Name: Joel Vanderzwan
WYWM position: Candidate Manager
ADF Background Service: Royal Australian Navy (2007 – 2013)
Rank: Able Seaman Marine Technician

What was the highlight of your military career? 

To highlight one thing is hard because the Royal Australian Navy provided many highlights but probably the 2010 Rimpac trip to Hawaii on HMAS Kanimbla. During this trip I was exposed to multiple breakdowns across multiple systems, as an engineering department we learnt more about each other’s capabilities as well as our system capabilities. Another Highlight would be my time on Armidale Class Patrol Boats patrolling the Australian Economic Exclusion Zone (AEEZ).

Was your transition from the defence force difficult?

“My transition was quite different to many as I was medically discharged after a motor bike accident. But I definitely felt that I was not prepared for employment in the civilian world. Upon discharge I attempted to re-skill to cater for a new career, however attending TAFE did not provide me with the professional network I needed to obtain this.” 

What have you learnt about transition after a week in your new role? 

“Speaking to many veterans a day, most do not realise that skills obtained during their time in defence can actually be very favourable to potential employers. New signups say things like; “I was a platoon leader, but I have not had much experience in management” my reply to that is; “you definitely have management experience, we just need to re-write your CV so the civilian recruiters understand your skills”. Most transitioning veterans are proactive in their transition but are unsure what qualifications or RPL they will hold upon discharge.” 

What was your previous role and why did you make the move? 

“Prior to joining the WithYouWithMe team, I was working in the financial services sector as a debt collector, in this role I was speaking to people who needed education on their finances, however I wasn’t able to really affect change for my customers due to the negative stereotypes of the debt collection industry. Working with veterans is not only rewarding but I feel like I am helping to solve unemployment and underemployment in Australia.

Link up with Joel if you would like advice about your current situation…