From the military to PRINCE2
Blog posted by: Iain Hollington – Junior Manager Training & Compliance, Royal Air Force, 15 October 2020.
For the past 22 years, I have been employed as a logistics supplier for the Royal Air Force; I worked in areas connected to hazardous materials. When I entered my last two years of service, I decided it was time for a change and I entered the resettlement programme. The programme is designed to help anyone leaving the armed forces to prepare for the civilian job market. It involves everything from interview simulations and career workshops to courses that will retrain you for a new career.
Initially, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do once I left the Air Force. I could have stayed in the logistics industry or focused on my hazardous materials experience. I had also done some volunteering with the Ambulance Trust, so I could have looked for opportunities with them. Those were just the obvious options. I thought, maybe I want to try something completely new…
Then, I found a job-indicator website. I put in my information, and the programme highlighted that project management was one of my strengths. This piqued my interest. I did some research and the idea of working on different projects, meeting loads of people, and achieving a lot became more and more interesting.
Once I had a direction, I started work in earnest. I reviewed my CV and decided that the best thing I could do was take a project management training course. I chose PRINCE2® because it is popular in most industries. It is widely recognized, flexible, and compatible with other project management qualifications.
The course was delivered virtually at a very short notice, due to Covid-19 restrictions, but it was still very comprehensive. What struck me the most, at the time, was that the material in PRINCE2 aligns closely with lessons I had already learned from the military.
For example, military leaders are taught the Plan-Do-Check-Act method, which is also a fundamental part of the PRINCE2 review process. Military leaders are also taught to lead autonomously, mentor individuals, and manage tasks and personnel to achieve a common goal; I recognized a lot of the behaviours I had seen from leaders in the PRINCE2 processes, principles, and themes. It was reassuring to know that the familiar skills I had already developed would not go to waste in my new career.
After I had become a certified PRINCE2 Practitioner, I discovered the continuing professional development package on My AXELOS. This will help me to keep my qualifications valid while undertaking other courses and soft-skill development programmes.
Being PRINCE2-certified has been a great advantage during my transition from the military into a civilian project management career. It enhanced my theoretical knowledge of project management, putting me in a position to gain employment while investigating future courses to enhance my portfolio and skill set.
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