Graham Brown, Managing Director at Forces Recruitment Services Ltd explains why British CI companies should be looking to ex- armed forces veterans to fill the industry’s skills shortage.
The shortage of engineers in the CI market has prompted many UK companies to look to the military in an attempt to address the installer shortfall - but is this really a viable option?
Before looking straight away at qualifications and skill level, let’s consider some essential “soft skills": attitude, adaptability and personality. All ex-military veterans are rigid, order-followers, disciplinarians, and just cogs in a huge military machine, right? Wrong!
So, what makes them different? Not just from the established preconceptions but also from many other technicians and engineers?
Firstly, military veterans are decision makers and have engineering problem-solving nous. In the field, military engineers can’t simply order parts, they have to think on their feet and repair equipment with what is available to them.
Reliability and integrity
Instilled in all army candidates from day one is reliability and integrity. Strong team players, ex-military personnel understand that each member has an important role to play. Having integrity and professional responsibility is vital for success in any mission or job, whether you are working in a war zone or smart home technology project. This strict team ethic transfers very well into a commercial environment and is a priceless quality to possess from an employability perspective.
“Can do” attitude
Military engineers always like to find a solution to an issue and have the tenacity and “can do” attitude to succeed in the CI industry. Used to moving around a lot, they have great adaptability and can adjust quickly to different environments and working scenarios. Day to day these skilled technicians were once repairing the most advanced weapons systems, avionics and telecoms systems in the world and have masses of transferable skills to fit into the CI market.
Professional presence and discretion
Finally, in any commercial world, professionalism is fundamental. From day one, ex-army personnel are instilled to present themselves in a respectable manner, as well as uphold good organisation and time management. This is essential in customer-facing roles - especially when working with high net worth individuals.
One great example of these transferable skills at work is ex-military veteran, Alex Martin, who was placed as a Support Engineer at Wyrestorm in 2016 by Forces Recruitment Services.
Alex had been an Electronic Warfare Systems Operator, responsible for maintaining and operating digital and satellite communication systems in the army. Alex’s skills and attitude fitted perfectly with the Wyrestorm culture and he quickly settled into his new career well. According to Adrian Ickeringill, General Manager at Wyrestorm,“It wasn’t just the skill set, but a combination of both attitude and aptitude that appealed”.
To help place more ex-military personnel in a new CI career, Forces Recruitment Services has recently launched the “Let us find your Alex” campaign. Delving deep into each CI employers exact requirements, Forces Recruitment Services matches companies with suitable candidates using a rigorous 6-stage candidate interview process, which includes psychometric testing, to ensure they recruit someone who doesn’t just fit but stays and develops with the business – just like Alex.
Hundreds of transferable trades
Although there has been a keen interest for engineers to join the CI market, it’s important to note that the Armed Forces includes over 400 other trades, including logistics and warehousing, ICT, project management, health and safety and many more that offer directly transferrable skills that fit the CI industry.
Forces Recruitment Services is currently working with CEDIA on an ex-military training programme to help suitable candidates undertake their City & Guilds accredited training tracks, to qualify and prepare them for a new career in the industry and open up the CI marketplace to “the best trained workforce in the world".
For more information on Force Recruitment Services Ltd, please visit www.forcesrecruitment.co.uk/. Alternatively, to contact Forces Recruitment Services Ltd please call 01353 645004 or email firstname.lastname@example.org