Retraining for Civvy Street – Training options for those leaving the Armed Forces
By Michael O'Flynn
Are you aware of your training options and transferable skills when leaving the armed forces and how desirable these may be in white collar professions such as management, marketing or sales?
This December will be the final tranche of the 4 year redundancy plan for the UK armed forces with just over 1000 personnel from the Army moving back to Civvy Street [source]. This is on top of the previous three rounds of armed forces redundancy, a figure around the 11,000 person mark [source].
Growing up in a military family, I have been surrounded by forces personnel for most of my life and have seen many people join and leave the forces at various levels and ages. Both my uncle and father (Army and RAF respectively) are still in the service but will one day return to civilian life, a transition that can worry a fair few of those coming to the end of active service.
The British Military has always been exemplary in preparing those who have served for life post forces with support, advice and vocational courses but what options are available to you if you have recently left the armed forces and are looking to step into a white collar job role?
what are The Transferable Skills of Forces Personnel?
Let’s start with those key skills and character traits you will have picked up during your tour of service.
An obvious one to start with but if you have progressed through the ranks of the Armed forces chances are you have been in charge of a team, their wellbeing, morale and completing objectives as a unit.
The second most obvious of all the transitional skills for forces personnel is that they are trained to work and thrive in a team environment. Supporting the person next to you is one of your key roles in any of the services.
Ability to learn and adapt –
Having been through several levels of training from basic training up to technical job specific training, you will have a heightened ability to absorb and apply whatever training you may be given.
You will have “been there and done that” meaning you will be equipped with some great stories, an outgoing personality and the ability to settle into new environments quickly.
You committed a portion of your life to the Army/Navy/RAF and that level of commitment is always desired by potential employers.
Discipline & Determination –
Your training taught you to be disciplined in situations of high stress and pressure. Your experiences and challenges you would have faced during your time of service demonstrate determination.
You will have no doubt been in a situation where you have had to use your initiative and problem solving skills to overcome an obstacle. That combination of practical thinking and ability to think “outside the box” can really help you stand out in the work place.
So there are 7 transferable skills you can put on your CV when returning to Civvy Street and you can apply these in an interview to demonstrate your capability as a potential employee but how about backing this up with a Professional Qualification?
what are the Training & Qualification options?
Whilst serving you were probably made aware of vocational courses as well as training providers e.g. City & Guilds or qualification providers such as Open University, but there are also certain awarding bodies for Management, Sales and Marketing.
ISMM Sales Qualifications
ISMM is the leading awarding body for sales training in the UK. Now you may be thinking “how does my previous experience lend itself to a role in sales?” The answer lies in your transitional skills that we listed. Your real world experience, teamwork, problem solving and determination being key but all of these skills are applicable to being successful in a sales role. The ISMM will provide the training that will marry your life skills with professional sales knowledge and techniques. Progressing from entry level to account management roles there is also a significant number of job roles and a real chance for progression with in the industry.
CMI Management & Leadership Qualifications
If you are leaving the forces having held an Officer or NCO position you may well consider a career in management. This would lend itself to your leadership experience as well as other transferable skills. The job role is also industry transitional which would allow you to pursue an industry you are passionate about in a management position. The CMI, much like the ISMM with sales, provide the knowledge and training to link your skills with academic theory and practical learning outcomes to prepare you to excel in a professional management role across any sector.
But won’t this all take a long time and cost a fair bit of money? – It isn’t as bad as you may think. In regards to costs there are funding options available as well as payment plans with accredited study centres and time wise you are looking at a part-time commitment to flexible learning and completing the qualification in a year to 18 months, something you can do alongside your current job role.
Funding and support for those moving out of the armed forces.
A couple of places you may want to look for information on available funding and advice after you leave the forces can be found online, for example Civvy Street that works in partnership with the Royal British Legion and has general advice as well as advice on funding after you leave the forces which is well worth reading up on.
We wish you luck on your return to Civvy Street and all your best in future job roles. We hope this blog has proved that your military service has provided you with some skills that are highly desirable in the civilian work place across a number of job roles.
If you would like to discuss the Professional Qualifications on offer via Professional Academy, you have a few options: you can download a copy of the prospectus you are most interested in, contact Paul for advice at any time or call our Head Office on 01223 221 934 to discuss the options available to you.