Jemima Estabrook started her career in the Royal Logistics Corps. After deployment to Afghanistan and a couple of jobs training Regular and Reserve soldiers at the Army Training Centre and at Regimental Headquarters, she left to work in airport security at Gatwick. Taking up the position of Control Centre Duty Manager she spent a fascinating three years managing incidents and leading a team of highly skilled Control Centre Operators to ensure the smooth running of Gatwick’s security and communications systems.
Although Jemima’s initial career transition to airport security had been relatively straightforward, when she started to look for another job following a move to Scotland she found it much more of a challenge. At this second stage of her civilian career she struggled to secure work so turned to ex-military employment organisations for help. “It was such a good decision. I received immediate support, training and help,” says Jemima.
Shortly after re-engaging with veteran support organisations, Jemima found her feet again. She found interacting with Forces-friendly employers a breath of fresh air and was so impressed with FMD’s ex-military programme and the support they offered to her as an ex-military professional that she enrolled on their programme despite never having considered a career in the IT industry. After passing FDM’s assessment day at their offices in London Jemima began training to become an IT Project Manager at the firm’s academy in Glasgow. “All of my training was set up and run by the FDM Group. I took courses in Prince2, a Scrum master foundation and an ITILv3 foundation. These were useful in transferring my Army project management skills into civilian IT qualifications,” says Jemima.
“MY ADVICE WOULD BE NOT TO SELF-SELECT YOURSELF OUT OF JOBS YOU DON’T THINK ARE FOR YOU.”
“The support and training I received from FDM was excellent. From helping me gain industry recognised qualifications and guidance on how to write an effective CV to interview practice and assistance securing placements, the team was with me every step of the way,” she adds.
Taking into account Jemima’s easy way with people, her natural ability to lead and manage a team along with her superb military-honed organisational skills, FDM helped her to secure ‘client site’ work with a contractor – Standard Life – after she completed her training. Soon after, she was offered a permanent position in Service Operations at Standard Life, which later became The Phoenix Group.
“I always wanted to work as part of a team in a large operation,” Jemima admits. “So this job suited me better than the Project Management role I was initially training for. In Service Operations I manage and lead a team who look after and recover elements of IT for Phoenix Group. The training I received and my experiences from the Army helped me adapt to this role.”
Crediting her transferable military skills as the foundation for her success in her Service Operations role, Jemima encourages others to be open minded when applying for new roles. “My advice would be not to self-select yourself out of jobs you don’t think are for you. I would never have placed myself in IT, or the Financial Services sector, let alone IT in finance! Be aware of what you have to offer the civilian market – the military teaches you so many transferable skills. The skills I found the most useful were my ability to form good working relationships and to get up to speed in a fast-paced environment. The military’s focus on results also helped me to drive forward in my civilian career,” says Jemima.
Citing the veteran network as invaluable she also recommends: “reaching out to the organisations that exist to help you – at any stage of your career. It’s rare that anyone will get a job for life, so engaging with ex-military support and being open to new opportunities is crucial. You’re not alone in finding your next job”.