I left the Armed forces in late 2013. Walking out of the gate after nearly 18 years of service was quite a big move and nothing was certain, however I’m a big believer in making your own luck.
During my time in the forces I gained some excellent skills and knowledge, including being a skill at arms instructor, military first aid instructor and patrol medic as well as lots of other skills and most importantly in my opinion is the deportment, mindset and communication skills. One problem was how to use these skills. In Civvy street, nobody needs anyone who can strip and assemble a rifle or fire a rocket launcher down a range.
Due to my length of service I accumulated 3 enhanced learning credits. These credits are worth £2000 each and can be used every financial year from April to April and can also be used in service or post service. Post service is currently 10 years. Here's how I used them:
I completed a 5 day first aid instructor course and gained a Level 4 teaching qualification (now Level 3). Although I was already a military first aid instructor, this course taught me the soft skills and allowed me to practice on my civilian peers so I could adapt myself to a completely different environment. This course certificate was also more recognisable and allowed me to gain employment far more quickly than my military qualification. Without this course I would have genuinely struggled to engage with non Armed forces personnel.
Although I had served operationally in hostile environments and had credibility, I felt that I required an up to date civilian pre-hospital care qualification, so I enrolled on 2 separate courses using 1 credit: FREC 3 and 4. The full title is First Response Emergency Care and both courses sit in the PHEM pre-hospital emergency medicine framework. The course duration was 1 week per course and at the end of the 2 courses I was at a level of preparedness and knowledge to work in urgent care and have the up to date training skills to back up my training. This included using ECG equipment, advanced extraction and splinting devices as well as assisting the clinician.
I enrolled on FREUC 5, which is a follow on from FREC 3 and 4. FREUC stands for First Response In Emergency And Urgent Care. It sits at level 5, which is appropriate for a non registered health care professional. The course is 15 days in the training environment followed by 750 clinical hours with poorly patients on a front line ambulance or critical care setting.
Although I am in a management position I do still train people so having this qualification was essential in my eyes to succeeding as a chief instructor and having the knowledge, skills and credibility in front of our customers. The FREUC 5 is one level below HCPC paramedic so is an excellent standard for a secondary duty. The role of FREUC 5 hold a much higher responsibility and thus requires a full set of workbooks, sign off and reflections over 2 years to complete.
How ELCAS Helped Me
I am now fortunately in a solid career with the company and I do believe my work ethic and standards helped me achieve this, but I also fully believe that the ELCAS funding made it far more cost effective and far less stressful and without question helped me achieve my current position.
What I would say is that if you have these credits then try not to let them go to waste. Using them could change your career and earning potential as well as your life and direction for the better.
Photograph: Crown Copyright 2021