Reconnecting through flexible service

One year after leaving full-time service and moving back to his hometown, Private Dylan Smith was searching for a connection. Now, after a few months taking part in ServeOn, he says he’s found it.

CAPTIONAustralian Army soldier Private Dylan Smith, of 11 Engineer Regiment, has found a new flexible role that suits his lifestyle through ServeOn. Story by Jon Kroiter.

Private Smith grew up on the Gold Coast and enlisted in 2014 before being posted to Darwin to 8/12 Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery.

In 2018, he corps transferred to become a supply-chain storeman with 1 Aviation Regiment, which he continued until halfway through September 2021.

Struggling mentally and missing his family, especially his young nieces and nephews, Private Smith left full-time service and returned to the Gold Coast.

He quickly found civilian work and was able to draw upon his Army logistics experience to become a disposal supervisor at Linfox.

However, Private Smith was missing the connection he had with Army.

In November 2022, he received a phone call from his local contingent workforce management cell to see if he was interested in returning to service in a flexible role through the ServeOn initiative.

Interested by the prospect, Private Smith began searching vacant jobs on OneArmy.Potential.

“It was for the social aspect,” Private Smith said.

“I’m not the most sociable person, so to have a group – quite a welcoming group as well – that have similar experiences and a similar understanding of things was appealing.”

Private Smith began working at 104 Construction Squadron on a SERCAT (Service Category) 3 basis in his former role of supply-chain storeman.

He found the flexibility of serving on Tuesday nights allowed him to manage a good work-life balance, maintain his Army skills and make new connections.

“It’s good to keep that skillset,” Private Smith said.

“I did a little bit of infantry minor tactics and when it was time to refresh my knowledge, I actually realised that I knew a fair bit.

“Going into that environment I was able to provide feedback to some of the reservists because some of them had never done full-time Army.”

Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Corey Peterson has enjoyed having Private Smith at 104 Construction Squadron on a flexible arrangement.

“Private Smith has been very helpful and very useful,” WO2 Peterson said.

“As a SERCAT 3 member, he brings different knowledge and different experiences to the table.”

Private Smith has enjoyed the opportunity of serving in a flexible way that suits his current lifestyle.

“When I serve, it varies depending on what the unit has going on and my availability as well,” Private Smith said.

“The flexibility and social aspect is great. I’ve really enjoyed going out on a Tuesday night to meet people and start getting to know them.”

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


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