Military spouses aim high with RSL program
AS an air force wife, Donna Reggett moved 16 times in 20 years.
"It makes it hard to have a career. I married at 23 - at the time, I was with Telecom (now Telstra) so I was able to transfer around the country," Ms Reggett said.
"Of course, it meant I kept having to drop back to the base pay grade, but at least I had a job."
When her husband was medically discharged after deployment to Somalia, Ms Reggett had to give up full time work to become his carer.
RSL Queensland has made it easier for partners of current and ex-service personnel to achieve tertiary or vocational qualifications with its new scholarship program.
Providing up to $4000 annually for up to three years, the RSL Queensland Partner Education and Training Scholarship gives partners of current and former Defence personnel the opportunity to pursue their own career goals.
Ms Reggett, 55, who received the scholarship as part of the pilot program, said it was important for military partners to have qualifications to fall back on.
"You never know what the future holds," she said.
RSL Queensland Veteran Services manager Robert Skoda said military partners often had to shelve their career aspirations while their partner was serving.
"The military life demands a lot from all members of the family, not just the serving member," Mr Skoda said.
"It can be hard to establish and maintain a career when you have to move to a different part of the country every few years.
"These scholarships enable partners to access education and training opportunities that will enable them to forge a brighter future for themselves and their family."
The scholarship has enabled Ms Reggett to gain accreditation as a mediator and she is now studying family disputes resolution.
"This builds on skills I've gained in the past and allows me to help people overcome issues in their family life," she said. "If anything were to happen now, I know I can keep working until I'm 75. That gives me tremendous peace of mind."
Mr Skoda said the partner scholarships complemented the scholarship program that RSL Queensland offered to children or grandchildren of veterans, bringing the total potential value of scholarships on offer to $480,000.
"This is the second year we are offering scholarships to the children and grandchildren of ex-serving ADF members," Mr Skoda said.
"Twenty scholarships are available for university study or vocational education - each is worth $12,000 over three years."
He said the scholarships were part of a broader strategy aimed at providing support to the entire military family.
"Families provide vital support to Defence personnel, both while they are serving and when they transition out of the military," Mr Skoda said.
"RSL Queensland stands behind our military families with practical programs to build resilience, provide advice and assistance, and support education and employment."
For more information visit www.rslqld.org/Our-Services /RSL- Scholarships