Neil Luke is a former Sergeant in the Royal Marines who left in 2015 after 13-years of exemplary service. He left not knowing what career path to take but came across the free Cyber Security Training Course, run by SaluteMyJob, in partnership with IBM and the Corsham Institute. After completing the course, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in cybersecurity. The former Royal Marine Commando is now working as a contractor at Satisnet on a large scale project to implement an information security management system.
Transferable military skills
Neil left the Royal Marines in 2015 and said his biggest achievement was becoming a Troop Sergeant at a fighting unit. He said the biggest challenge he faced during his military career was working in a wide-range of diverse environments, which included the arctic, the jungle, working offshore, the Middle East and the tropics.
Neil said he acquired a number of key skills and experience during his Service that he believes are of value to civilian companies. The key attributes he gained being strong management and leadership skills. He explained: “As a Sergeant, I was expected to run and plan full training programmes. Even as a Corporal I was organising training, taking teams away and then executing that training. As a landing craft operator I was running small exercises off-shore, running ranges, organising and running training and validating people for deployment and operations.”
Challenges of transitioning out of the military
On leaving, Neil was initially interested in pursuing finance roles but then began looking at project management roles as he believed his skills-set would suit those type of jobs. So during his resettlement period, he completed PRINCE2 Foundation and APMP project management courses. Neil found work as a lead instructor and then attended the FDM Ex Forces advanced program which involved training in IT Project Management.
Neil offers this advice to others thinking about leaving the Forces - or who are beginning the resettlement process: “Really decide what you want to do. Another thing that I was advised was, if you can, get a mentor. Even if they don’t get you a job, they can give you advice on various industries, tell you what industry articles you need to read. They can take you along to events so you can meet people and network, which is really beneficial as getting your face seen will help you get a job.”
Cyber security training course
Neil became interested in cybersecurity after he went to a seminar about the industry and he realised his skillset could fit that sector. He spotted an article on LinkedIn about the QRadar course and followed up with one of SaluteMyJob’s recruitment consultants. He added: “I thought doing the course would broaden my horizons and would be a good stepping stone into IT and in particular information security management.” He said he would recommend the course to other Service Leavers. “If anybody is leaving the Forces and cybersecurity is the industry they were looking to go into, it is definitely a good course to get you started.”
Job opportunity at Satisnet
John McCann, Director at Satisnet, visited the candidates on Neil’s course and Neil landed a ‘priceless’ opportunity with the company after that chance meeting. “I met John McCann and he mentioned there was an opportunity for work up in Scotland - which is where I am based. I told him where I thought my skills fitted and I had a telephone interview. From there I was brought in to work on part of a project Satisnet is doing to implement ISO27001. For a Service Leaver to be offered that experience is priceless. It is now on my CV that I have worked for a civilian company in an industry I want to work in and I’m hoping to carry on working on other projects within the company in the future.”
To find out more about IT Security Training Courses, click here.