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Helping Service leavers become cyber specialists

Helping Service leavers become cyber specialists


04 Dec, 2020

RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity is launching a new partnership with TechVets, an organisation dedicated to building a bridge for veterans – like Gareth Paterson (picture above) – into cyber security and the technology sector …

Advances in tech and the cyber threat landscape are creating vast job opportunities. The global cyber security market is projected to reach £210 billion by 2026 and veterans are among the best candidates to defend the UK’s cyber frontline.

With RFEA’s support, the TechVets programme will create extensive new free upskilling and job opportunities for ‘tech curious’ Service leavers and veterans, through its unique offering of networking, mentoring, signposting and training services via its new TechVets Academy platform

The initiative provides learning pathways for all members to use as guidance from the very beginning of the journey, assuming zero knowledge and experience. The pathways, developed by industry professionals from within the TechVets membership, use a blend of open source resources, partner training and TechVets community support, to empower those new to cyber/tech to choose the pathway that is best for them.

TechVets wants to alleviate the issue of unemployment and underemployment in the veteran community by ensuring all veterans and Service leavers can combine their military experience with their new leading digital skills acquired through the TechVets community, to gain sustainable careers in technology. In doing so, TechVets builds on the strengths of veterans to support the UK’s digital economy.

TechVets programme director James Murphy (pictured left) is an Army veteran of 19 years. He joined the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment in 2000, before transferring to the Intelligence Corps in 2013 after sustaining life-long injuries in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. He says: ‘Anyone who has held a role in the Forces comes armed with an understanding of the sensitivities of working in security. Ex-Services people also possess an innate ability to learn new skills and are natural problem solvers, who can work quickly and fit into a team with ease. Ex-military personnel are also the kind of people who thrive in pressurised or time-sensitive situations. These soft skills are incredible assets in the security and technology industries, which can be used to fill the current skills shortages in this area. I am extremely excited to be taking TechVets forward into a new era, providing veterans with great opportunities to upskill so they can forge successful career paths into cyber security and technology.’

RFEA CEO Alistair Halliday adds: ‘The TechVets programme is a fantastic new addition to RFEA’s services that will, no doubt, encourage talented veterans to consider tech- and security-based roles they may otherwise have overlooked. It will also help veterans to upskill digitally to help them get into wider roles. We know the incredible value that having meaningful employment brings to ex-military personnel and we very much look forward to seeing more veterans in new and exciting roles as a direct result of this unique initiative.’

If you have a passion for cyber and want to push yourself, there is nothing stopping you!

TechVets member Gareth Paterson (pictured at the top of the page) joined the Army in 1994. He started out as a tank crewman before transferring to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers as an instructor in 2001. He left in 2018, having completed operational tours of Northern Ireland, Former Yugoslavia and Afghanistan. He says: ‘I left the Army as I was at the end of my 24-year career. I needed a new challenge. I didn’t want to go into a job that was simple and easy. I wanted a role that would push me out of my comfort zone and force me to learn constantly. I did not have a clue what career to move in to, then I was introduced to offensive cyber security and penetration testing. I joined TechVets in January 2018 and it gave me my first insight into the tools and techniques of penetration testing. After that I was hooked! The support of everyone at TechVets, and its community, has helped me gain confidence and push harder. I was able to achieve qualifications in penetration testing, which improved my job prospects in the sector. By November 2018 I had started working as a cyber security consultant. I now spend every day outside my comfort zone and learning new things, but I get to see and do things that I never thought possible before 2018. This career teaches you resilience and to never give up. If you have a passion for cyber and want to push yourself, there is nothing stopping you!’

James Murphy continues: ‘As TechVets enters into the next stage of supporting veterans and Service leavers into technology and cyber security careers, I am excited to unveil our new TechVets Academy platform. It will provide a much-improved user experience, enabling members to have even better access to TechVets’ services and the fabulous partner training on offer. This will also provide a great foundation for us to provide more partnership training with ease, while supporting industries to have a better engagement with TechVets. This will herald a leap forward in terms of how we support our members to gain the necessary skills for careers in cyber and tech.’

Interested in finding out more? Visit

Whether you are still serving, leaving the military or a veteran interested in tech, we would love you to join the TechVets community

About RFEA

RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity exists to provide lifelong, life-changing support, job opportunities and training to Service leavers, reservists, veterans and their families, irrespective of circumstances, rank, length of service or reason for leaving.

Founded in 1885 and operating across the UK, we have the specialist knowledge and understanding to bridge the gap between military life and civilian employment. We work in partnership with other organisations and employers who, like us, respect and value the unique qualities and abilities of all those who have served.

Follow RFEA on Twitter and Facebook


About TechVets

The TechVets mission is to build a bridge for veterans and Service leavers into the cyber security and technology sector. The 900,000 working-age veterans and 15,000 Service leavers a year have the skills to shape the future of our digital economy, and support the security and prosperity of the UK. Only 4% of veterans are working in tech and cyber. This is 20% lower than the figure for non-veterans, and for female veterans this figure is 50% lower! TechVets creates new opportunities for ‘tech curious’ veterans through partnerships. Whether you are still serving, leaving the military or a veteran interested in tech, we would love you to join the TechVets community.

Follow TechVets on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn


About James Murphy

James joins TechVets from Government Digital Services, where he was employed as threat intelligence lead providing strategic cyber threat intelligence advice to key decision makers within central government. James is an Army veteran of 19 years, having joined the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment in 2000, before transferring to the Intelligence Corps in 2013 after sustaining injuries in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

James deployed to Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Kenya and China, and brings years of leadership experience and a passion for TechVets having co-led the first TechVets local chapter in 2019 as a volunteer.