A DIY department manager told a young Simon Hunt, you can do it, and do it he has.
Simon has enjoyed a twenty-year Army career and is now a Warrant Officer Class Two in the Coldstream Guards.
He was working in B&Q when his line manger Jayne Young encouraged him to apply to the Army.
Now married with four young children, Simon said: “I’d always thought about joining the Army but never had the courage to go through with it until Jayne convinced me to go for it. It was the best decision I ever made.”
Prior to joining the Army, he was going from job to job and often in a small space of time.
“I did a vast range of jobs from roofing to door-to-door sales, finishing at B&Q.”
Today Simon is the Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant with the Coldstream Guards Regimental Headquarters and is currently studying a Chartered Manager Degree Apprenticeship Level 6 BA Hons in Professional Management.
The three-year course is aimed at personnel who have significant management responsibility or those who want to take a step up to greater management challenges. On successful completion of the apprenticeship Simon will graduate with a BA (Hons) in Professional Management.
He said: “I’m in the second year of my degree and I am enjoying learning new skills. It’s given me a better understanding on how business management concepts and theories can be applied within the workplace. I like the fact I can implement what I have learnt.”
On a personal level it has also given him confidence in his academic writing ability and improved his time management and prioritisation skills.
“You have to work hard,” said Simon. “Some people may think a degree apprenticeship is easy, but it’s not. It’s very full on. You must do your normal day job as well as study.”
Simon attends webinars every Thursday and numerous residential periods throughout the year.
“I would advise anyone to look at apprenticeships as a career route. They are a great way to gain first-hand experience and knowledge. When you have finished your apprenticeship, you will be in high demand. They are beneficial for not only your current career, but it also gives you options for the future.”
The Army is one of the UK’s largest Apprenticeship Employer Providers and is committed to delivering a strong Apprenticeship programme. Its goal is to ensure a soldier joins well, serves well, and leaves well by achieving nationally recognised qualifications during their service.
In addition to opportunities to earn higher qualifications equivaled to a bachelor’s degree it also offers apprenticeships in levels 2,3 and 4.
There are many career paths to choose from. Apart from being a combat soldier, apprenticeships are available in information technology, logistics, construction, business admin, engineering, public service, and health.
Level 2, an intermediate apprenticeship, is perfect for school and college leavers or those joining the Army for a change of career. While advanced apprenticeships (Level 3) will result in qualifications equivalent to A levels, a Higher Apprenticeship (Level 4) is a great alternative to university. The qualifications that can be achieved are equivalent to a Higher National Diploma or Foundation Degree.
“I have no regrets in my career choice,” said Simon who has been selected for promotion to Warrant Officer Class One, the most senior soldier rank in the British Army. “My job has taken me around the world. I have completed three tours of Afghanistan and one of Iraq. I have visited America, Belize, Belgium, Brunei, Cyprus, Spain, and Singapore to name a few. I have some great memories, but I also have some sad memories too.”
He concluded: “The one thing you do realise when you serve is that things can change in the blink of an eye, so make the most of every opportunity you have.”
Those interested in an apprenticeship with the Army should visit their local Armed Forces careers office or use this link to find out more at Army Jobs.