Jumpstart your tech career with AWS re:Start

The AWS re:Start programme is a free training and job placement programme that aims to give ex-military personnel the skills they need to design, develop and deploy cloud technologies.

Working in partnership with the Ministry of Defence, QA Consulting, Experis and Sage, AWS re:Start is a full-time four-week training course aimed at all levels of experience from techies to complete beginners.

The training gives trainees a broad understanding of modern IT systems through hands-on sessions. Sessions such as Enterprise Architecture include fundamental concepts: relational databases, encryption, DevOps technologies and application programming interfaces (APIs). Students receive an introduction to the Python programming language and gain an in-depth knowledge of cloud computing and AWS core services. The programme enables students to master the AWS console and learn how to securely set up new cloud infrastructures, as well as vital skills for entering the civilian workplace, including interview training and CV writing.

At the end of the four-week course, graduates have the opportunity to apply for placements and attend one-on-one interviews with AWS customers and partners from companies such as KPMG, Centrica Hive Home, NHS Digital and Rackspace.

Financial software firm Sage, an AWS re:Start partner, provides mentoring training, helping employers to better understand the skill set, mind set and transferrable set of ex-military personnel, ensuring those who have been accepted on a job placement experience a smooth transition into their chosen role. What’s more, specialist recruitment firm Experis provide employability advice for AWS re:Start military participants to help support them with their job search. 

Emma Howitson-Morley, one of AWS re:Start’s recruits, is now working as a Technical Analyst at the NHSBSA (National Health Service Business Services Authority): “I’d been a user of IT, but I’d never really considered it as a career option”, admitted Emma. “Before, it was just something that was part of day-to-day life.”

Emma signed up to the course after serving 18 years in the British Army where a two-year stint as an ICS (Information Communication Systems) Project Manager sparked an interest in IT.

She said: “The course gives you an overview of cloud concepts and how that fits into day-to-day business,” said Emma. “It’s really interesting as it covered lots of different things that I’d never really touched on before. I think the whole programme is fabulous. The fact that AWS is willing to sponsor the programme and provide the training through their partners as well as getting the potential employers to come and physically meet people is fantastic. 

“I think what they’re doing to help military veterans is amazing and everybody that I speak to about the programme in the civilian world is quite jealous that it’s only for the military at the moment. It’s been a life-changing experience for me.” 

At 23, Jack Bevan is one of the younger graduates from the AWS re:Start programme, joining up following a medical discharge from the British Army where he served for five years. While his role in the Forces as a Communications Systems Engineer gave him a taste of tech, he hadn’t considered it as a career before.

“I’ve always been interested in tech but when I was growing up I didn’t have a lot of people around me that were technical,” said Jack. “I didn’t really think that this would be where I was going to end up, but I’m glad that I am where I am now.”

As a result of the skills learned on the re:Start programme and the opportunity to speak directly with potential employers, Jack now works as a DevOps Engineer at KPMG. He stresses to those considering applying for the course that there is no obligation involved.

“One big advantage of the course is that there’s no catch,” he explains. “It’s literally one month of training and you can walk away at the end if that’s what you want to do.”

Another recent graduate, Bernard Oppon, signed up for the course following seven years in the Royal Engineers. With more technical experience than many others on the course, Bernard had previously considered IT as a career and after completing the course, he secured a position as a Junior DevOps Engineer at BBOXX in London.

“The course itself is an introduction. It guided me where I needed to go and then I put in the extra work myself,” said Bernard, “I would definitely recommend the re:Start course to others.”

AWS re:Start is the perfect way to get a head start on a career in tech. The programme is aimed at military veterans, military reservists and those leaving the Armed Forces as well as being open to service spouses. Participants on the course come from a variety of backgrounds, with differing levels of education and technical expertise, from IT enthusiasts to complete beginners. 

AWS is running a series of taster days at its head office in Holborn, Central London, throughout 2019 for those considering signing up to the course. 

Training Dates
25th Feb – 22nd Mar: Manchester
13th May – 7th June: London
2nd Sep – 27th Sep: Manchester
4th Nov – 29th Nov: London 

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