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RAF Sergeant Mark Wright on Balancing Active Duty with Active Learning

Throughout his professional life, Mark Wright has worked in several different jobs, mainly in the hospitality industry. He eventually joined the People Profession as a recruiter, and that’s when he found he had a passion for people who wanted to go into the HR field. Mark’s family members served in the military and he is the 4th generation to follow suit, so he knew that this path would provide a good life and a stable career. He investigated roles available, successfully applying for a Personnel Support Trade role in March 2009. He hasn’t looked back since. While deployed in Afghanistan as a Force Cashier, with some additional performance management responsibilities, Mark worked 12-hour days, but still managed to fit in 20 to 30 minutes of learning in the evenings when he could. The flexibility of Avado’s CIPD programmes means he can fit his learning in around his work.

The challenge

Mark has a lot of management qualifications that he’d achieved as part of his commercial courses, as well as the Certificate in Personal Practice, but no foundation HR qualifications. He’ll hit his 12-year point in the RAF in March and thought to himself “I’ve got my Business Administration NVQ and some ILM qualifications in management, but no formal HR qualifications.” He wanted to get his Level 3 first and then build upon it for security. Whilst he has job security with the RAF, he’s keen to have those foundation-level qualifications for the ‘what if.’

The solution

In the military, you very much rely on word of mouth. Mark’s colleague highly recommended Avado, so he looked into the qualification before deploying. The military funds a significant portion of course costs through Enhanced Learning Credits, so he took advantage of this excellent opportunity.

Mark completed his Certificate in Personal Practice in 2010 when he first joined the RAF but decided to take his Level 3 HR to build up his foundation of knowledge and skills. This way, he would already understand the roles and responsibilities of those working underneath him and his skills would be more relevant if he ever changed career paths.

The results

Mark’s biggest challenge so far has been time management. “It’s been 10 years since I last studied and getting your mind to switch off from work mode at the end of a busy day was difficult,” he explains.

He was able to maintain that work-study balance thanks to the recorded sessions. He’s not actually attended a live session yet, because he’s so used to going to the recorded sessions where he can pause, make notes and take screenshots. Mark also really appreciates Atif, his tutor. “He’s very patient and he adds humour where required, and you can see he’s genuinely interested in the subject and providing clarity,” says Mark.

What’s next?

Mark is graduating in the July cohort, so he still has a few months of studying to go. When he receives his Diploma, he wants to keep studying the People Profession, focusing on niche areas like diversity and inclusion and mental health. Mark says, “If I have part of my funding credit left over, and I can keep building on my knowledge and my skills, why not?”

About Avado

At Avado, we believe in unlocking potential and changing lives. Learning with us makes real, lasting change happen for individuals, and entire organisations. Through our connected learning experiences in Data, Marketing, People, and Agility, we can help you drive real change.

Going beyond just technical skills, our award-winning programmes help teams find success in an ever-evolving world. With a strong emphasis on the behavioural and mindset shifts needed to embed new capabilities, we’ll work together to develop leaders, teams and individuals through interactive learning experiences.

Tara MacInnis

Posted June 1, 2021