A great way to take your career to the next level is to give your skills and earning potential a boost by doing a training course. You might want to brush up in IT, get yourself back up to speed after a career break or learn something new. That’s where Forces Families Jobs can help. FFJ has more than 80 different organisations providing hundreds of free courses for military spouses. And with more online options, you can access them from anywhere. We caught up with a few training providers to find out more…

Accountancy Learning offers a free online sample course so that you can see if bookkeeping is for you. Apprentice and Employer Co-ordinator Victoria Longstaff (main photo) says: “Being a military wife, I understand the difficulties involved in finding meaningful employment, and the uncertainty of never truly knowing if you will be in an area for a defined period of time. Our courses are a great way to ensure that through distance learning you can pick it up anywhere in the world and at the end have an industry-recognised qualification that can be used to get into a finance role.”

First steps

Microsoft offers the first step towards reinventing your career in the cloud with its free certified Azure Fundamentals training day. Craig Lewis, who looks after Microsoft’s military Employee Resource Group, explains: “We have been running the Azure courses for about four years and they have been a great success with service leavers and military spouses.”

Amazon’s AWS re/Start is a free training programme that prepares you for a career in the cloud and connects you to potential employers. Lakshmi, who recently completed the programme, said: “This was a positive upskilling programme for me to get into an entry-level IT job. It also helped me to gain confidence and connect with friends of a similar mindset.”

Kady Marriott

Jeamal, a veteran, added: “I decided to join the programme after going through the curriculum and realising that it was a brilliant opportunity to develop my skills for free with leaders in cloud technology.”

Kady Marriott, a military spouse working for WithYouWithMe, says: “We offer people the opportunity to get into a tech career by looking at what they are good at and their transferable skills. Instead of writing a CV, you complete a free online aptitude assessment. This opens up training programme opportunities and matches you to potential careers. After our last posting, I was knocked back at interviews because they saw me as a ‘flight risk’; then a neighbour told me about WithYouWithMe and I’ve not looked back. It’s been a journey, and it’s something I never thought I would do.”

Essential skills

Julia Davies

DevelopMental UK offers a certified Mental Health First Aid course online. Julia Davies, an army wife, who runs the courses, told us: “This is an essential life skill nowadays. Most people aren’t sure what a mental health first aid course might entail. It’s the mental equivalent of a physical first aid course. Instead of discussing breaks, bleeding and illness, we look at signs of depression, anxiety, psychosis, self-harm and thoughts of suicide. We can then learn how to support, and where to find those individuals help without becoming overwhelmed ourselves. We are there in the first instance, we support, then we hand over to the professionals. It’s something that stands out for potential employers but also helps me support my kids and those around me. One day I won’t train anyone anymore because everyone will be qualified. That will be a fab day!”

To find out about these training providers and more free/discounted courses, see forcesfamiliesjobs.co.uk

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