Home Maintenance: More Than Just Marigolds

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With more people delegating cleaning, gardening and home maintenance to others, there are real business opportunities to be had – and you don’t need to put on the Marigolds!

From Civvy Street #45 (March 2014), Words: Paul F. Cockburn

Home is where the heart is, so they say, but any home requires a certain amount of ongoing work to keep it safe and snug. According to a report published by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in 2011, UK consumers spend around £27 billion a year on home improvements, maintenance and repairs, covering “a wide range of internal and external services such as plumbing, kitchens and bathrooms, decorating, roofing and guttering”.

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Heavy Going: Serious Machinery In Civilian Life

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Chances are, you’ve been at the helm of some serious machinery during your time in the Armed Forces. How can you make that the foundation of a civilian career using heavy plant machinery and vehicles? 

From Civvy Street Magazine, February 2014

It’s not often that you hear a government minister, union official and qualification body ‘singing from the same hymn sheet’, but that’s what happened in the first days of 2014, with the introduction of a new scheme specifically aimed at improving training and skill standards for those behind the steering wheels of the UK’s many fuel tankers.

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More Career Paths into Civilian Medicine & Healthcare

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Whether you’re already medically qualified or had your appetite whetted by training or experience while in uniform, civilian healthcare and medicine offer excellent career prospects.

Adapted from Civvy Street Magazine, September & October 2013

No return to civilian life and career is that simple, but it’s fair to say that, if you’re looking to enter the civilian medical profession after discharge, your chances of success are good; you come with the kind of managerial training and cross-specialism experience that marks you out from your civilian peers.

Even if your time in uniform hasn’t been within any of the Army, Royal Navy or RAF medical services, the path ahead is reasonably clear; your core Military skills align very well with the values and standards of the medical professions.

Plus, you know more than you think; regardless of your previous specialism, you’ll have more basic medical training than most civilians; you’ll have been taught about health protection, infection control and environmental health — plus, of course, some level of battlefield First Aid, even if it’s just self-care.

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A Secure Career

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However long you’ve been in the Armed Forces, you’ll have invaluable skills and experience when it comes to security–and the good news is, it’s a booming sector!

Adapted from CivvyStreet Magazine, October 2013. 

Civvy Street can be a tough place. People, property, private assets and both public and commercial operations are potentially at risk from all kinds of unwanted attention, criminal or otherwise. While private security has always been around, it has certainly moved on from the old days of night watchmen warming their hands at a brazier or the simple alarm systems that, when triggered, rang a bell mounted on an outside wall!

The UK’s private security sector now employs around half a million people, contributing approximately £6 billion to the UK economy. It covers everything from operating CCTV and intruder alarms to physical security measures including the deployment of trained close protection personnel. In recent years, it has also expanded into activities that, while previously undertaken by police officers, have no requirement for police powers to carry them out.

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From Officers’ Mess To Boardroom

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If you’ve commanded Personnel in your time, your civilian career could be heading straight for the company boardroom!

Adapted from CivvyStreet Magazine, October 2013.

These days there are plenty of well-trodden paths for non-commissioned officers and other ranks between the Armed Forces and many a successful civilian career; popular options include the Emergency Services, and the security, transport, or construction sectors. If you’re leaving as an officer (however junior), your options are just as good; the command and management experience at your fingertips could well take you into the boardroom, or at least deposit you pretty high up the corporate ladder.

Having any rank (and the responsibility that comes with it) in the Armed Forces can be excellent preparation for a managerial career. There might not seem to be a direct correlation between guiding operations in Afghanistan and, say, managing a machine plant in Twickenham or a financial services company in the City of London, but your time in uniform will certainly hone a host of ‘transferrable’ managerial skills. Yes, your civilian peer might have gained a great MBA but, according to Michael Jordan of US company EDS, while that qualification can “give you the tools and familiarity” with making decisions, Military experience puts you “in a real-world situation”.

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Distance Learning

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Need qualifications for that new civilian career? You don’t have to become a full-time student to earn them.

Adapted from CivvyStreet Magazine, September 2013. Words: Paul Cockburn

What’s your idea of ‘a student’? Someone who spends a lot of time in the student bar, or sleeping at the back of a lecture hall? Truth is, lots of students nowadays are just like you; they seldom, if ever, set foot on the campus at all.

The last few decades have seen a significant rise in “distance learning”, where you study and learn remotely from the institution. As with most things in world today, this has benefited greatly from the rise of the internet, though many courses haven’t entirely given up on paper and print. Nevertheless, it’s even possible now to remotely sit your exams anywhere in the world as long as you have a secure internet connection.

Convenience is key; distance learning enables you to work at your own pace, fitting your study time into your life rather than the other way round. And it’s not just the simpler qualifications we’re talking about here; you can study for everything from the simplest certificate (needing only a few hours study, probably completed over a few days) to degrees and postgraduate qualifications that will require several years’ commitment.

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Getting Qualified

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Adapted from CivvyStreet Magazine, October 2013.

Although recruiters realise that there’s more to a CV than qualifications, it may be the case that, at least in the initial, selection process for interview and so on, that they will be guided by lines in the sand drawn of levels of qualifications. Recruiters may be looking for a minimum number of GCSEs, A-levels or a degree. We look at what you can do with your current qualifications and how you can upgrade them as you emerge from your time in the Armed Forces.

Because of the different options available in the Services, it’s entirely possible that one recruit will have had vastly different qualifications from the next. This is also the same at the time when Service personnel come to make a decision to leave.

The Armed Forces remains an excellent place to learn new skills and pick up qualifications and so a Service-leaver could have gained a huge variety of qualifications (similar or the same as those gained by civilians) during their Service. One of the issues that leavers sometimes face is simply that whilst they have a general idea about what they want to do after the Services they aren’t sure if their qualifications will be good enough or whether they need to update and expand their portfolio. The following is a simple guide:

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Why Join A BFA Member Franchise?

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Joining a franchise could be one of the largest and most important investments that you make in your life – not only financially, but also in terms of your own time and commitment.

Adapted from CivvyStreet Magazine, October 2013. Words: Paul Stafford, British Franchising Association

With hundreds of different businesses in every sector now looking for franchisees to grow, it can be difficult to know how to narrow down your search. Franchising allows many people to start entirely new lives, realising new lifestyles and ambitions, but only when done well.

Choosing which franchise network to join is not something to be entered into lightly and must be given careful consideration. This includes making sure you have thoroughly researched all the available franchise opportunities, what they involve and the market in which they operate. Whilst this is something that you should never try to cut corners on, there is one key aspect that can give you a much higher level of confidence when making your decision.

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