• QA, the UK’s largest tech training and apprenticeships company, to help service leavers, Veterans, Cadets, Adult Cadet Volunteers, Reservists and military spouses to join the civilian workforce.
  • A recent Government ‘Digital Skills Crisis’ report states that the UK faces a chronic digital skills deficit; in areas such as software development, cloud computing and cyber security. The Armed Forces community talent pool is well suited to fill this gap.
  • Brigadier Paul Buttery, Head Training, Education, Skills, Recruiting and Resettlement (Hd TESRR) co-signs the Armed Forces Covenant with QA’s CEO William MacPherson at their exclusive Cyber Security training labs, London.


QA, the UK’s leading technology training, consulting and apprenticeships provider, have co-signed the Armed Forces Covenant, with Brigadier Paul Buttery (Hd TESSRR). Through the Armed Forces Covenant QA are pledging to support military spouses, service leavers, Veterans, Reservists, Cadets and Adult Cadet Volunteers, with training and career opportunities to help bridge the UK’s digital skills gap.

QA’s pledges within the Armed Forces Covenant include:

  1. Training 1000 service leavers, veterans, reservists, military spouses, and cadet adult volunteers as part of the AWS re:Start programme (including employing a minimum of 100 as QA Consultants).
  2. Promoting technology apprenticeships to cadets (16-18).
  3. Offering free and subsidised technology training to the Families Federations – Army, Navy and Air Force.
  4. Offering free and subsidised technology training to the Officers Association.
  5. Offering free and subsidised technology training to the Women’s Section – Royal British Legion.
  6. Promoting employment opportunities for service leavers and veterans in cyber security training through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP).

William MacPherson, QA's CEO, who co-signed the Armed Forces Covenant with Brigadier Buttery said: 

“Technology is the fastest-growing sector within the UK, and we are experiencing a chronic skills deficit. Service leavers, Veterans, Reservists, and Cadets, develop fantastic skills whilst serving. QA are able to bridge a gap with re-skilling and upskilling those seeking to work in civilian technology-based jobs through classroom and online training programmes, with industry-recognised accreditations and qualifications, to provide UK industry and public sector with relevant personnel. Given QA’s history with the Armed Forces, having trained over 6000 serving military, and 1600 service leavers, and knowing how they best learn, combined with our agility within the field of technology training, and our access to the UK’s industries, we have all the ingredients to make a significant impact on the skill gaps that we are experiencing, through this unique talent pool.”

Brigadier Paul Buttery, Head Training, Education, Skills, Recruiting and Resettlement, who co-signed the Armed Forces Covenant with QA’s CEO William MacPherson today, said:

“Approaching the civilian job market with confidence is hugely important for Service Leavers, Reservists, Veterans and military spouses as well as Cadets. By providing accredited training in cutting-edge technology skills and facilitating work placements within the thriving IT industry, QA are building on the skills Service Personnel and their families already have and supporting them in becoming even more competitive and attractive to potential employers. With today’s signing of the Covenant, QA are joining over 1,500 Armed Forces friendly organisations and helping create exciting career pathways for our Armed Forces community”.

QA have unprecedented access and insight access to UK industry, serving 80% of FTSE 250 as well as public sector organisations, developing digital talent by providing technology and business skills, and have, therefore, identified the most in-demand skills and talent requirements.

For those leaving the services, Veterans, military spouses, Reservists, and Cadets, QA are pledging to offer free and subsidised bespoke training packages including employability skills, work-placement positions through the AWS re:Start initiative, technology consultant positions, as well as apprenticeships. All of these are in key areas where there is a demand for talent within in UK’s industry such as cloud computing, cyber security, app development, project management, IT systems and networking.

QA have identified significant potential in those who are serving or have served in the Armed Forces. Their strong interpersonal skills such as leadership, management, and confidence built up through their military training are highly transferable to the technology industry. Organisations in both the private and public sectors require highly motivated people who can bring fresh energy and ideas.

Darryl Cook, who served for 29 years as an Aircraft Engineer with the Royal Navy, one of the first AWS re:Start delegates starting on the course last week, said: 

“I wanted a change of career, IT is up and coming. We’ve got a lot of experience where we are thrown into a lot of jobs that we have no prior knowledge of, or experience of, and we have to deliver, and that is what service personnel are good at. We deliver on limited resources, time and money. We will have a lot to offer organisations looking for technology personnel, once we have taken part in the exciting AWS cloud computing training programme with QA Consulting.”

Given the lack of women within the tech industry, (only 17% of technology roles in the UK are being filled by women) QA aims to inspire female spouses of serving military and Veterans, by providing free business applications training, as well as encouraging them to apply for the AWS re:Start initiative, that they are providing the training for.

Laura Lewin, Army Families Federation, Employment and Training Specialist, said 

“In an AFF survey of Army spouses/partners in 2016, the majority of respondents told us that they faced challenges to employment, however, despite this, 92% told us it was worth the difficulties in order to gain a sense of identity and independence. We discovered that flexibility, positivity and determination were the key factors to spousal employment success. The opportunities for a career or professional training can be limited, but we’ve found that, financially, for many families it is a ‘must have’. The help that QA are providing to military spouses, with free Business Applications courses to women across the UK, will help those involved immensely”.

After the AWS re:Start programme has been completed by the delegates, receiving free training and a work experience placement, they will be eligible to apply for the QA Academy in Manchester; expenses paid residential technology 12-week boot camp, and employment contract with a guaranteed salary as a QA Consultant, to work on client projects.

The roles that those involved will be able to go on to do following the training on the AWS re:Start initiative with QA include Junior Network Engineer, Software Developer, IT Support Technician, IT Recruitment Consultant, First Line Helpdesk support, IT Sales, IT Support Analyst, or could build their own tech business.

QA’s training in technology and business skills, can be learned through many different avenues that QA offer; through traineeships, apprenticeships, graduate programmes, professional training courses, Higher Education and Masters courses, as well as the bespoke initiatives such as AWS re:Start.

Although QA have not focussed on recruiting cadets for apprenticeships until now, Fraser Harrison- Smyth, 16, is on a QA IT apprenticeship, with 3D Biotronics, and is also an Air Cadet. Fraser, who presented at the event today, said

“I have always loved computers and gaming, and being a cadet has brought my gaming experience to life with real-life defence activities, such as shooting, but also helped to build my confidence and maturity, because being at 6th Form wasn’t suitable for me. Through the Cadets my BTech in Leadership and Communication, is being funded, which I do after work. The cadets training definitely helped me to get an apprenticeship, and has been useful within my role as a technology apprentice.”

As part of the event that took place at QA’s unique Cyber Security training facility, in London, Brigadier Buttery got hands-on experience by taking part in a live cyber defence activity that is part of QA’s cyber security training programme. This is usually undertaken by apprentices, as well as more senior and seasoned cyber security professionals.

For more information about all QA’s services please click here.

To apply for an apprenticeship please click here

To apply for the AWS re:Start initiative please click here

To register for free and subsidised training through the Armed Forces Family Federations please contact them directly, through their own websites (Army, Navy and Air Force).


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