Addressing the digital skills gap by training ex-military personnel

Rapid business growth powered by cloud technology has resulted in a clear discrepancy between the number of technical roles that need to be filled and the number of people being trained to fill them. One approach to address this challenge is to focus on the untapped talent represented by ex-military personnel. Finding a job after leaving the Armed Forces can be a real challenge, but cloud technology offers an abundance of opportunities and ex-military personnel are making the most of them.

After serving 13 years in the British Army Intelligence Corps, self-confessed “tech geek” Stewart Yapp decided to aim for a career in IT. It was at an army careers fair that Yapp first found out about the AWS re:Start program, a free training and job placement program that aims to give participants the skills they need to design, develop and deploy cloud technologies. Working with the Prince’s Trust and Ministry of Defence, the program aims to train up recruits from disadvantaged or military backgrounds.

The initiative aims to train 1,000 people initially and provides AWS re:Start graduates with the opportunity to meet with AWS customers and partners to discuss work placements and full-time employment. As well as being open to those leaving the Forces, the training is also on offer to reservists, those who have been out of the military for some time, and service spouses, regardless of their levels of technical knowledge.

After graduating from the program, Yapp recently completed his first six weeks as a DevOps Engineer at 6point6 Cloud Gateway, a technology start-up based in the UK that helps businesses bridge the gap between their existing network and the cloud.

“AWS re:Start got me out of the Forces and into a well-paid job in an excellent company. You can’t ask for more than that,” said Yapp. “Knowing that employers actually want service personnel is a great boost when you’ve got the daunting task of leaving the services and trying to find a job.”

Neil Briscoe, CTO and co-founder at 6point6 Cloud Gateway, believes that programs such as AWS re:Start are vital because of the recruits’ unique skill sets. “The main thing for me is attitude over ability and the work ethic, along with general life experience,” he said.

While the AWS re:Start program offers graduates access to successful start-ups such as 6point6 Cloud Gateway, previous graduates have gone on to work at large enterprises such as KPMG and Centrica, illustrating the broad range of opportunities open to service leavers.

“The UK is a technologically advanced nation, we invented most of the technologies that we’re using so we should be leading the way,” says Yapp. “And Forces personnel – they’re cutting edge, they know how to deliver, how to focus on the mission, and to get their head round technology, so they’re ideally suited to learning digital skills on these programs.”





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  • Sue Daley

    Sue Daley

    Associate Director, Technology & Innovation
    T 020 7331 2055
  • Katherine Mayes

    Katherine Mayes

    Programme Manager | Cloud, Data, Analytics and AI
    T 020 7331 2019

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