Charles Sturt University student and former Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Combat Systems Operator David Hunt has discovered his career direction through the gift of education. And when it comes to study, his experience matters. David’s passion for helping others achieve success, combined with his desire for a work-life balance that would allow him to enjoy life with his young family, helped him make the decision to find a career path in teacher education.
David said highlights of his Charles Sturt experience include making new friends, feeling accomplished when he passed his subjects and the relief of finding his true calling in becoming a school teacher.
Royal Australian Navy veteran
Bachelor of Education (K–12) student
How did you find out about Charles Sturt University and what interested you in our courses?
My wife completed a Bachelor of Nursing with the uni and suggested it, as did a couple of good friends I went to school with who attended years prior. Incidentally, I helped build the students accommodation in Dubbo as a tiler’s labourer prior to joining the RAN, so I always knew of Charles Sturt from the very beginning of my adult life. I guess it was just a natural transition, as it has always had a good reputation and quite a strong presence in rural New South Wales.
Why did you choose to study the Bachelor of Education (K–12)?
I have always understood that the university’s training of educators was of a high quality, and I wanted to give myself the best chance for employment upon completion. My decision to pursue K–12 was to broaden my chances of employment with a major (mathematics) and range of teaching (primary and secondary), and I chose teaching because I have a personal desire to see others progress and succeed in life.
Charles Sturt University is a very welcoming university that proactively looks to help their students in various aspects of their studies and lives where possible.
What was your role in the RAN and what are some of the highlights of your career?
I served in the RAN as a combat systems operator (mine warfare) sailor and spent the entirety of my career posted to various Minehunter, Coastal (MHC) ships and land-based units from HMAS Waterhen, Sydney. Some of my highlights included undergoing exercises in South-East Asia as well as various ports around the Pacific Islands and Australia, where I was given the opportunity to visit other countries and work with various navies. I was also a recipient of two Commanding Officer’s Commendations in 2007 and 2010, and the Warfare Community Medallion after my promotion course in 2008.
What were your career ambitions when you first joined the RAN and how do these compare with your career goals today?
My first and ultimate goal was to go on operation, with the secondary goal of instructing recruits or trainee sailors. As well as these goals, I also had an ambition of possibly being a member of Sea Training Group, which assesses and tests unit readiness throughout the RAN. There are similarities in the goals I set myself in the RAN compared to me studying to be a teacher, as a large majority of my goals involved training/educating people.
There are similarities in the goals I set myself in the RAN compared to me studying to be a teacher, as a large majority of my goals involved training/educating people.
How will combining a degree with your experience and skills from the Australian Defence Force (ADF) add value to a career in teacher education?
I hope to demonstrate the qualities that have been instilled in me in the RAN and show to my students the meaning of loyalty, honour, courage, honesty, integrity, leadership by example, and that they may be able to draw from what I know and place it into their own lives.
Can you share any support services that have made the transition to study easier?
I found the Head Start program informative as to the general requirements while studying, and Study Skills for assistance with all things study wise.
What are the benefits of studying with a regional university?
One of the advantages would definitely be the lifestyle compared to living in the cities. Things are just that little bit more relaxed and open-aired, which can be mentally beneficial when studying full-time.
What are three highlights from your experience with us?
- Making friends with other students, especially school leavers, and seeing them progress in their studies.
- The sense of accomplishment I had after passing some subjects that definitely are not a strength of mine.
- Feeling relieved that I’ve found my direction in life after all these years.
What’s your best advice for other ADF veterans considering studying with Charles Sturt University?
My best advice would be that if they want to find a career path and are considering undergoing studies, they should not ignore this urge – grasp it with both hands. One of the greatest misconceptions that many veterans seem to fall into is that their lives peaked when they were in the ADF. This is not true by any means. In fact, their service should be seen as a cornerstone for the rest of their lives. That experience matters.
Ex-service personnel have a unique advantage of being able to operate under pressure, commitment to timings, punctuality, discipline and determination. These are qualities that many are searching for within themselves while studying; however, these are already deeply entrenched within all those whom have served.
The sense of accomplishment and assuredness that I’m working to a better future for myself and my family is one of the best feelings I’ve had in a long time, and I once again encourage any veteran out there thinking of studying to take that step.
Your Experience Matters
Are you a former or currently serving member of the Australian Defence Force? If you’re looking to enhance your current career or you want to find a career path outside of Defence, get in touch with our friendly team to find out how your experience matters.