acceptance I think. Also, like I said, when you know, you know. I’m pretty sure I know, but I want to take my time to find out. So you’re more powerful than you know.

Churchill:

I think it’s completely authentic to feel a bit anxious and so that’s just part of the process.

Churchill:

So far out Rheanna. I think you’re really inspiring. You’ve done some amazing things in Defence and now you’re taking the next brave step to have a time of not exactly knowing what the future holds and to try some different things that you’ve never tried before, but you’re doing it smart. You’ve got your qualifications, you haven’t transitioned yet. So if you want to go back and find different opportunities within Defence, you can do that. But also the world is your oyster and I have no doubt that your future will be really rosy and there’ll be a lot of opportunities in the future for you. And your problem will probably be choosing which one out of all the options that present themselves to you.

Rheanna:

Wow, thank you for saying that, Leonie. That’s really lovely of you. Thank you.

Churchill:

No, well, it’s true. So Rheanna thank you so much for your time. It’s been such a pleasure to talk to you and to hear your journey and what’s brought you, through contacting Churchill and the experience you had and what recognition of prior learning has meant here in terms of its significance and, and then this new chapter that you’re in right now, which I think is great. Enjoy it. And yeah, I guess you’re probably learning after 13 years of Army to just go with the flow and not always know what the MO is going to be.

Rheanna:

Yeah, it’s always be adaptable.

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