Tawanda’s exciting military career took him to work in countries all over the world spanning locations including Canada and Kenya. It is the large-scale operations undertaken in both of these countries that Tawanda cites as his career highlights. In Canada, Tawanda worked to deliver training on prisoner-of-war handling techniques to large operational units – which formed part of an operational group consisting of 1000+ military personnel. While in Kenya, he “assisted Kenyan authorities in handling a very serious incident involving fatalities of foreign nationals by forming an extempore communication process for all stakeholders and ensured that the relevant diplomatic missions were promptly engaged.” Specialising in investigative work, he also worked on high level investigations whilst working with the Special Investigations Branch in the UK.
When it came to choosing a career path after the military, Tawanda knew he wanted to pursue a career in the financial sector “due to its diverse and progressive nature”. Building on his background in investigative journalism alongside his Military Police acquired analytical skills, Tawanda was determined to secure a role with an investigative element to it. “The financial services industry is diverse, spanning a broad variety of different sectors. I could not think of any sector that could utilise my analytical rigour any better”, he explains.
Though Tawanda possessed many transferable skills suited to the financial sector such as organisational and leadership skills, alongside his investigative experience from the Military Police, he found transitioning into the civilian workplace a challenge. “I found it hard to get over the starting blocks when up against others who had industry experience,” he admits. However, Tawanda overcame the challenges by selling his transferable skills on his CV and demonstrating in interviews the value of those skills. Alongside this, on the advice of one of his former British Army colleagues, he also got in touch with SaluteMyJob and took IBM’s i2 analyst training course.
“The course allowed me to harness my analytical skills and learn new ways at looking at data and building an intelligent picture. The fact that it is on my CV, it has helped during interviews as many employers use it. Even though I do not use it in my current role, I use what I learned from it when looking at a huge amount of data. I highly recommend it as it enhances the way employers view you and improves the way you do your job.”
SaluteMyJob was on hand (back in 2019) to help Tawanda at the very start of his resettlement, providing him with CV advice and on-going support during his interview. It was even through SaluteMyJob that he found his role as Monitoring Transaction Analyst with Santander. Speaking of his interview experience with Santander Tawanda says: All the interviewers were very professional and keen to find out about my military experience and skills acquired, so that gave me the confidence to use everything I learned in the military. I received an offer a few days later.”
Tawanda recognised that his military skills added value to his role at Santander, in which he analysed transactions that posed a risk to Santander and responded to alerts for potentially suspicious activity in relation to money laundering and terrorist financing. He told SaluteMyJob in 2019: “The method of investigation/analysis is very similar, in terms of establishing facts. Collaboration within the team in solving complex investigations reminds me of my time with the Military Police or when I was working with other regiments in the Armed Forces. While in the military, I gained among many, communications skills, analytical skills, problem solving skills and teamwork. I have found these skills particularly valuable to my current role and have been crucial to my adaptation.”
For those looking to work in the cyber field of financial crime, Tawanda recommends building a network of experienced professionals who can give them the guidance they need. “There are many ex-military personnel working in the field, willing to mentor people and can take a solution-oriented approach in helping people achieve their goals.” He also believes that through research is key and that you should “get your CV scrutinised by as many people as possible. Every piece of advice you can get will contribute to the development of that document. A good CV will open doors that remain closed for many”.
WHERE IS TAWANDA NOW?
After almost three years at Santander, Tawanda is now a Case Manager at Facebook.
You can find out more about our free cyber training courses - and our new cyber jump start programme here.
Originally written: 24/04/2019