17 August 2023

Where are they now? Meet former first responder Jade 

Jade worked as a police officer in general duties for more than 8 years, with the majority of her time spent in metro positions across WA and one regional position in an indigenous village. After experiencing burnout and taking a short break, Jade decided it was time to transition out of the police force.

“I initially was only asking for leave without pay from the police force as I was burnt out and needed to return home (interstate). This was temporarily approved, and I moved and then it was withdrawn. I was ordered to immediately return to work that week or resign, so I resigned.” 

“I heard about Fortem through a police support Facebook page. It was recommended by other previous serving members to someone who was posting for advice about leaving the job and what their options could be next.”  

When asked about her experience using Fortem’s Career Management Program, Jade said, “Fortem are the only people who have ever offered any real assistance, and I cannot fault the assistance they have provided. Fortem opened my mind to various positions that I am suitable for and that my policing qualifications and skills can provide me and the RPL outcomes were incredibly surprising to me.”  

“Everyone was so friendly and prompt. If someone said they would get back to me in ‘X’ number of days, they did. I had no idea that there was a service offered to have my resume and cover letter professionally created. The insight into what my skills actually meant and could mean with the career navigator profiles was actually really interesting and opened up my eyes.” 

Jade also reflected on the difficulties she faced during the transition period. “There is a lot of unknown. I had never wanted to be anything other than a police officer. I had no other qualifications, never went to university, and had no passion or drive for what else I wanted to do with my life. I felt that I had no transferable skills or qualifications and did not know where to start. I think a lot of people would feel the same way.” 

When asked about the advice she would give to other first responders, Jade said, “As a police officer, even with limited years in general duties and no specialisations, those skills actually mean a lot to “the real world”. I had no idea that Fortem could offer a recognition of prior learning (RPL) service and was blown away at the civilian certificates that my policing career entitled me to.”

“My advice would be this; if you do not know where to start, or struggle to see how your qualifications and time within the police mean anything in the civilian world, absolutely reach out to Fortem. The different advice, supports, and groups offered really change the way that you think about yourself, your skills, and your career prospects.” 

Jade is now preparing to commence a new role. “After speaking with the staff about what my skills actually equated to in the real world, I had the courage to apply for a position I would never have previously thought possible. I am now two weeks out from starting a new career as an Executive Support Officer to the CEO of TAFE and will receive a considerable pay increase from my current administration-based position, all because I was shown what transferable skills I possessed.”