A Training Success Story – Michael Finley’s Post-Service Development

There is currently a big push on resettling ex-service members for a good reason, transitioning to civilian life post-service can be famously difficult.

Not many people serving in the MoD will stay in their position for their entire life – the majority will eventually return to civilian life once their service is up, or if negative circumstances force a premature exit from a position within the armed forces. This means the transition could be planned or forced upon the individual. Either way, planning for the challenges that any subsequent phases of employment may bring couldn’t be more important; and it can all be hugely simplified if you have the right guidance, as proven by former British Army member Michael Finley.

Michael knew his end goals and partnered with Quanta Training to help him reach these goals. Armed with ELC’s that he knew were his ticket to success, he found his training partner: Quanta Training. We worked with him to provide a complete range of courses to suit his needs; and Michael has flourished ever since, even spreading knowledge with others seeking it.

The career path

In 2006 Michael begun his route onwards and upwards through the armed forces, beginning as a telecoms engineer and soon moving on through positions until he entered the project management role tasked with managing scope, creating controlled frameworks and delivering IT and telecoms update projects (among other responsibilities.) He excelled in this role due to a great degree of self-motivation and specialised technical knowledge.

As a signals Sergeant in the Royal Artillery, Michael had the vital role of managing IT and communications within his company of around 100 men and women. As an officer tasked with overseeing operations within such a consistently large group, it’s unsurprising that his skills for project management naturally shone through. Any signals officer requires attributes such intelligent dynamism, adaptability & agility within teams, and of course a natural aptitude spanning digital & radio networks and specialist computer applications. The job of a signal sergeant is not lacking in personal requirements – and displays the level and range of skills necessary to inhabit the role.

Despite obviously putting his skills on display for future employers, when the time neared for the end of his service, Michael still knew that he had to be incredibly proactive in advertising himself to potential employers. He was told by recruitment experts that transferable skills would not be enough to find good employment. Due to the circumstances of the GDPR change, Michael sought training in the new guidelines that would govern the transfer and retainment of data – putting himself in the ideal position for his first position post-service – as GDPR compliance project manager.

“I didn’t initially have all that much in the way of barriers in finding this first job because I was so quick to start the search. Other people need the help to get on the right track, because not everyone knows how to find the guidance or training that they need.” Michael explained about how he earned this impressive GDPR-based job, a position combined his newly developed specialisation with attributes refined in the armed forces. “Many service leavers are told that to advance your career, you need occupational experience – training and certificates aren’t enough. I would argue that this isn’t true.”


Not content with certain limitations of his initial employment, Michael began exploring his options regarding what could be achieved with his ELC’s. The enhanced learning credits allocated to him afforded a range of avenues to explore in bolstering his project management credentials. He knew what skills and certificates he needed and found in Quanta Training the ideal development partner. The idea of a long-term training partner is what Michael knew to be so important.

“It’s great having the skills you need for a job, but in certain situations you still need very specific qualifications to be considered for roles.” He shared with us. “Working with Quanta it quickly became very obvious what I needed to help my career progression, and how to gain contextualised knowledge.”

Over the period of two years, Michael gained his foundation qualifications in a variety of project and programme management subjects, such as: PRINCE2, Management of Risk, Agile PM, Change Management and more. With these courses under his belt, Michael could be considered for even better and more senior positions within the civilian job market than ever before. These courses and Quanta’s partnership gave him a few of the steppingstones necessary for his current role.

Where he is today:

Michael worked immensely hard to better his position, and it paid off. As a cyber security transformation project manager within insurance, he is putting both his natural talents and ELC investment to the best use. The role enables him to work flexibly to manage a team on a similar scale to his signals Sergeant days, however he is now delivering cyber security globally thanks to the level of responsibility that he commands.

But beyond his professional career, Michael is also helping to guide other ex-service members towards project management success. He regularly mentors others and has put his experience to good use, showing them the steps that they can take to reaching their goals. He stated that many people leave their time serving to find that there are many more problems facing them on their journey to employment than they had first feared.


Michael’s advice:

"To those looking to capitalise on their opportunities after leaving the forces. Don’t listen when people undervalue you, if you have the means to develop your skills then take all the opportunities that you can. It’s good practice to take any available help when gaining more contextual information about the roles you’re hoping to inhabit.”  

He then went on to remark, “but don’t settle for generic advice, you know what works for you and you should partner with people who will learn what works for you.”

“You are what you want to be, you are not just what the armed forces said you are.”


Michael is proof of what can be achieved when you make the most of opportunities, and the benefits of having a training partner that can help you to fully realise your potential. You can learn more about what you can achieve with Quanta by clicking here.

We have a dedicated team of advisors that can help you with any questions you may have and are on hand to offer you their support. They have helped 1000's of Service leavers in their transition to civilian jobs. For further information please call 0800 018 3975 or email mod@quanta.co.uk.



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