Career Transition

The Well Beyond Coaching Program leverages the power of peer support across the retirement divide and takes a unique and holistic approach to wellbeing. 

Research studies tell us that when thinking about retirement, most people focus on their finances, whereas to flourish in retirement requires broader planning.

Research also tells us that emergency service workers often suffer from a loss of identity, of collegiality and unresolved trauma when they leave their agency.

Well Beyond is a pioneering and best practice program of work designed to address a gap in support for emergency service workers as they transition from their agencies to retirement. It takes an evidence informed approach to support the unique needs of this cohort so they can flourish in retirement.

Financial preparedness has been the primary focus of retirement, whereas transitioning out of a career in the emergency services is a complex and potentially disruptive experience in a range of social and psychological dimensions.

Well Beyond takes a holistic approach to support retirement preparation by supporting workers with a range of wellbeing issues that can emerge after they leave service as a result of accumulated trauma and the loss of camaraderie, identity and purpose.

Coaching topics


Cumulative Trauma


Social Connection


Component 1 - Transition to Retirement: an organisational systems framework

Well Beyond has two program components developed and informed by extensive evidence gathering and analysis, and co-design workshops with end-users, experts, and other stakeholders.

Component one takes a systems approach to improving outcomes in retirement adjustment. Component two leverages the benefits of peer support to help individuals plan and prepare for retirement.  Collectively, these components address the psychosocial hazards that preserve and promote the mental health and wellbeing of retiring workers.

At the suggestion of the Learning Network and with funding from WorkSafe WorkWell, ESF developed a framework to guide human resources teams to progress actions at different stages of career to support employees retire in good health and prepare for end-of-career transitions. 

This framework is evidence-based and takes an organisational and whole-of-career perspective to suggest practical ideas that support wellbeing needs along a range of dimensions.

As well as being holistic and action-oriented, the framework includes links to tools, guides, and samples and will be available as a basic Word document for agencies to brand and adapt to their agency context.

Component 2 - Peer-based transition coaching

The idea of coaching for retirees in the emergency services sector was initially recommended in two preliminary studies undertaken by ESF in 2018 and 2020.

To date ESF have completed phase one (6 coaches) and are progressing phase two (10 coaches) of a peer-based coaching pilot.  This pilot has involved training sector retirees as peer coaches by providing skills and confidence to help older workers reflect on and plan for retirement.  Coaches have learned how to help workers who plan to retire develop a individual plan in a range of wellbeing areas to promote them to flourish in retirement.

These pilots have leveraged the strong sense of camaraderie and impulse to help others, which is strong in our sector, in addition to the benefits of learning from those with lived experience.  It is positioned as a ‘train the trainer’ model and so, as more cost-effective than the existing option of paying consulting retirement coaches.

In addition to having the potential to be economically sustainable for agencies, being coached by retired peers is revealing the additional benefits of:

  • keeping a line of sight on individuals who are struggling with the transition and providing necessary support
  • breaking down stigma related to accumulated trauma and associated mental health issues
  • giving retiree coaches a sense of purpose, meaning, camaraderie and connection to their agency or the sector.


I feel I have found a volunteer job which I can truly embrace and promote. I am excited, motivated and empowered. I look forward to coaching a lot in the future.


The standard of training was excellent in its conciseness, expertise and clarity. It translated easily into practice.


A great program which helps to understand that retirement is something to embrace not be frightened of. I wish it had been in place for me.


I wish the program had been available to me when I was approaching retirement. My feelings were like a coin – on one side, I was excited by the prospect of retirement. The other side of the coin terrified me – I am about to retire! What am I going to do? The course gave me the tools and confidence to be a coach.

Interested in receiving coaching? If you’re within 12 months of leaving the force, reach out to us at and we can help get you started.