I’ve been a police officer my whole working life, and I used to think I wasn’t qualified for anything else

I’ve been a police officer for over 35 years: virtually my whole working life. My wife, my kids and my friends don’t know me as anything else. It defines me, it’s who I’ve been for most of my life; I’m Gordy from Forensics. That’s who I am.

I’m turning 60 soon, and in the Queensland Police Service you can’t work past 60 as a sworn police officer. I don’t want to stop working, and I don’t have the funds to retire, so I have to find a new job – but I’m not qualified for anything else.

That’s what I used to think, anyway.

In the middle of last year I learnt about Fortem’s Transition & Employment Program, when a Fortem Transition Engagement Officer (TEO) came to a work training day. All my workmates were looking at me and saying this would be good for me. By October, I’d joined up to the program.

My biggest concern at the time was that I didn’t have a resume. I hadn’t had to do one outside the police – and the internal police ones are completely different to what you see in the private sector. I did the three Fortem Job Preparation Workshops, and my TEO sent me a guide to how to write a resume. I wrote it and sent it to my TEO, and we went back and forwards a few times and now I have a resume I can feel confident in sending off.

When you sign up to the program, you agree with your TEO to meet certain milestones. You set those milestones and the pace yourself, but it gave me a deadline to meet so that I’m in a position to apply for jobs well before my finish date comes up.

The thing I’ve liked most about the program is that the level of support I’ve received has been unwavering. The networking has also given me new contacts in an industry I’m considering going into.

I used to think I wasn’t qualified for anything else. That started to change from the first conversation with my TEO, when he told me I’d be surprised at how many skills I have. I’ve learnt that I have many transferrable skills, and that police officers are very employable and have a lot to offer.

I’m still working out what I want to do, but I feel ready to apply for jobs soon and I hope I’ll be quite sought after when the time comes.

Doing the Transition & Employment Program has been the best decision I’ve made in a long time.

As told to Fortem Australia

Learn more about the Transition & Employment Program