I enrolled on Adult Basic Education (ABE) – provided by Local authorities in Scotland (free) to anyone who desires to gain up to Level 4 Literacy, Numeracy and ICT.
Whilst I was studying for these (2 hrs a week) and wondering where I get another 2 GCSE equivalencies from I read about the Army Skills Offer – too good to be true – The Army will pay for me to gain professional qualifications – That mean something in Civvy Street. - Even as an Army Reserve soldier?
Yes! The Army will pay for one professional qualification at each Rank. What’s involved?
Varies slightly but a Print of JPA competencies (the Unit Clerk can help), complete a (Military) CV, Select your course of study (there is a limited choice) fill in the application and get it signed by your Boss.
Then apply yourself!! It’s not easy – but if it was the qualification would be worthless.
It took me months to complete my assignment, but now I hold a CMI L6 Diploma in Leadership and Management, my employer has given me a new role and as soon as I was enrolled on the course AOSB were prepared to accept me for interview.
I passed AOSB in September 2015, completed my Diploma in November and begin my new job as a Battery Captain after Summer Leave.
Two years ago this was likely my last job - I’m 45. What will you do next in the Army Reserve?
Don’t wait; let your new Journey begin now!
As an Infantryman I never thought that I would be in a position to successfully graduate with a BA (Hons) in Management and Leadership. However in December 2014 that is exactly what I found myself doing, standing in line at Northumbria University waiting to be presented with my scroll. Had it not been for the Army Skills Offer and SLCs, I would not have been in that position. After completing WO2 CLM part 3, I took the opportunity to accredit my Vocational Qualifications with CMI.
I gained a Level 6 Diploma and completed a bridging module to gain a Level 7 Diploma, in Management and Leadership. Come June 2013 I had accredited enough CATS points to enrol onto the 3rd year of a BA (Hons) at Northumbria University, funded with help of ELCs, I was able to complete the final year of my degree, with only paying a small personal contribution.
Now that I have a BA (Hons), it has opened up some interesting avenues, both in and outside of the Army. I am currently pursuing a commission into the ETS, which without the degree behind me, would be implausible. It has also sparked the desire to continue with my personal development, and has shown me that higher education is not out of my reach, I am planning on enrolling onto a Masters in Management and Leadership next year.
Lance Corporal Lewis Duff, 4 RIFLES, joined the Army with GCSEs in English, Geography, Graphic Design, Art, Science and Media Studies.
Since joining Lewis has gained L2 Maths equivalent to GCSE, a management qualification on SCBC (Section Commander’s Battle Course) and qualified for his CAT B driving licence.
Lewis initially paid for the management qualification but this was later reimbursed through Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCs). He was also given time away from his platoon for his maths studies and to get his driving licence.
Qualifying to drive has been very beneficial for Lewis because he is able to live away and commute to work.
Lewis’s prospects for promotion are greatly improved thanks to his Maths and English qualifications. They will allow him to move up through the ranks. And, the driving and management skills will also help him to get a job once he leaves the Army.
Lewis says: “It made me feel more confident to know that I can fall back on the qualifications that I gained, if ever I decide to leave the Army. “I feel that if you put in the effort and do your education, you can do pretty much any course you want, which might not be available to you or may be expensive on civvie street.”
Talking about learning in the future, Lewis says: “I would like to do courses that would help me get into some sort of security job when I decide to get out of the Army.”
Rifleman Jordan Moir joined the Army with an A-level equivalent gained in New Zealand and a PSIA Level 1 ski instructor qualification, achieved in the USA.
Since joining Jordan has gained his Infantry Apprenticeship at Catterick, Ski Foundation level 3 at ATC Bavaria and Cat C driving licence at Catterick – all as a result of Army training.
Jordan had support from his Battalion to enable him to get his qualifications, which the Army pays for.
The qualifications Jordan has gained will allow him to participate on the NCO cadre with the confidence to do well. This will put Jordan in a better place, once he leaves the Army, with prospective employers.
The skiing qualification should enable Jordan to undertake the Army ski instructor qualification, after which he will be able to instruct his peers during adventurous training.
Jordan says: “It gave me an idea that I was progressing with my career and as a person. Also, that the Army was happy and willing for me to do so.
“It gave me the belief that the Army does care about my education and is willing to help me progress my career and leave the Army better educated and more qualified. The qualifications are out there for the taking.”
Jordan’s family feel happy that he is progressing. They are impressed that the Army paid in full for Jordan’s qualifications. In the future Jordan will complete the NCO Cadre and hopefully go to Sandhurst.
Bdr Pauliasi Ledua
Bombardier Pauliasi Ledua, 1 Royal Horse Artillery, joined the Army with limited qualifications. He left school and worked in a local gold mine in Fiji.
Since joining the Army Pauliasi has gained his ECDL qualification, Numeracy and Literacy L1 and L2, SDC Landrover, NVQ Logistic Management L3, Hazmat and Armoury licences. Pauliasi was given time off work to complete the courses and RACPD provided the study books and leaflets.
Some of the courses were free and others, such as the NVQ, were met largely by Standard Learning Credits, which covered £160 of the £200 qualification, the remainder being paid by Pauliasi himself.
Pauliasi says he has developed more knowledge and skills to do his day-to-day work more effectively, and has made good relationships dealing with customers. He feels more confident and more organised since having his qualifications and feels he can go anywhere with his career.
Pauliasi has a very positive view of education in the Army: “Education is the key to prosperity; more knowledge will increase our ability to move up the chain and achieve something good.
“My family are very supportive to me. They think that I will gain more qualifications to fulfil my dreams.”
Future plans for Pauliasi include getting a diploma in Health and Safety.
Fus Bradford Belizaire
Fusilier Bradford Belizaire, 1 RRF, joined the Army with a Diploma in Construction Engineering.
Since joining the Army Bradford has undertaken further education in Construction and Mechanics and is studying for a degree in either discipline. He has obtained his Cat B and H driving licence; is a qualified All Arms Searcher, and has an LV2 Apprenticeship in Mechanics Engineering.
Bradford has revised and studied in his free time and stayed focussed on what he’s trying to achieve, having been supported by his Apprenticeship Provider and chain of command. The courses have been free or funded in part through the Standard Learning Credits.
Bradford says he feels a lot more comfortable doing his job, and has become more confident in what he’s doing. He hopes his qualifications will help with promotion and feels really good about being qualified. He feels great having an asset that will benefit his career.
Education is the key to success says Bradford: “My family and friends are proud and happy knowing I’m on the right track to achieving my goals.”
Sgt Ronnie De-Bique came into the Army with a number of A-levels including English, Maths and Human and Social Biology.
Since joining, he has completed a degree in Forensic Biology, his JCLM Signals qualifications and a course in Bartending specialising in making cocktails, which was funded by his Standard Learning Credits within the Army.
For his degree course, which he paid for himself, Sgt De-Bique had support from an online tutor and he was able to complete the course alongside his Army role.
As someone who has always enjoyed learning, he sees the many benefits of gaining qualifications, he said: “It’s improved my presentation skills, my written work and public speaking. And beyond the Army, I think it enhances my career prospects, also making me suitable for leadership and management roles.”
Sgt De-Bique plans to continue adding to his list of qualifications and hopes to study for the Masters module of his BSc degree and complete BSAC Sports and Advance Diver course as part of his personal development within the Army. He also aims to add to his professional development by gaining further Command Leadership and Management qualifications and work towards a promotion.
Sgt Jeni Nicholson
Sgt Jeni Nicholson joined the Army straight from Sixth Form with a complement of GCSEs and an Advanced GNVO in Leisure and Tourism.
Since joining, Jeni has gained an NVQ level 3 in Communications and IT, and a level 5 Advance Diploma in Administrative Management.
Jeni’s qualifications were fully funded by the Army, Royal Signals and AGC (SPS) and she was supported in her studies by her Chain of Command.
Being able to gain her qualifications has made Jeni more confident in her abilities, which shows in the work she produces. “I feel that I am a more confident person because of it,” she said.
“My qualifications will prove I have more to show than just experience, and that I am interested in personal development, which will make me a more rounded person.”
Jeni’s new-found confidence means she feels she is more capable of progressing through further education and has looked into gaining a degree. Jeni says her family “are very proud that I keep trying to better myself, both personally and professionally”.
SSgt Daley came into the Army with three GCSEs in Science, English and History.
Since joining, he has gained a BSC Hons in Telecommunications Engineering and has final exams for a BSC Hons in Physical Science, through the Open University (OU), in June.
He has completed a Forman of Signals course, gained an HNC in Telecomms Engineering and a qualification in Preparing to Teach in the Life-long Learning Sector. He also used his Standard Learning Credits to complete non-academic qualifications like a swimming teachers’ course, lifeguard training and personal training and fitness courses.
Both telecomms qualifications were studied full-time at the Royal School of Signals as part of career development and promotion. His HNC and life-long learning course were studied part-time at a nearby college. His chain of command was very flexible in arranging work duties so they did not conflict with study nights.
The physics degree has fitted in well with his Army career: “The OU can arrange exam sittings anywhere in the world, even on operations, through education centres. Also travel to and from tutorials and summer schools can be applied for as duty travel under JSP 752,”said SSgt Daley.
With the exception of the two telecomms qualifications, which were paid for by the Royal Signals, SSgt Daley used his Standard Learning Credits, which reimbursed him 80 percent of the course costs or up to £175.
WO2 Napier joined the Army with nine GCSEs and three A-levels.
Since joining, she has gained all Command Leadership and Management (CLM) qualifications related to her Army career, a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) qualification and a BA Honours in Business Performance and Sustainability Management.
The CLM courses, which are required as part of the promotional path through the Army, were funded by Standard Learning Credits, which is an amount of money given annually to support personal development within the MOD.
The CIMA qualification was a military funded course and WO2 Napier received tuition sessions to support her learning. Her BA Honours degree was funded through Enhanced Learning Credits.
WO2 Napier, who now works as an accountant, said she gained a sense of achievement after intense study and the qualifications have enhanced his career prospects: “The CLM courses enabled promotion within the Army and also demonstrates management and leadership ability to potential employers. Gaining a BA Hons proves that you are able to learn at degree level.
“The CIMA is a good civilian qualification, which makes you more employable outside the Army.” WO2 Napier hopes to go on to complete a Masters Degree.
WO2 Ridler left school with some GCSEs before becoming a baker. He was fully qualified before joining the Royal Engineers.
When he became a SNCO he qualified in PRINCE 2, using Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCs), CTLLS – DTTT at ASLS and is currently working towards Level 5 Coach (following completion of DIAD, Extended L7 Diploma in Strategic Business Management using ELCs.
The PRINCE 2 and Level 7 Diploma were conducted in his own time with support from the training deliverer, with financial support from the Army. Proof of L5 Coach transferred from the workplace, with paperwork conducted in his own time.
WO2 Ridler said: "The qualifications have significantly changed my attitude towards my own development and encouraging the same in my subordinates. All of my civilian qualifications are transferable into the Army at middle and upper management level.
“I feel they have enhanced the effectiveness of my management, which was the result I was aiming for. The management diploma unit has assisted me the most, enabling me to apply strategic management models into every day management of the soldiers I have been responsible for.”
The L7 Diploma is covered on the LEOC, so he already has an understanding of it. He is working at the management level required of a LE Officer. This has been acknowledged and recognised in his previous SJARs.
WO1 Dixon came to the Army with eight GCSEs grade B to D but since then he has gained a vast list of qualifications including a degree in Engineering Management (Construction), a BTEC Higher National Diploma in Civil Engineering and a many qualifications required as part of his military role.
He was given time off work to attend University modules for his degree course and received financial support towards some of the fees. At the end of last year, having achieved the BSc, WO1 Dixon was eligible and subsequently selected for a commission. He will take post as a Captain this year.
He said: “My qualifications have assisted me when conversing with my superiors and civilian counterparts by placing me on to a more even keeled playing field.
“It always gives a sense of achievement when I successfully complete a course of study… At this stage in my military career it also helps to enhance my CV and make me more desirable to the civilian sector.”
WO1 Dixon plans to continue adding to his educational attainment by applying for Chartered Engineering status and topping up his degree to Masters level.
WO1 Regimental Sergeant Major Darren Redgwell did not have any qualifications when he joined the Army.
His educational journey started while attending the Infantry Warrant Officer course at the Infantry Battle School, Wales. During the course students were given the chance to sign up to a single module of the BTEC level 5 diploma in management studies which, combined with the completion of the Warrant Officers CLM course, equalled the first year of a University education.
After completing both the Infantry Warrants Officers course and the Warrant Officers CLM, he undertook a bridging course with the Wessex Business School from which he was able to gain access to the final year of an honours degree in Leadership and Management delivered by Northumbria University.
Since then, Darren has not looked back. He graduated in 2013 with First Class Honours along with a Deans List citation for academic excellence and went on to achieve a Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management, with most of the fees being funded by the Army as part of his educational development.
He is about to start the final year of an MSc and hopes to continue adding to his educational successes. He said: “All this was made possible by converting my military education to university accreditation along with studying a subject I have practiced for years being researched thoroughly in the academic arena."
Maj Greig Taylor
Maj Taylor came to the Army with a BSC (Hons) degree in Mathematics.
Since joining he has gained a PGCE (PCET), an MA in Education, Level 1 hockey umpire, Level 1 hockey coach, and completed some OU short courses in nutrition and biology. These courses were all civilian based and separate from Army training.
For the PGCE and the degree, study support was given through time off to complete the studies with Army Library Service/University Library support. The hockey courses were completed during Army hours, and the OU courses were completed in his own time.
The PGCE and degree course were fully funded by the Army and the hockey courses were funded through Standard Learning Credits (SLCs).
Being able to gain professional qualifications has improved how Maj Taylor does his job. “The PGCE and MA professionalised my delivery in the classroom and made me think more critically when on the staff,” he said.
“The hockey courses gave me further insight into how people from all three Services learn, and the experiences of those who deliver training but who are not necessarily qualified training deliverers. This has allowed me to measure my approach when discussing training topics.”
Undoubtedly having these qualifications have strengthened Maj Taylor’s CV, enabling him to move into the teaching sector one he leaves the Army.