Navy Clearance Diver Trust helping out our community
A message from the Navy Clearance Diver Trust
Established in 2011, the Navy Clearance Diver Trust exists to provide support for life for serving and ex-serving clearance divers and their dependants. This mission is achieved through two avenues:
- providing relief for clearance divers and their dependants from hardship resulting from injury or health impacts (physical or mental) of their service or training
- providing support programs aimed at helping clearance divers and their dependants to transition into civilian life successfully through initiatives such as professional career coaching to transitioning or recently transitioned clearance divers.
Daniel Kenny, one of the trustees, recently reflected on the work done by the Navy Clearance Diver Trust.
‘Although my own service as a clearance diver was relatively brief and uneventful, it really gave me an insight into the sacrifices that clearance divers make and the hard work that they put into delivering on one of the most unique capabilities in the Australian Defence Force (ADF),’ he said. ‘For me, joining the Navy Clearance Diver Trust was an opportunity to give back to this community, to ensure that the people putting themselves at risk in both operational and training environments could do so with the confidence that we’d have their back no matter what happens.’
Daniel was recently involved with representing the Navy Clearance Diver Trust at the Royal Commission into Defence and Veteran Suicide. Working with the Deakin University psychology department, the Navy Clearance Diver Trust conducted a survey of serving and ex-serving clearance divers and families to identify risk factors prevalent in the clearance diver community, to identify patterns in the data and develop proposals to minimise the risks to members of the community. This data was supplemented with interviews and direct submissions from members of the clearance diver community on their lived experience.
‘Being involved in the Royal Commission really brought home some of the impacts that service as a clearance diver can have on our people,’ he said. ‘They operate in an intrinsically dangerous environment and are almost constantly involved in high-risk operations in theatres of war. The consistently high tempo of operations, the physical strains of the jobs that clearance divers undertake and the mental load that it can create all have an impact on our people. We are fortunate to have such a tight-knit community and organisations such as the Navy Clearance Diver Trust to support serving and ex-serving clearance divers.’
Daniel highlights the importance of initiatives available through the Navy Clearance Diver Trust such as career coaching for transitioning clearance divers.
‘Courses such as these, the scholarships that we are developing with some of our sponsors, and the course we are developing on personal identity, put divers in control of their own destiny, helping them to carve out a successful and fulfilling civilian career and to build on the skills and determination which they learned through their career as a clearance diver.’
Royal Australian Navy clearance divers have served in all major conflicts since the branch was established in 1951, including Malaya, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Somalia, East Timor, the Iraq War and Afghanistan. Clearance divers are also used in high-risk ship boarding (such as suspected pirate vessels). In the current international climate of a threat from terrorism, clearance divers represent one of the most valuable and flexible assets of the ADF.
More information on the Navy Clearance Diver Trust and contact details for ex clearance divers or donors can be found at ncdt.org.au. If the issues discussed in this article cause distress for you, 24-hour, confidential assistance is available at Open Arms – Veterans & Families Counselling on 1800 011 046.