Transitioning to Success08 December 2023
How the RSL Employment Program helped Kristian Laing find employment success after the military
Air Force veteran Kristian Laing has traded planes for trains in his career, securing meaningful employment with Queensland Rail, thanks to the support of the RSL Employment Program.
Kristian left the Air Force in 2017, first working in Canberra and Sydney before happily settling in Townsville, where he now works full-time for Queensland Rail as a Train Station Supervisor.
Image: Defence Australia - Kristian Laing (R) prepare aircrew rations at the RAAF Base Amberley combined mess facility.
Reflecting on his transition from service in 2017, Kristian recalls how daunting it was to embark on the journey into civilian life.
"A lot of people are very scared to leave the military, and when I left, I did feel a bit overwhelmed. I tried a few programs to help with my transition, which were great, but RSL Queensland was that helping hand I really needed,” he says.
A FAMILIAR FACE
Kristian engaged with RSL Queensland for guidance and support at various points in his transition to civilian life to ultimately help him find the perfect job.
“During my transition out of the Air Force, I sought the support of RSL Queensland to help get moving into civilian life. When you leave the military, the ADF provides support through short programs for the first few weeks, but it doesn’t stack up to the longer-term support that RSL Queensland has provided.
“I was initially working with Murray’s Coaches across Canberra and Sydney, before I decided to make the move to Townsville. During the move I did feel a little lost, and that's when I re-engaged with RSL Queensland after seeing a TV ad featuring a former Army colleague.
“It was good to know that I had a support team, and I didn't feel that I was alone."
The RSL Employment Program is a nationally run program and administered by RSL Queensland
RSL Queensland understands that finding meaningful employment involves more than just securing a job. It’s about finding a role that fits a veteran’s stage of life and their ambitions, and that gives them a sense of purpose every day when they go to work.
“I knew I was driven and motivated. Whilst I’d enjoyed the jobs I was in, they weren’t what I wanted for myself long-term and that’s where RSL Queensland came into play,” Kristian says.
The RSL Employment Program has helped secure more than 1,100 jobs for veterans and their families, partnering with employers nationwide to help Defence families find meaningful employment post-service. The program helps participants gain critical skills to enhance their employability, including providing tips and training to support with resume development and interviews.
For Kristian, the program's assistance proved to be life-changing.
“The program team really helped give me some direction for my career, revamping my resume and helping me with some of those technical skills for interviews. Queensland Rail has a certain method of interviewing and the team knew this, so with their help I was able to land my current role.”
FINDING A SUPPORTIVE EMPLOYER
Kristian believes Queensland Rail truly understood the wealth of life experience and skills that veterans and their families bring to a business.
“I am very fortunate to have this role and it’s a job that allows me to do what I enjoy, interacting with people from different walks of life, while still providing the structure and support that is so familiar,” Kristian says.
Kristian Laing and his colleagues at Queensland Rail
“Sam, the Senior Employment Consultant who helped me, was always very engaging and checked in to see how things were going both prior to me getting this role and after.
“Coming from military and having that structure and support again, she was like my fairy godmother; she was incredible.”
For his fellow veterans and their families thinking of accessing the RSL Employment Program, Kristian has one message.
“Any time that I encounter someone who’s facing the same challenges I did, I make it a point to recommend the RSL Queensland Employment Program and to share my story. It helped put me on a path that I really love and made the ongoing transition out of the military all that much easier.”
If you, or someone you know, has made the decision to leave Defence, we can support your transition into civilian employment. Explore our free programs for ex-service people, Defence/veteran partners, and potential employers at rslqld.org/employment.