Those who have already transitioned from the Military into civilian employment will remember the vast array of career choices, courses and qualifications that were available to them as they were leaving. Some will have made use of the various funding streams open to them from the MOD, some will have used their Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) and many more will have contributed their own money towards that all-important qualification that will guarantee them a job. In certain cases, many thousands of pounds will have been spent on becoming qualified to take a specific job or work in a specialist industry. A worthwhile investment? Well, sometimes…..
Here at the WEA we have seen a number of cases where people thought they had chosen and spent their money wisely, only to find that, when they actually started to look for jobs in their chosen field, they were actually qualified in the wrong subject, or had done this particular course instead of that one etc, etc, and having used all their funding and resettlement time, found themselves no further forward in terms of being attractive to employers.
So why is this happening? What is the problem? Well, it comes down to planning. What tends to happen is that a Service leaver will draw together all the information and advice they have available to them, study an industry or job type and then pick a course or qualification that will allow them to work in it. The problem with this is that they don’t very often speak to actual employers about what the latest requirements are and what may be required for the future of jobs in a particular sector.
If you know what you want to do, get in touch with companies who you may wish to work for and ask them ‘What is the best course or qualification I can do to make myself an attractive option for employment in your organisation?’ Most companies will be happy to chat through these things, as long as you speak to the right people and frankly, those that aren’t would perhaps be avoided as potential employers anyway.
Find out exactly what is required and if the company you wish to work for has a preferred provider or a specific course that they like their employees to have attended. By doing this you are ensuring that you prepare EFFECTIVELY and you will reduce the chances of hearing dreadful phrases such as ‘Oh that course was ok for this year’s intake but not now’, ‘We use a different provider whose course modules match our requirements exactly’. Or ‘you have completed a module the Industry is moving away from’.
By making your preparation effective and intelligence-led, you are not only giving yourself the best possible chances of gaining employment in your chosen field, you are also ensuring your hard-earned funding and personal money are being used well and highlighting yourself to an employer as someone who thinks ahead!
By Dom Hill, The White Ensign Association's Director of Employment Services