Advice for current serving soldiers.

A quick introduction from myself and a brief outline of my background. My name is Michael and I am 25 years old from Manchester, United Kingdom. I am an ex regular (now a reservist) where I served for just under 7 years in the Corps of Royal Engineers. I completed numerous tours, Kenya in East Africa and Jordan in the Middle East, as well as one operational tour of Southern Helmand Province in Afghanistan. I completed my full time service in December 2013 as part of the Tranche 3 redundancies (I volunteered). Even though I knew I would miss it, and to be honest I very much do, I felt I needed a change. Felt like I was stuck in a rut. So I took the opportunity to come out and get a bit of a payout whilst I was at it.

I can't remember how or when I first heard about a Maritime Security Operater, but I do remember that it really intruiged me. For a while, I had it in my mind that, once I have left the army, then this is the career path that I would go down. However, due to a couple of friends of mine getting into the Wind Industry as a Wind Turbine Service Technician, and I started to get swayed towards that instead. Redundancies was announced, and I was fortunate enough to have my request accepted, I started planning my new life. MSO briefly crossed my mind again, but unfortunately I had heard a few myths regarding this career path. I had heard, that unless you was Special Forces, Parachute or Commando trained, then you wouldn't even get looked at in the industry. So, as a 'hat', I never pursued that dream to become an MSO and carry on my love of travelling to remote parts of the world, and living a sense of adventure. I used my resettlement package as well as thousands of pounds of my own money, and got myself qualified as a Wind Turbine Service Technician. From my friends in the Industry, and from many others also in the Industry, I was optimistic and very excited to start my new career they all kept saying the same thing: They are crying out for technicians and being ex-forces you will get snapped up. This takes me up until now. 6 months after leaving, and 4-5 months after being fully qualified I am still looking for a start in the Industry. Time after time again, getting knocked back due to having no prior Wind Turbine Experience.

After seeing a post from The Training Wing a while back, it brought back my desire to get into the Maritime Security Industry, and a friend of mine put me in touch with a current Operative. Having spoken to this guy, he dispelled any myths I had heard and this distant dream of mine suddenly became more of a reality than I had previously expected. However, due to recently spending thousands from my own pocket, I was dubious about booking myself straight on these courses!

Now, here is my advice for any serving membeas of the forces who are looking at getting out anytime soon. Do your research. Look into the requirements for any role you may be interested in doing. Utilise Facebook. Join groups relevant to the industry you would like to get in- and talk to people who have the experience. Don't believe any myths you have heard, many are not true and are just that-myths. Especially in the Maritime Security Industry, you do not have to be SF, Para or Commando trained to be an Operater. Set your goals, do your research and smash them!

A wise man once told me, "Your resettlement starts the day you joined the army."

Unfortunately for me, by the time I heard this advice it was too late. It may not be too late for you, so don't make my mistake of hesitating when perusing your dream.

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