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Worthwhile courses?

Discussion in 'Training & Development' started by Shopps, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Shopps

    Shopps New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I am currently serving in the R.A.F. as an aircraft engineer and after 23 years service I am due to leave in the next year - 18 months.
    I am looking to get into I.T. in some capacity when I leave and I am looking as to which courses are the best for me before I leave.

    I have looked around on this website, and there seems to be a lot of support for the Comptia A+ qualification and I have booked this course through my resettlement and it will be free and located at Aldershot garrison in Jan 2011 (I know about the changes to the rules at the end of this year but cannot do the course before then) this course.

    They also run a Network, Security, & Forensics course at Aldershot which I am particularly interested in as this would ideally be my I.T. path of choice. This course would give me the Comptia N+, S+ and an in-house forensics module; together with the Comptia A+ would this be enough to get my foot onto the I.T. career ladder?

    Do these courses sound beneficial and worthwhile?

    Have a look and any advice would be appreciated http://www.ctp.org.uk/assets/x/52184

    WIP: Comptia A+
  2. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    The exams can be done via self study. i.e you get the books yourself and study on your own then when your ready book the exams yourself.

    Quite a lot of people on here self study for various reasons inlcuding the fact that its cheaper, you can get the best material for the subjects you study instead of using what is provided to you by a course and you can study at your own pace.
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  3. Beerbaron

    Beerbaron Megabyte Poster

    A+, N+ and S+ are good to get a basic understanding. MCDST would be a good Microsoft cert to start with. These would help you get a 1st line desktop support role. Gaining experience is obviously key.
    Certifications: BSc (Hons), MSc, ITIL v3F, MCP, MCDST, MCITP: edst7, MCTS, MCSA: Server 2003, MCSA: Windows 7, N+, NVQ IT lvl 3, MCSA Windows 7, VCP5, CCENT, CEH
  4. Fergal1982

    Fergal1982 Petabyte Poster

    *cough* The OP indicated that its part of his resettlement from the RAF - therefore in all probability they are free and funded by the military.

    Edit: In response to your query, those courses will put you on a good footing. That said, the S+ might cause you some issues for entry level positions, as its not a particularly entry level cert. That said, couple with your mechanical background and RAF service, it might not be such an issue. I would suggest that, if you do take it, keep an eye on how the market responds and, if it is proving an issue, drop it from your CV.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2010
    Certifications: ITIL Foundation; MCTS: Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Administration
    WIP: None at present
  5. Bluerinse
    Honorary Member

    Bluerinse Exabyte Poster

    Yes it's free.. ((edit - having read the following post, i now realise it is not without it's cost)) How long is the course?
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2010
    Certifications: C&G Electronics - MCSA (W2K) MCSE (W2K)
  6. billyr

    billyr Kilobyte Poster

    Hi welcome to the forum. (get the kettle on, this could be a long one)

    If you have a dig around my previous posts, I've posted extensively on resettlement in the past.

    Keep in mind when reading them though that I work as a trainer for an I.T resettlement company and my opinions may therefore be slightly biased to one direction. Like a few on here I am also ex forces though so I wouldn't want to see you get shafted, even if you are RAF :twisted:

    Here are a few points for you to ponder:

    Keep in mind that any advice you have been given to you by now from the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) is not independent, the service is run by a company called Right Management who won the contract. Courses run at Aldershot are provided by them and strangely enough personnel are normally steered towards them.

    Ensure you research thoroughly as to the quality of courses that they provide, I know from previous attendees that the A+ course for example is dragged over 4 weeks to ensure that you use all of your graduated resettlement time (GRT) days with them, for which they receive extra cash. A commercial company will easily deliver this over 2 weeks at a leisurely pace.

    Keep in mind that the courses offered are not actually free. You will be required to use your IRTC grant to fund this course and to pay for external examinations.

    To explain to our non ex-military members here is how the UK system works. Depending on the number of years in service you have accumulated you are granted what is known as Graduated Ressettlement Time (GRT). This is a number of days off work to use for sorting out your future career, for someone such as our O.P Shopps, this would be 35 working days or 49 days in total (including weekends) based on having served for over 22 years.
    Once you have found a chosen course to attend you are given a grant of £534 to use towards funding this course, known as Individual Resettlement Training Costs (IRTC). It doesn't seem like a lot of money to use to fund a new career and therefore it seems like a bargain when the C.T.P offer to send you to Aldershot on a 4 week training course for only £534. Of course they receive a lot more from the MOD for your attendance.

    The reason they receive a lot more is that if you attend a course at Aldershot you unknowingly surrender your entitlement to a number of allowances that can be claimed during your resettlement period.

    These allowances based on having over 22 years service would be:
    Help with accommodation costs known as Night Subsistence Allowance: £3920
    Help with meals cost, known as Day Subsistence: £1287.72

    £534+£3920+£1287.72 = £5741.72. Not such a value for money A+ course after all.

    Now before anyone has a heart attack at the level of funding available, this is not some great expenses swindle on the scale of our Members of Parliament. This funding is taken into account by the Armed Forces Pay Review Body when deciding wage levels along with other perks of the job such as free health care, dental, pension, losing limbs, taking your children out of school and moving your family home with 2 weeks notice every few years, death etc.......

    With 18 months left to push it's import that you get your plan into action now and not to leave your resettlement activities to your last month or two of service as a lot make the mistake of doing. As hard as it will be start making sure that you and you're family are now the number one priority and not the military, those little jobs you'd do for mates or extra tasks you volunteer to take on, forget them, start looking after number one. You will probably actually find this harder than you think, but think of all the others who have left before you, once you hand in your I.D card that's it your on your own. The number of people I see who work balls out until the final whistle because they don't want to be seen as letting people down at the expense of their own families future really saddens me. Repeat after me .... I am No 1, I am No 1....You get the point here.

    On the cert front, yep by all means have a crack at the A+, it's good foundation knowledge that every tech should know. Do I think you should fork out cash to a training provider or use your IRTC grant for this, I'd have to say no. With a bit of committment you could easily gain this in a month through self study, I know plenty who have done it in less. This will cost you no more than a good book (Mike Meyers A+) and the cost of the exams. You can get £175 to help fund these exams using your yearly standard learning credit entitlement (SLC).
    The N+ can be achieved in a similar time scale using self study. The S+ some do not consider an entry level qualification, I would say there is some truth in that depending on your job role, but that the material covered is at a very basic level for security, more a general overview on security topics rather than actually teaching you how to implement anything. As such I'd say it was an entry level qual.

    When it comes to looking for a job, it's my personal opinion that although a decent enough foundation, the CompTia exams just don't cut it in the work place and are not as in demand as some think, you would be better placed to supplement them with a Microsoft qualification. The desktop support qualification previously mentioned would be ideal.

    My plan of action for you would be to start the above quals as soon as possible, you could have them all achieved within 6 months with some effort at the cost of a few books and the exams and as much help as you need from our forum and the mighty Google. (other search providers are available)
    If you would prefer to attend one of these courses with a training provider thats fine, but don't use your GRT time, take a week or two of leave and take advantage of the Enhanced Learning Credit Scheme (ELC) to help fund a course with a training provider who will deliver the material over a shorter more credible time frame. Using this you will be able to claim up to £2000 towards any fees.

    That will leave you just shy of 12 months to start gaining some experience. I take it you will have an I.T section, start badgering them to see if you can lend a hand. Approach some local companies and offer your services for free at nights or on the weekend, see if you can get anyone to take you on for some work experience for a month or two, I know of plenty friendly bosses who have let there lads/lasses do just this, if you don't ask you don't get as they say. As security seems to be your future interest I'd say you'd probably want to tailor your approaches towards I.T support/helpdesk rather than shops fixing broken p.c's.
    Keep in mind that you also have your termination leave, if needs be use this month to provide your services to a potential employer for free as you will still be getting paid by the RAF.

    Now this is the point where I flog you the CompTia courses with our company, just kidding, we are not a CompTia provider anymore and my previous posts will explain why, we believe there is a far better use of your funds. I don't really want to use the forum to push my Cisco classes or anything else which seems to be in vogue. Like Boson Michael who posts on here, I use it to give advice only and to seek advice from others, hence why I use my real name..

    So to sum up you have the following allowances availalbe to you:
    49 days GRT which entitles you to :
    N.S allowance: £3920
    D.S allowance: £1287.72
    IRTC: £534
    Individual expenses: £245
    SLC (1 per financial year): £350
    ELC (3 claims, 1 per financial year of up to £2000 each) with 18 months left thats 2 claims: £4000, any unused claims are still available up to 10 years after you leave. Claims made whilst serving are not liable for tax purposes, after you leave they are.

    You therefore have a possible £10,336 of funding available and 18 months to play with. 49 days off work and a months paid termination leave. What are you going to do with it? I ask the forum, what would you do ?
    The clock is ticking.

    It's a bit like 24, but without the guns, ok we've got jets, maybe we could have an 18?

    I claim my £10 for longest post of the week.
    Certifications: CCNP, CCSI, MCSE W2k/W2k3, MCITP_SA
    WIP: Taking it easy for a while.
  7. Shopps

    Shopps New Member

    Thanks for the feedback guys,

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this course? http://www.ctp.org.uk/assets/x/52184

    To go over the costs involved, the Comptia A+ will be free (excluding exam costs). The NSF (Comptia N+, S+, & Forensics would cost approx £50 (excluding exam costs), although I will be able to claim some military expenses for accommodation etc. I have tried self study as recommended by several posters here and it does not work for me, I personally find that doing classroom based courses works better.

    I am not registered in the ELCAS scheme (long story) so Aldershot garrison is basically my only option for training location.

    WIP: Comptia A+
  8. dmarsh

    dmarsh Terabyte Poster

    Spend it at a HE college, plenty of 9-12 month courses that cover A+/N+ and MCSA type material for around a grand.

    Also look at the OU and working towards a diploma or foundation degree maybe.

    Any money left over maybe splurge on CBT's, books, lab equipment or professional courses from QA, learningtree, and trusted providers that provide value for money and not the package deals or high pressure sales.

    26 pounds per day for instructor led on site training is pretty cheap so I'd rip their hand off, but maybe try get A+ on your own if you can knock it out fast.

    You are very lucky to have such a large training budget, its possible to go for years in commercial companies with no formal training at all.

    Its always easier to learn something from someone else direct, but learning to self study is also a valuable skill. I think people possibly get a little spoon fed in the military maybe ? In a commercial company you will often be quite on your own when having to solve problems.
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2010

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