Davin cites versatility of CQUni's teaching degree and 'togetherness' of personnel in helping him achieve an Australia Day Award recognition

04 February 2021

In the 28 years since Group Captain Davin Augustine completed his teaching degree at CQUniversity' he has risen through the ranks of the Australian Defence Forces' including as Chief of Staff of Australia's military headquarters' on Operation Accordion in the Middle East – a position he was recently recognised for at the 2021 Australia Day Awards.

Group Captain Augustine was awarded the Conspicuous Service Medal for meritorious achievement as the Chief of Staff' Headquarters Joint Task Force 633 while deployed on Operation ACCORDION from December 2018 to October 2019.

Upon remarking on the recognition' he harked back to his time at CQUniversity and how what he learned set him on the path to where he is today.

'I will sheepishly admit that I fell into teaching by accident'' he said.

'My parents knew that I had been focused on joining the Air Force throughout my high school years' but they were adamant that I should complete University studies before I joined – I guess their assumption was that I'd have something to fall back on if a Defence career didn't work out.

'I'm very grateful for their insistence' because studying teaching fundamentally shaped me into who I am today.'

Davin studied a three-year Bachelor of Teaching at the Rockhampton campus' and he said the time helped him mature.

'My University experience taught me a lot about myself' once I'd moved away from the somewhat structured and inflexible state high school system'' he said.

'This was the late '80s and the flexible pathways that exist today were not on offer back then. I was very young and probably more than a little immature. I'd only just turned 17 when Uni started' which meant that I graduated University as a qualified teacher at 19 years of age – way too young.

'So' overall' I think life at CQUniversity helped me navigate the journey to adulthood. I need to give a shoutout to a key mentor – (the late) Professor Robert Kelso' who delivered our 'Introduction to Philosophy' class. A great man' who prompted us to think about the big issues.'

He said he was sincerely humbled by the Australia Day recognition.

'The main focus of my role in the Middle East was to coordinate the efforts of a large number of staff in a big headquarters' undertake a liaison role with our Commanders deployed throughout the Theatre' and maintain communications back to Australia' he said.

'Therefore' I can comfortably say that this award is reflective of a fantastic team effort. I could only do my job because I was working with great people.'

He said the versatility of teaching and the degree he earned at CQUni was something he referred back to everyday as an Air Force officer.

'Looking back on a 25-year career in Defence I think one of the great things about the Teaching degree is just how versatile it is – it's not just about giving a lesson or designing a curriculum'' he said.

'It has given me strengths in planning' time management' analysis' communication' psychology' public speaking' relationship management' and the list goes on.

'Combine all those things together' and you have a very powerful' flexible degree' that prepares graduates for a range of employment opportunities. I continue to leverage off my teaching experience every day in Defence.'

'I think for some folk' they need to be part of a high performing team and they crave the 'togetherness' of a group. I was always going to seek that sort of employment. If it wasn't Defence' it may well have been the emergency services' possibly wearing a different uniform.

'I'm really thankful for the opportunities I've had in Defence. My family and I live a pretty mobile lifestyle' with my role changing every 2-3 years. Plenty of new challenges are always just around the corner – you never feel like you're getting stale.

'The Air Force and the broader Defence Force is constantly evolving. The opportunity to upskill our people' to educate and develop them' never goes away – it's one of the constant roles of a leader. So I feel very lucky that I've been given formal education skills from CQUni that I can use every day in Defence.'

He encouraged anyone thinking of studying teaching – or joining the defence forces to follow it through.

'Do it! Communicating an idea and watching your students have their 'lightbulb moment' is one of the most rewarding things you'll ever experience'' he said.

'For any readers thinking about joining Defence' do your research and get in touch with recruiting. After 25 years wearing the uniform' I can safely say it's the best thing I ever did. It's given me a sense of purpose' and I am able to contribute to my community' be that on the local' national or global stage. It's been a wonderful career.'