Future of Wellness: Navigating her way from the Navy to full-time Naturopathy studies

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | 27 April, 2021

Ashlea Howard had been in the Navy for more than four years when she stumbled across naturopathy. It drew her in, and she started gathering books about natural health. Having grown up around conventional medicine, Ashlea had no idea what a naturopath was.

“The Navy is a good career, and it was a very special time in my life,” Ashlea said. “But I was working in administration, and it wasn’t my passion. After seven months of deployment overseas, separated from my partner and family, I experienced the onset of anxiety and depression. I realised there are more important things in life than good pay and job security.”

“I love herbs and learning ancient knowledge about them. I’m also an empathetic, caring person, and I longed to work in a job that I was passionate about and where I felt a sense of fulfilment,” Ashlea said. “I went to an Endeavour Open Day when I was in the Navy and was inspired.”

“I started with an online subject at Endeavour, and then, when I was posted off HMAS Darwin and moved into the pay centre at Sydney, I enrolled in naturopathy full-time. I was working four days per week and had one day off to study. It was exciting to be connecting with like-minded people.”

After a year, Ashlea decided to focus entirely on her studies and left the Navy. She applied for a receptionist job at a natural health clinic in Brisbane, which is her hometown. On her Navy leave date, she found out she’d got the job. “It was a life-changing moment. I finally felt like I was on the right path,” she said.

“It wasn’t easy to start with – we had to make a lot of changes when I left the Navy, and we moved back to Brisbane. Eventually, we were able to buy a home in Springwood. This means I can study at the Brisbane campus and do some subjects on the Gold Coast. Thankfully, Endeavour is flexible, and even more flexible now that it’s moved lots of theory subjects online and made the student clinic into a block of time.”

“I think it’s a huge advantage to be working in the industry while I’m still studying,” Ashlea said. “I can ask the naturopaths at the practice about my studies, and they are very willing to share their knowledge and experience.”

One day, Ashlea would like to work as a practitioner herself, using her knowledge to guide others through their healing journey, especially in the areas of gut-brain health and mental health.


Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, and Acupuncture, a fully online Bachelor of Complementary Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.

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