Carrie and husband for Pathways website

From DC to Downunder

Soldier On’s Carrie Poore realised she wanted a role helping military families, after her own experience moving half-way around the world with her new partner who was posted back to Australia in 2018.

“I met my husband while he was posted to Washington DC. After his posting was over, he brought me back here to make a life for ourselves. I was so excited for the new adventure but when I arrived in Australia, I found it difficult and overwhelming. I felt isolated from everything and everyone I had ever known,” Carrie said.

After the first couple of months Carrie wanted to return to the United States.

“I missed everything that I loved and cared about – my family, my friends, my apartment, and especially my blooming career in Washington, DC.”

“I was at a low point when my husband forced me out of the house to go to dinner with one of his colleagues and his wife, another American from San Francisco. When I arrived at their home, she bombarded me with everything to know about Australian life.”

“She told me how great everything was here; in my head I was thinking yeah right. Then she started telling me about all the programs offered to military members and their families. She emphasised the importance of organisations like Soldier On and that I needed to get involved,” Carrie recalled.

Overwhelmed with everything mentioned that night, Soldier On was the only organisation that Carrie could remember. Her new friend mentioned counselling was available from the psychologist and they had activities with other military families all over Australia.

“She talked to me about how the activities were a great introduction to becoming a military spouse by learning from others. She told me about the education that she was receiving from colleges that were affiliated with Soldier On and how they were at a discounted price that she could afford,” Carrie said.

Carrie knew she needed help to find a job and someone to talk to and be able to connect. She checked the Soldier On website and made an appointment to speak with a Soldier On Employment Officer at the Robert Poate centre.

“The morning of the appointment, I thought about rescheduling, but I brushed my hair, put on lipstick, and got into the uber with a kind elderly gentleman driving. As he told me his life story, he got us lost.”

“I thought to myself this is a sign, go home, but I didn’t.”

“We eventually found the building and I was met by two lovely ladies at the front door. They greeted me with a smile and a nice cup of tea. I sat at their table and cried and told them how miserable I was. I talked about my big DC career, my family, my friends, and my husband. After I released all my negativity, they assured me that everything was going to be ok,” Carrie said.

The Soldier On Employment Officer reviewed Carrie’s resume and asked about what type of job she would be interested in. “We sat and discussed my future for over an hour and she made me feel that she really cared.”

“After our initial meeting, I started to attend Pathways events where I met different businesses, schools, and government offices that could potentially hire me.”

“I eventually found a position with a local construction company doing bookkeeping. While I worked there, I kept in contact with the Soldier On team and they kept me up to date with Pathways networking events, coffee catchups, and the Wellness Wednesday walks around the community. I would try to attend all that I could, to help support them and the great stuff they were doing for my new Defence community,” Carrie said.

In October 2019, Carrie found a job opportunity at Soldier On.
“I knew I wanted to help other military families dealing with some of the same issues that I dealt with, so I applied.”

“I am so thankful and proud that Soldier On choose me to be one of the new Pathways Employment Officers. I have been so excited to go to work every day and interact with the members of my military community. I want to be able make a difference in someone else’s life like the one that was made in mine,” Carrie said.

Carrie has been working at Soldier On for over a year now and loves being able to help veterans and their families. She works with veterans and a lot of Defence partners and spouses, and other members of the Defence family to help them upskill or find long-term meaningful work.

“It’s such a good feeling when they get the job they were hoping for – I’m honoured to play a small part in that,” Carrie said.

Soldier On’s Pathways Program support available:

The Soldier On Pathways Program provides free employment and education support to veterans and their families. This can include education opportunities to upskill or re-train, as well as practical employment support like assistance with resume-writing, job applications, job interview practice, the Soldier On Jobs Board and more. Soldier On’s Pathways Program also helps to connect veterans and Defence family members to veteran-supportive organisations who may be recruiting.

Pathways Program Director, Prudence Slaughter added, “Many of Soldier On’s Pathways team staff are veterans or Defence partners themselves, so understand the complexities of transitioning out of the Australian Defence Force, as well as the employment challenges Defence partners and spouses may face.”

“Carrie is a highly-skilled and valuable asset to the Soldier On team. She brings enthusiasm, understanding of the Defence community and business expertise to her role, to help enable as many veterans and their families to secure their future career.”

“I’d encourage any veteran or Defence partner, spouse or family member looking for future education or employment opportunities to reach out and contact Soldier On’s Pathways team,” Prudence said.

Soldier On support services:

The Pathways Program forms part of Soldier On’s holistic support services available to the whole Defence family. Soldier On support services include health and wellbeing programs, psychological support, employment support and education support and social activities. If you’re a veteran, Defence partner/spouse or a Defence family member, Soldier On is here to support you and enable you to thrive.

For support contact: getsupport@soldieron.org.au

If you’re a veteran, or Defence partner, spouse or part of the Defence community and job-seeking or looking to upskill, re-train or find new pathways to secure your future career, contact: employment@soldieron.org.au

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