This December SAC Dean Payne will be leaving the Royal Air Force after seven years of service. With Dean facing unemployment and his wife, Leonie, expecting their second child, it has been a stressful time for the young family but Dean has found a shoulder to lean on...
I've served for seven years in the RAF as a Communications Infrastructure Technician (CIT). Day-to-day my role mainly involves climbing up masts and towers to service and install antenna systems and associated hardware.
I joined the military to challenge myself, see the world and develop new skills but sadly my service career came to an end earlier this year and I am now scheduled to leave in December.
When I found out I would be leaving the RAF I knew my transition to civvy street would be tough. I started to look at the options and what jobs were out there and saw that a lot of the skills I'd gained in service, would match up with a career in tree surgery.
I found some courses that would form part of my resettlement training but I didn't have enough grant funding. I was at a loose end when my Welfare Officer at RAF Leeming suggested I contact the RAF Benevolent Fund. Straightaway they were able to help and offered financial assistance towards the courses.
Being told you are unfit for service was really hard to come to terms with. It not only affected me, but it also had a massive impact on my family. My wife is due to give birth to our second child and we also have a two-year-old son and with a growing family we were not in a position to cover all of the course costs. The Fund not only helped with course costs but also funded the necessary equipment I needed.
I will be starting the course in October and am scheduled to finish end of the November and then hopefully will start my career as an arborist thereafter.
If anyone else feels like they are struggling with the transition to civilian life, don't be afraid to ask for help. Without the Fund's support I would have had no other choice but to compromise and complete a course that I didn't really want to do but thanks to them I have been able to pursue a course that I love.
From the bottom of my heart a massive thank you to everyone at the RAF Benevolent Fund.
By SAC Dean Payne