Opportunities to change direction after we’ve been in a particular career for a long time are rare. It isn’t impossible or especially difficult but it does take a positive decision (sometimes into the unknown) to make it happen.
All of the same excuses get churned out: haven’t got time, I’m too old, I’m comfortable in my career and I don’t want to spend money on training are just a few that come to mind. It’s usually a choice that people take their time over but of course since the announcement of redundancies, things have changed and hands are becoming forced.
If you’re looking at re-training or adding extra qualifications to your CV, there are three main options to consider: academic, professional and vocational. It depends on what your new career goal is.
Academic qualifications represent a formal path to certain jobs and sectors. For sectors where tradition is still important – finance, banking and accountancy such qualifications will usually lead to an entry level job with an expectation that you will add professional qualifications and accreditations on top, as you make your way up the ladder. In other specific jobs, such as school teacher, the role is literally ‘all graduate’ meaning that you will need a degree (in an appropriate subject, with further vocational training) to be considered.
It isn’t all highbrow stuff though. If you’re coming out of the Military without having gained any academic qualifications at school you can go back to improving basic numeracy and literacy.
Vocational qualifications are those tied to specific professions. There will usually be at least a small crossover with professional and academic qualification (depending on the level you want to operate at). The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) provides vocational courses specifically for Service personnel in engineering, building, IT and management and there are other opportunities available through colleges and other commercial organisations around the country.
Professional qualifications are perhaps the easiest to attach to readily transferable skills that you’ll have gained in the Services. It is comparatively straight forward to train to be a lorry driver if you’ve spent a portion of your Military career driving large vehicles. As well as this, professional qualifications can often trump academic equivalents on a CV. This is usually because they are acquired on an ongoing basis and therefore indicate a continuing progress in the role, not to mention that the industry based ideas will be up to date. This is particularly important for electricians, plumbers and mechanics where new technologies and methods are cropping up all the time.
Perhaps the best way of deciding on which new qualification to go for is to start with your career goal and work backwards. This will help you drill down into specific subject areas, finding out exactly where you need to start. A goal will also help to keep your long term motivation on track as you move forwards.
Once you’ve decided on the kind of course you’ll be looking for you’ll need to look at different ways of studying. For professional qualifications, you can choose to go to college (usually as a part timer) or find a job that will allow you to learn on the job. Far from seeing this as a waste of time many employers will see this as the hallmark of a motivated individual and are likely to want to support you and help you to become a more effective long term employee. It’s possible that they’ll even be able to help fund the training.
The Individual Resettlement Training Costs – (IRTC) Grant
The IRTC grant is available to Service-leavers with six or more years’ service and all Medical Discharges. It is a contribution to training costs and can be used internally at the Resettlement Training Centre (RTC), Aldershot or at a Regional Resettlement Centre (RRC) for vocational training courses. It can also be used externally for training with CTP Preferred Suppliers.
IRTC is available for tuition fees up to a maximum of £534. A range of courses at the RTC Aldershot is delivered within the MOD contract (called Contract Funded training). These courses are pre-paid by the MOD and only ‘cost’ the Service-leaver time and a portion of the £534 allowance. No money changes hands for the training but days and funding are deducted from the GRT allocation at a rate of £26.70 per day. The £534 gives access up to 20 days of CF training. Any exam or registration fees are extra and payable by the students but other allowances may be available to help with those.
The CTP also offers a range of courses that are not within the MOD contract known as Non-Contract Funded courses and you can use your IRTC grant or ELC to pay for these. (see right)
Standard Learning Credits (SLC) and Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC)
If you are not eligible for the IRTC grant, you can use your Standard Learning Credits to buy CTP training on a standby/reserve basis. Please see your Service Resettlement Adviser for more details.
Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) can be used for resettlement training both with CTP’s non Contract funded course programme and Preferred Supplier external ones. Strict conditions apply for using ELC funding and you are advised to contact your Service Resettlement Advisor.
Contact the Course Booking and Information Centre (CBIC) directly to check whether there are places available for your chosen dates (you do not need to contact the centre where the course is taking place). Once dates are agreed, the CBIC will make a provisional booking for you.
Civilian Phone: 02894 456 200
Military Phone: 9491 56 200
Note: Should your training course be offered through one of the CTP accredited Preferred Suppliers, then just contact the training provider direct to book.
You need to obtain authorisation from your Service Resettlement Adviser (SRA) and Commanding Officer. You do this by submitting an application for absence to attend a resettlement activity using JPA.
Once authorised, your JPA request will be pushed through to the CBIC (normally within the next working day) and if payment is required for your course, this should be made prior to attending.
Once your booking is confirmed, joining instructions will be sent out 10 weeks before the start of the course.
The CBIC needs to receive your JPA request within 28 days of your provisional booking or your provisional place will be cancelled.
Ensure you read the appropriate JPA Resettlement Guides available via the JPA Portal, or ask your Service Resettlement Advisor if you need further assistance.
What Type Of Vocational Training Does The CTP Offer?
The CTP offers a range of vocational training across four areas: Electrical training, Management, IT and Building skills. There are both Contract Funded and Non-Contract Funded courses.
What Does Contract Funded Training Mean?
Contract Funded training has been pre-paid by MOD and only costs you the equivalent of £26.70 per day from your IRTC grant for every day you attend on one of the courses. No money actually changes hands; your grant is reduced at source. Your IRTC grant of £534 ‘buys’ you up to 20 days of training and is the best way to use your resettlement allowance as courses are heavily subsidised.
So What Is Non-Contract Funded Training?
Non-Contract funded training is paid for by you either using your resettlement grants or by self-funding. Right Management provides these courses and they are extremely good value for money.