David Jones, 31, joined The Army Reserve in 2011
David Jones, 31, joined The Army Reserve in 2011 Megan Taylor

Lt David Jones is living adventure beyond 9-5

HE'S an ordinary bloke, doing extraordinary things.

David Jones, 31, a crown prosecutor with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, joined The Army Reserve in 2011.

While he loves his civilian job, he says he was looking for something different, another element to add to his life, and The Army Reserves seemed to offer just that.

"In my civilian job, I spend all day behind a desk or in court," Lt Jones said. "And I wanted to do something completely different.

"I was drawn to The Army Reserves because it is so different to my everyday life. And because it presented a challenge, both mentally and physically."

Just three years after signing up, Lieutenant Jones, from Toowoomba, is now a platoon commander with 31/42 Royal Queensland Regiment, an infantry battalion of the Army Reserve's 11 Brigade.

He says his journey from enthusiastic newcomer to respected leader has given him confidence, and armed him with skills and knowledge he uses not just in his Army Reserve life, but also in his civilian life.

"The first training everyone does is basic training, where you learn the basics of being a soldier," Lt Jones said. "From there you are encouraged to keep training, build your skills and go higher.

"The training is exceptional; really exceptional. You are exposed to so many things: management of soldiers, how to deal with pressure, how to make decisions - good decisions - quickly and effectively.

"These are skills I take back to my civilian job, and my everyday life. Even though the environments are totally different, the skills cross over. The training has been invaluable"

Lt Jones says while training can be challenging, he never felt unprepared or unsupported.

"You are assessed at the beginning of training, and then made aware of any issues you might have that are holding you back. You are put in some high-pressure situations during training, and you have to rise to the occasion. But you are fully supported. There is a real focus on self-improvement, and if you have a question or a problem, there is always someone there to help."

Reserves spend at least two days each month on duty, with a longer training block every three months. In addition, Reservists can volunteer to participate in support tasks and courses, which they are paid for, tax-free. Some Reservists chose to take part in deployments, taking them anywhere in the world, others choose to stay local and make a contribution when their community needs a hand.

Lt Jones, a member of the local rugby club who is about to marry his fiancé, says that for him, the flexibility of The Army Reserve is key to its success.

"They understand that you have a life outside The Reserves, and they are always understanding and flexible with that. It allows you to be committed, without being tied down. There have been times when I've been training and a personal matter has come up, and I have had the flexibility to get straight home.

"If you show your commitment to The Reserves, they will do whatever they can for you. So you can be a really valuable part of The Army Reserve, and still live your life. That's what makes it work for me."

There are over 2000 Queenslanders serving in the Army Reserve. They are men and women, like Lt Jones, who live and work in our towns and local communities.

Lt Jones says he would encourage anyone to look into becoming part of The Army Reserve.

"I wish I'd done it years ago," he says. "It's given me whole new part of my life that I really value."

Visit www.defencejobs.gov.au or contact 131 901 to find out more.

Life as a reservist

You can stay home or travel the world: You can choose to help communities in your area or be deployed around Australia or the world. Help keep the peace abroad, train overseas, or rebuild communities in places like flood-ravaged Queensland.

You only need to commit to a minimum of 20 days a year: Beyond that, it is up to you how much time you commit to; the Army understands you have a life, job, family and social life.

There are a variety of jobs available: While everyone is trained as a soldier first, there are a variety of positions to choose from, everything from admin to technical to transport.

You don't have to be super fit: Military training is nothing to be afraid of. The Army understands everyone has different fitness levels, so each course is designed at a pace that's achievable.

The pay is tax free: You are paid during training, and whenever you're required for deployments or assistance missions. And it's all tax free.

The training is second to none: The expert training you will receive in the Army Reserve is unparalleled, using the latest equipment to develop skills in leadership, communication, problem solving, and physical fitness - real skills you can use in your civilian life and work.

The Army takes care of you: There's free food and accommodation whenever you're out training, free uniform and equipment, and if you need to travel to attend initial training, those expenses are covered.

Don't give up your day job: The Army Reserve works with employers, too. Your employer may be eligible for a subsidy from the Army to compensate for your absence.

You can really make a difference: As a Reservist, you'll be part of the team that helps to rebuild the lives of entire communities. You could be providing assistance to tsunami and earthquake victims, or helping with peacekeeping efforts further abroad.

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