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Jason Brown - Retrain to re-connect with Life

Jason Brown standing in a shop filled with fruit and vegetablesRetrain to reconnect with life

From active service to civilian life

I joined the Navy in 1984, and served for just over 5 years. When I resigned in 1989 for medical and psychological reasons, I knew I was facing a career change.

I decided to take up the challenge of becoming a self-employed restaurant operator. Years following the closure of this venture saw reduced employment opportunities for me, due to a great degree to a failing knee condition.

Not in a good space

 It was thanks to my family that I managed to work in a local business for a while, with flexible work hours to help me with my worsening health conditions. Other short term jobs followed, I ended up on sick benefits and later got the sack. I did not know what to do, and for over 16 years, I remained out of the workforce.

When I turned 40, I suffered a minor heart attack, and shortly after that, my knee was operated on. The same year, I lost my partner of 16 years. What followed was a period of grieving. Substance and alcohol abuse led to very low points in life. Bouts of depression meant forgoing hope for the future. I was not in a good space. It was a very, very traumatic time for me.

Turning point

Since I have been picked up by DVA, the services have been absolutely terrific. Everyone has been cooperative and helpful. The rehabilitation service provider organised by DVA fully understood my circumstances: they organised suitable vocational training. They prepared me for return to work in a job I can actually do and will be able to continue doing without putting too much pressure on myself.

After doing my course in 2012, I decided to do some volunteering with an organisation called 2&5 Inc. (two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables per day) which supplies cheaper fresh fruit and vegetables that are sourced from local growers. This opportunity then lead to a job offer. Now I am active for up to 25 hours per week, managing the 2&5 Fresh shopfront for two-and-a half days a week. My boss is happy, my doctor is happy, and I’m happy.

A positive future

A realistic and goal-focused rehabilitation plan developed by DVA helped Jason get back on track.

His vocation-oriented rehabilitation assessment identified the need for accredited training combined with work trial placement. Jason successfully completed a computing course, learning MYOB, Excel and PowerPoint.

In December 2012, Jason gained a Certificate II Warehousing & Logistics from Gordon Institute (TAFE). With a forklift operator’s licence and a current Certificate II in First Aid also in hand, Jason was then ready to look for employment opportunities.

After more than 16 years away from the workforce, Jason is once again employed and part of the local community.

His new job has helped him gain a sense of purpose and value, and importantly, is sustainable and within his capabilities.

If you have a successful rehabilitation outcome and you wish to share your story, please contact us.

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