Civvy Life – Kayam Iqbal

Civvy Life – Kayam Iqbal

Off By Ed Hanna

Kayam Iqbal is a former RAF medic and language specialist. His company, JobOppO helps Veterans to connect directly with businesses to find employment.

What’s your Military background?
I joined in 1999, as an RAF Medic, and in 2003 I was part of an Aeromedical Evacuation Team. I was given the opportunity a number of years later to study Pashto, (Afghani) since local interpreters were unfortunately not providing the information required.

I was medically discharged with PTSD in 2010 having Served for just under 12 years. It was a little while ago, but it seems like yesterday.

How was resettlement?
Unfortunately, the transition was difficult, the support wasn’t there. I was one of quite a few who slipped through the net. I ended up selling scratch cards for Camelot.

Never having a CV, that was the only employment I could get. It was heart-breaking.  But, like most Military personnel, the resilience was there, I ended up studying, project management and change management. I was given my first opportunity with BT as a change analyst. From there I ended up progressing through several organisations, such as Tesco, Marks and Spencer and Serco, as a project and programme manager looking after 50 plus million pound programmes at any one time.  

Can you tell us about JobOppO?
In the background I was launching JobOppO. It has been around for about nine years, but we’ve invested heavily throughout this pandemic, over the last few months.

The job board is only open to ex-Military, or those who are due to leave, so it’s a closed community. 100% of the candidates are verified – so that’s the unique selling point. The second thing for us is that our corporate clients are supportive of the Armed Forces. They have access to our job board, but we do not allow any recruitment agencies to post their jobs. All Veterans can sign up to JobOppO, no matter how long ago they left the Military. 

There’s a lot of stuff that we’re doing in the background to support ex-Military as well, such as live seminars, and events. We’ll have industry experts and leaders from FTSE companies talking to our ex-Military and advising them, all at no cost.

What do you think attracts employers to Service-leavers?
How we can be dropped into a role or a position, and diversify, acclimatise, and adapt so quickly. That is stuff that is absolutely unique, that the Military have really taught us to do well. I think a lot of companies and organisations are seeing that.

What’s your best piece of advice for Service-leavers, going through resettlement right now?
Look at the options. Do not assume that CTP is the only organisation dedicated to helping people leaving. There are dedicated organisations, whether it’s JobOppO, or others. The second thing is, don’t assume that you are not capable of applying for a role that is of a higher position, or of a higher salary base. Tailoring your CV is critical. It’s very rare that anybody meets all of the ‘requirements’. If you have no room to grow within that organisation, why on earth would you stay? Believe in yourself!