News

Rocky sailor leads lawsuit after 5 years of broken promises

DISAPPOINTED SAILOR: Clayton Searle is leading a lawsuit, along with 200 other sailors, against the Australian Navy after completing five years of service and not receiving a Cert IIII in Engineering as allegedly mentioned in his contract. INSET: Clayton performing his duties.
DISAPPOINTED SAILOR: Clayton Searle is leading a lawsuit, along with 200 other sailors, against the Australian Navy after completing five years of service and not receiving a Cert IIII in Engineering as allegedly mentioned in his contract. INSET: Clayton performing his duties. Chris Ison Rokcnavy

WHEN Rockhampton's Clayton Searle signed up to the Royal Australian Navy in 2011, he thought he'd return home four years later with an experience of a lifetime and a qualification in engineering.

But after five years of alleged broken promises and no qualification in sight, the 23-year-old left the Navy and is now the lead applicant in a lawsuit against the very organisation he signed up to as an 18-year-old sailor.

For the past 18 months, Clayton and 200 other Navy sailors have been putting together a case against the defence force organisation after they were promised certain qualifications in their contract that the Navy has not upheld.

Clayton had always wanted a trade and thought he'd have the best of both worlds when he signed up to the Navy.

"When I signed on in January 2011 I was signed under a contract that said I would receive a Cert IV in engineering in a four-year time span," he said.

"That's why I joined because I thought the idea of the Navy was pretty cool, serving the country, travelling and coming out with a trade. I, along with many others, have a contract in black and white that says on this date four years later we will receive a Cert IV in engineering."

Two years into his service Clayton started to get concerned when he had completed little to no engineering training.

"I hadn't received any training or enough training that would qualify me in another two years' time," he claimed.

"I, and 50 other sailors, always asked what was happening with our training and each time we'd be told that we'd be getting a visit from higher up in a few weeks' time. When that time came we were told they were in the process of making us these new courses and that we'd come out with a Cert III which is a lesser qualification than the certificate we were promised.

"I was made to sign a variation contract from a Cert IV to a Cert III when a guy came into the classroom saying that the Cert IV wasn't happening anymore. Even if I'd gotten the Cert III it wouldn't have been worth the paper it was written on as I would have had to do excess training as a civilian to gain the full qualification."

Clayton, who spent the past two years battling pirates out on the waters of the Middle East, left the Navy after five years of service and returned home to Rockhampton a month ago. He's been looking for work ever since.

"It's so frustrating because I joined to get a trade and I would have had it by now," he said.

"I'm 23 and I've got hardly any qualifications. I'm struggling to find a job and that's why we all want the compensation but at the end of the day the compensation isn't going to help the fact that I, along with 200 other people, am still four years away from a trade.

"I've only got a Cert II in Engineering and a Cert II in Transport and Distribution which you can do at TAFE in a week. I'm all for people joining the Navy but what you see on TV is not what happens in real life."

A Defence spokesperson said the Navy was "aware of the concerns raised by some current and former marine technicians, who joined the Navy under the Marine Technician 2010 Career Continuum, and has engaged with those affected".

"The Navy's position is to solve this training issue," the spokesperson said. "Unfortunately, as a result of the legal proceedings being commenced, the Navy is unable to comment further."

Topics:  lawsuit, qualifications, rockhampton, royal australian navy




Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

The today show hits the beef capital tomorrow

Today Show live broadcast from Mooloola Beach. March 10, 2016. Photo Patrick Woods / Sunshine Coast Daily

The breakfast crew of Channel 9’s Today Show will be live in Rocky

LISTEN: CQU studies sport and race betting inducements

SCU, Professor Nerilee Hing. Photo Contributed John Waddell

New $300,000 study assess effects of sport betting inducements

Rocky med students take a stand against offshore processing

MEDICAL STUDENTS studying at the University of Queensland Rockhampton Clinical School took a stand over the weekend to participate in the national online #BringThemHere photo campaign to show the Australian Government their concern over the current treatment of asylum seekers and call for an end to offshore processing. Photo Contributed

'We will be doctors in the next two years'

Latest deals and offers

Rocky hospital waiting lists down

Queensland Health Minister was in Rockhampton to congratulate hospital staff for...

Qld Health Minister on Rocky Hosp parking

Queensland Health Minister, Cameron Dick, talks about the carpark issue at the...

Capricorn Segways at CQ Mega Lifestyle Expo

DREAM TEAM: Geri and Dani Simpson promote Capricorn Segways at CQ Mega Lifestyle Expo on the weekend.

Dani and Geri Simpson from Capricorn Segways at CQ Mega Lifestyle Expo on the...

Own Sunshine Coast property? You’re about to make money

UP AND UP: Property owners are likely to win from rent and price increases but tenants and first home buyers might not be so happy. Photo: Brett Wortman / Sunshine Coast Daily

Good new for property owners, not so good for buyers and tenants.

Sale nears on last large block of land in Coolum

The 43.37ha property on South Coolum Rd has sold.

South Coolum Rd property to be land banked