Navy Veteran

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This is a veteran story with special meaning to
Working Spirit. Denis is being medically discharged from the Navy.

~ Employed February 2017

Working Spirit organised a Corporate Fellowship Program for Denis with Airflite.

Airflite is a proudly Australian business, with branches all over Australia and a strong presence in the Asian region. Established in 1981, the Company has grown steadily to become a leader in total aviation solutions.

After the Corporate Fellowship Program, Airflite have offered Denis a job.
Thank you Airflite for being a veteran friendly employer!
This will make the transition to civilian life for Denis much easier & Working Spirit is proud of the first Corporate Fellowship Program.

The civilian work experience alone would have been a great leg up in the transition process, but the job opportunity created out of it is a terrific outcome.
If there are any businesses out there that would like to offer work experience to transitioning Australian Defence Force members please email

After 22 years in the Navy, Denis is being medically discharged. Here is his story…

Denis: I’d been working in the electronics industry for 7 years when I saw an add to join the Navy, It said work on the latest electronics and see the world. It took me six months to eventually join and head down to HMAS Cerberus for recruit school and Electronics training, luckily I managed to get Recognised Prior Learning for 4 months of the course due to my previous experience.

I then joined HMAS Torrens over in Rockingham, WA. This was a completely new experience for me and on the day I joined the ship, the ship deployed for a few months no time to get used to ship life. And to add to the new experience I was told I would be in standing sea fire party, what’s that I asked, everyone just smiled at me. Over the next few weeks I got lost several times on my way to a fire exercise, as luck would have it, we never did have a real emergency.

In terms of working on the latest electronics, I would have to wait several more years before that came true, HMAS Torrens still used valves in the electronic systems I had to maintain, valves were was so old that HMAS Cerberus no longer considered it worth while to teach valve theory, time to hit the books. HMAS Torrens spent several years travelling around the Australian coastline so that the Navigation officers could practice their trade after completing the theory side of their course.

After Torrens decommissioned I went back home to Melbourne to begin training for ANZAC class ships. I then posted to HMAS Arunta over in the west to maintain the long range radar, identification friend and foe system and navigation radar. I enjoyed life so much in WA that I brought my first house, within three months I was posted back to Melbourne to the Anzac training unit in an Instructors position.

I really enjoyed my years at the Anzac training unit, until the Navy asked me to start teaching the Long range radar maintenance course (the first uniformed member to teach using the real equipment), I had no idea that I would be good at instructing and that I would get so much satisfaction from it. I was also lucky to be asked to provide my knowledge and experience to the company contracted to developing the computer simulation training system for the long range radar. When the simulation system came online I was involved in modifying the instructional material to fit with the simulator.
My first sea posting as a senior sailor in 2007 was on HMAS Toowoomba and we deployed for the middle east, it was a lot of hard work and long hours but was very rewarding in being there to help in the region. Two more years teaching again and then back to sea on HMAS Toowoomba for a couple of more years, one of my roles on HMAS Toowoomba this time was being in charge of the Standing sea fire and emergency party which was very rewarding.

After being at sea I was ready for some time ashore again and joined HMAS Stirling, posting into a new role, another career change, this time as a Project scheduler/planner for Fleet support unit – west for the last five years. In this role I’ve found a third profession that I’m good at and enjoy doing.

After twenty two years in the navy, it’s taken it’s toll on my knees and now I’m being medically discharged, I’m looking forward to taking my experiences and skills into a new stage of my life, returning to civilian work.

For people being medically discharged especially when it’s un-expected, life is not as bad as it first seems, talk to your workmates and your family, use your support services. It helps a lot when picking yourself back up.

Use your remaining time to prepare yourself for life outside, I got in touch with friends that had discharged before me and I can’t stress it enough you need to get your DVA claims in before you discharge, It’s so much harder to do later.

You have a lot of skills many people don’t usually gain in a normal career and for me my medical condition wasn’t an issue for the companies I’ve talked to. Use your Transition people and options, they help, and finally just stay motivated and focused, keep forging ahead and if someone says no you can’t do that, talk to someone else because sometimes they say you can, there’s many options to explore. Go with it.

Karyn Hinder Working Spirit Founder
Karyn Hinder
Working Spirit Founder

Karyn Hinder - Founder

Thank you Denis for your service.

I hope this has helped someone out there, go forward and be proud! Working Spirit are highlighting veterans transition stories. If you would like to share your story or any businesses wanting to share the benefits of employing a veteran please email

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Working Spirit - Australian Veterans Employment

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