Training: Using Your Service Experience to Gain Civilian Qualifications

You will probably already realise experience gained in the Military makes you a fantastic candidate for a variety of jobs. Whilst not all of  the qualifications which you leave the Military may not translate directly to a career on civvy street there are ways of upgrading them to suit.

Military qualifications can be ‘converted’ into their civilian equivalents so that they become relevant to employers.

Civvy Street has examined two different fields where with the correct upgrades, your Military experience could be the basis of a successful career switch. Firstly, we scale the heights and look at scaffolding; finding out how training from The Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) will boost your prospects. We then cross to the garage and look at how the Driver CPC qualification could turn you into a well qualified job candidate with good prospects.

Hit The Heights In Scaffolding

Scaffolding is a demanding job but forms one of the cornerstones of the construction industry. The requirements are simple but important – physical fitness, a head for heights and an eye for detail.

According to the Health & Safety Executive, accidents while working at height were the most common cause of workplace fatalities in 2013/2014. Whilst safe practices of those working at height are paramount, the skill and professionalism of the scaffolders who erect the equipment they work on is an important factor in their overall safety.

The industry is so strict in its adherence to good practice that even scaffolding labourers are required to hold a qualification from The Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme (CISRS) just to get on-site.

For more than 30 years CISRS has been the industry-recognised scaffold training scheme. During that time it has grown to become the preferred scaffolding qualification of all the major organisations including: Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS), National Access and Scaffolding Confederation (NASC), the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), unions like UNITE and UCATT, and even a number of private firms including many of the largest scaffold systems manufacturers.

There are a number of tiers within the CISRS training family ranging from labourers, who handle the materials without directly building the structure, all the way up to inspector level. After a short induction course trainee scaffolders are able to work under the supervision of a qualified scaffolder as they gain experience to allow them to advance onto the latter stages of the qualification and build towards becoming fully qualified.

The career progression does not end with simply being a qualified scaffolder though. CISRS offers further training courses designed to help advanced scaffolders create ever more challenging temporary structures. (How else do you think they built Western Europe’s tallest building, London’s Shard?)

The Construction Industry Scaffolders Record Scheme has training providers right across the country from Aberdeen to Plymouth so you’ll have no problem finding a CISRS course in your area.




As a scaffolder you would be responsible for safe erection and dismantling of static scaffold structures. A recently qualified scaffolder can expect to earn upwards of £17,000 per year. (Source: National Careers Service.)

CISRS Course Costs –

CISRS Operative Training Scheme £125 +VAT

CISRS Part 1 £900 +VAT

CISRS Part 2 £945 +VAT

CISRS One day Scaffolder Skills Assessment £350 +VAT

CISRS Advanced £945 +VAT

CISRS Two day Advanced Scaffolder Skills Assessment £465+VAT

CISRS Scaffolding Management and Supervisory Course £795 +VAT

CISRS Basic Scaffold Inspection Training Scheme £375 +VAT

CISRS Advanced Scaffold Inspection £375 +VAT

Driving – A Life On The Open Road

For people that prefer something closer to the ground perhaps career options involving driving are more appealing. Most Military drivers have a list of qualifications from the Service as long as their arms but for many of them, there is one more step to take before they are able to take to the open road as a professional driver.

Since 2009 there has been a requirement for all professional bus, coach, and lorry drivers to hold a Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) qualification. The original aims of the certificate included not only increasing road safety but also attempted to standardise requirements across Europe.

New rules

Service-leavers of course, need to know that vehicles used by or under, the control of the Armed Forces are exempt from the scheme which means that unless drivers have already attained an LGV licence prior to 2008, or have undertaken additional training prior to the end of their Service, they aren’t qualified to drive professionally.

Even those who are ‘grandfathered in’ (those who acquired their licences before 2008) are still required to complete 35 hours of CPC training spread over five years in order to maintain their qualification.

Service-leavers that don’t hold these so-called ‘acquired rights’ need to first pass four assessments: two theory and two practical in order to hold a full Driver CPC:

Part 1 – Theory Test (this includes two separate assessments – multiple-choice and hazard perception – just like a civilian driving theory test).

Part 2 – Case Studies.

Practical tests:

Part 3 – Driving Ability Test.

Part 4 – Driver CPC Practical Test (a vehicle safety demonstration).

Upon completion of the course, qualified drivers will be issued with a Driver Qualification Card (DQC), which they can show as proof that they hold a Driver CPC. Once you have this, they are able to start the cycle of development training (35 hours over five years).

The legislation has made it a legal requirement that if you drive a bus, coach, or lorry professionally, then you must hold a Driver Qualification Card or you could face a fine of up to £1,000. (Your resettlement officer should be able to offer advice specific to your situation.)

How much does it cost? (Based on costs from:

Part 1: Theory Test (Multiple choice & hazard perception) – £50

Part 2: Case Study-based Theory Assessment – £30

Part 3: Practical Test – £115 (Monday to Friday) £141 (Saturdays).

Part 4: You should expect to pay between £190.00 – £275.00 all in (including tuition, test fee, VAT and use of vehicle)

How much can I earn?

Driving a Bus: Anywhere from £15,000-£25,000 per year depending on location.

Driving a Lorry: £18,000+ per year, with the top tier of LGV drivers earn on average £34,000 (Office of National Statistics)


Government Information:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.