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£250 PRIZE WINNER! Master of his own destiny

£250  PRIZE  WINNER! Master of his own destiny


09 Mar, 2018

Keeping an eye to his future civilian career helped former Royal Signals Captain Mark Stanbury make some wise course choices. ‘I have two master’s degrees thanks to ELC and Army Education Services,’ he says. And he can now add another achievement to his list: he’s this quarter’s Quest £250 prize winner!

Former Captain, Mark Stanbury, 41, served for 22 years (‘plus two years’ boy service’) in the Royal Signals, leaving in August 2016. Of his time in uniform, he says: ‘I loved my military career – it was fantastic and I had opportunities to do things that I am unbelievably grateful for. For me, once I’d reached my 22 years, I simply wanted a new challenge and decided to pursue a second career as a civilian. Joining the Army was the best decision I have ever made; leaving at the time I did was the second best decision. My military career has given me a managerial skill set that is highly sought after in the civilian job market and I found transition relatively easy.’

During his Service career, Mark secured an impressive batch of civilian qualifications, very much geared to the career he moved into post-Forces: an MSc in Leadership and Management, Diploma in Business and Management, level 5 in Coaching and Mentoring and PRINCE2 Project Management. In addition, he attended his CTW at Tidworth, which he says he ‘found extremely useful. I did every single “free” course or workshop that I could. Every one of them, no matter how small, gave me something.’

During resettlement, Mark also did Advanced Managing Successful Programmes and a CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate) course: ‘I did that at Aldershot. The courses were done with a view to gaining civilian accreditation for my future career. I also did setting up a business, interview techniques, social media, housing briefs – all of which were really useful. Each course gave me something more to think about and helped me to decide what I wanted to do, as I really didn’t know when I signed off.’

When asked when and why he registered for ELC, Mark says, ‘I registered when they were first introduced as I knew what a fantastic opportunity it was to have £6k towards my education and preparation for a second career. I spoke to the education officer about the options open to me and was also given presentations while on my Late Entry Officers Course. I sought out the advice I needed, but all of the education centre staff were fantastic.

‘I didn’t already have a degree, because I had joined the Army at 16, and I didn’t pursue an in-service degree until I started to think about leaving the military.’ However, thanks to ELC, Mark achieved his MSc in Leadership and Management through Portsmouth University while still serving. And, since leaving, he’s also got an MBA under his belt, from Northampton University. ‘I found the Portsmouth University MSc extremely well run and I really got a lot out of it, both in terms of education and confidence. The qualifying criteria for both courses were experience based: I had to have been a WO1 for two years to start the MSc and a Late Entry Officer to do my MBA. I had to really commit to both of my master’s degrees, but got unbelievable development from them.

‘ELC offer an incredible opportunity to develop yourself and gain civilian accreditation. It takes a lot of effort to motivate yourself to do it and, once you start it can be hard to find the time, but when you finish and gain the qualifications it will all be worthwhile!’

On leaving the Forces, Mark says: ‘I was offered a job with Amazon and BT, both as operations managers. I found both roles through the CTP website, but I ended up taking a job that an ex-military contact set me up with.’

Now working as a technical project manager, a job he has been doing for 20 months now, Mark tells us: ‘I manage end-to-end project delivery of complex IT projects – completely unrelated to what I did in the Army. I love the challenge of having to learn the technologies I am responsible for delivering, and the challenges of managing civilians – they are very different to soldiers and don’t seem to have the same levels of commitment or motivation (and they definitely don’t have the banter!). I find that I use all of the management skills I gained in the military on a daily basis, so would say that management skills are directly transferable.

‘I honestly never thought I would say this, but the biggest surprise I have had is how aggressive civilian life can be. I’ve seen people get a lot more aggressively interrogated during meetings/presentations etc. than I ever did in the Army. When speaking to my peers who left at the same time as me, their experience has been the same – there are a lot of Alan Sugars out there!’

Pay is another aspect of the civilian workplace Mark highlights: ‘I get paid around 20% more now, but I have to work hard for it. The pressure feels more intense as your job is at stake if you don’t deliver.’

Asked what advice he would like to give to those of you currently going through resettlement and career transition, Mark says, ‘Make the most of the CTP and the opportunities open to you. Use every one of your ELC – they are an unbelievable benefit, especially when used with the education courses that the military has set up to recognise your military experience. I have two master’s degrees thanks to ELC and Army Education Services.’


Could you be our next quarterly £250 prize winner? To find out how to follow in Mark’s footsteps, visit where you can find out more and download a copy of the Quest Questionnaire. We look forward to hearing from you …

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