Keith: I joined the Navy in 1984 and I continued to serve until I discharged in December 2016.
I started as a Quarter Master Gunner (QMG) which included duties with small arms, seamanship evolutions and ships husbandry (maintenance, cleaning and painting of the weather decks of a ship and was first posted to HMAS Swan.
In 1988 I transferred category to Writer as I believed that would be of benefit both to the RAN and myself. Whilst employed as a Writer I have been exposed to all facets of the duties and responsibilities required of a Writer, both at sea and ashore.
In my initial period of employment I worked in the Pay Office where I learnt the policies and procedures required to enable personnel to be paid their correct entitlements and as promotions occurred I was exposed with the management side of the Pay Office.
Following on from the Pay Office I was exposed to the facet of Accounts, which included accounts payable and the raising of payment forms for the disbursement of funds to personnel as part of their conditions of service.
This included the payments for leave travel and the allowances connected with official travel. I was also involved, whilst posted to ships, for the raising of the documentation required for personnel proceeding on posting interstate or overseas, including actioning the payment of the allowances.
Also, whilst at sea, and in some shore postings, it was my responsibility to design and maintain financial commitments and expenditures as well as monitoring the budget.
My primary role since being promoted to Chief Petty Officer has been to act as the Senior Personnel Officer of, in my case, primarily shore depots. The includes acting as the point of contact for Command and all other personnel as the Subject Matter Expert in all non-financial conditions of service including Performance Evaluations, processing promotions and other requirements of the service. This included provision of information to Command on all situations which could attract public comment and may attract administrative action.
I have many highlights from my time in the Navy but the biggest was the world trip that I did on HMAS Sydney in 1990, which also gave me the opportunity to see my Grandparents in the north of Germany. The other highlights, are of course the times in which I was promoted especially to Chief Petty Officer in 2007.
The best transition advice that I can pass on those personnel looking at separation is be prepared, in that you have somewhere to live and a financial buffer so that finding a job is a priority but you have the backup if required. The other recommendation that I would pass on is the ensure that your DVA claims are well and truly progressed. If you need help from a psychological perspective get help from VVCS and use them.
I believe that I would be suitable to perform any clerical, administrative, pay or accounts role as I have had wide experience in all these and have the necessary work ethic to do whatever is required of me. I am adaptable to change and have experienced first hand the transition of pay systems from a primarily manual one to fully computer based.
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