Flexible service helps soldier achieve life goals

Having extra cash each month is something that would interest any university student.

CAPTIONAustralian Army reserve soldier Private Cameron Parkinson from 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment at Gallipoli Barracks in Enoggera, Brisbane. Story by Jon Kroiter.

For Private Cameron Parkinson, his work as a SERCAT (service category) 3 soldier did that and more; allowing him to save up enough to get married to his wife Therese in April, and progress through his degree all while serving in Army.

Having enlisted in Army as a rifleman in 2015, Private Parkinson served at 6th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment before leaving full-time service in 2019 to study psychology.

Earlier this year, Private Parkinson was looking for a way to serve and balance his lifestyle when he discovered flexible service opportunities through ServeOn.

“I was trying to earn extra money where I could, so I thought it was perfect,” Private Parkinson said.

“It’s a good little extra tax-free boost in my bank account at the end of the week.”

Private Parkinson discovered the range of service options available and, after speaking with his local contingent workforce management cell member, he discovered a SERCAT 3 role with his old unit.

“Being with my old unit is fantastic because I felt comfortable straight away,” Private Parkinson said.

“Being in the Army and still getting that excitement that comes with being around my mates and having that bond that I’ve been missing for so long has been great.”

Since being part of Charlie Company, Private Parkinson has quickly drawn on his skill and knowledge within the battalion, according to Officer Commanding Major Grant Coombe.

“Cameron and all the SERCAT 3 and 5 personnel that come into Charlie Company provide great capability,” Major Coombe said.

“With SERCAT 3 or 5 service, we do need to have more people to be able to perform a single role.

“However, it’s a situation where it allows us to give them flexibility, but it also allows us to fill up the capability we have within the battalion.”

Private Parkinson has been parading once or twice a week during business hours so far and is looking forward to the university break, where he’s planning to provide block periods of service so he can go on exercise.

“It’s very flexible with what I’m trying to do,” Private Parkinson said.

“It’s like the Army is doing its best to work around me. It’s great.”

ServeOn is an Army initiative that lets people serve on their own terms.


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