A blog from Army&You’s spring 2023 edition by Scarlett Macfarlane

In 2010, I was 20, newly married, and getting ready to join my husband who was stationed in Germany. To say I was nervous would be an understatement and, like many army spouses, I was moving having made the difficult decision to leave my friends and family.

On top of that, I had decided to defer my place at university to be with him. I think I knew then that really, I was making the decision not to go at all, but deferring it rather than declining it felt easier.

It’s not a decision I regret and it’s one I would make again, but there was always a nagging voice in my head that wondered what might have been. That voice only got louder as I began to establish myself in my career. I would find myself in meetings or situations where the expectation was that I had a degree and despite doing well at work, I couldn’t help but feel a bit of imposter syndrome.

Back in the UK, I was fortunate to join an amazing digital agency, Purple Creative Studio, not far from where we live who were willing to take a chance on me despite having no admin experience and a patchy CV. My first role was general admin, and over the years I’ve progressed into my current role as commercial manager.

In 2019 I felt ready for a new challenge and pitched a degree apprenticeship to the company directors. It would involve me committing one day a week to study and attending lectures at Teesside University.

Fast forward three years and I’ve completed my degree, obtaining a first class honours in management practice and I’m on my way to achieving chartered manager status with the Chartered Management Institute and a Level 6 apprenticeship.

I’m glad I didn’t give up on my ambition and I’m grateful for the support of my employer.

It’s a route I would recommend to any spouse who wants to learn but needs to continue to earn. I have no student loans, I have a degree and, depending on the status of the employer, training can be paid for through levy payments or for a small employer contribution.

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