12 October, 2015. 17:05

ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact

JOINING THE ARMED forces is often overlooked by many high school leavers – not because of the taxing lifestyle and hard work, but because young people are under the misconception that our men and women in uniformed don’t earn very much, according to a recent report.

However, nothing could be further from the truth.

There are positions within the military that come with more perks and a fatter pay package than the prime minister, making them amongst the highest paid public servants in the country.

Those positions aren’t without their risks, but the entry requirements into these positions aren’t as academically rigorous as what you might encounter at a university. These jobs require a different type of intelligence – one that combines emotions and well as street smarts.

Unfortunately for many high schoolers, these roles require you to be inhumanly fit. While you’ll be duly compensated for your time, part of the job includes running all day while carrying nearly 50kg of equipment.

Gregor said jumping out of airplanes was fun as fuck. PHOTO: Supplied.
Gregor said jumping out of airplanes was fun as fuck. PHOTO: Supplied.

In 2005, Gregor Townsend graduated high school with a UAI [ATAR] that even he was shocked by.

“When I got the email and saw the number, I thought to myself ‘well, you’re really fucked now mate’ and I also resigned to the fact that I’d never have anything in this life,” said Townsend. “Now I’ve got three mortgages and I’ve been to countries all over the world – some I can’t even tell you about!”

While Gregor said he was never much good at French class, let alone English, he said he was a great fit when he enlisted shortly after schoolies week.

“I was training to be a medic in the army when my XO knocked on my door and had a chat,” he said.

What Gregor’s XO told him would change his life.

“He said, ‘look Gregor, you’re a pretty fit bloke and you seem like you’re normal. You should trial for the regiment’. Took me by surprise it did.”

A little over two years later, Mr Townsend was on the phone to his mortgage broker from Tarinkot in southern Afghanistan securing the deposit on his second Brisbane property. After telling The Advocate that he was getting screwed on the stamp duty, he said it was the best thing he’s ever done.

“Look, when I left school, I thought I was fucked. But you never know what this life will throw at you. If you asked me ten years ago where I’d be know, I would’ve said prison or worse. But for a bloke who got a UAI of 50, it just goes to show that it’s just a number – the rest is up to you.”


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