Resettlement advice with CNET Training

Resettlement Adviser Olly Day is CNet Training’s main contact for all resettlement and ex-Forces related queries and he also manages work placements for Service Leavers. 

Olly is passionate about helping individuals achieve their career goals upon leaving the Forces, and here he shares the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

What is the digital infrastructure industry?
It’s one of those industries that everyone relies on but probably struggles to explain. Relatively little is talked about it publicly, even though it’s really the scaffolding that our digitally focused world is built on, providing the connectivity that supports a huge amount of our day-to-day activity. The industry is made up of the network cable installation and data centre sectors, and we offer technical education for roles throughout both sectors.

Why should I pursue a career in the digital infrastructure industry?
Due to the fact that globally we rely so heavily on this relatively new and incredibly fast-growing industry, it is experiencing a mass skills shortage. This means there’s plenty of opportunities for people in all areas of the industry, and for those who have the right qualifications and certifications, the salary levels are higher than average because of this scarcity. 

Naturally, employers also love the transferable expertise that Service Leavers possess, such as experience working in mission critical environments, a built-in determination and total ‘can-do’ attitude, and they really value having ex-forces personnel as part of their teams and actively seek to employ them.

How secure is a career within the digital infrastructure industry?
About as secure as it gets! Our world totally relies on digital connectivity to communicate, share data, control processes – basically, the majority of industries in the world need this connectivity to enable them to operate successfully. 

Some examples of this are air traffic control, operating theatres, building entry systems, traffic lights and contactless payments – and this is without our billions of daily emails and general reliance on the internet. Technology is also developing at a rapid pace with more mobile devices and smart, internet-connected devices in our homes. This is one industry that is forever evolving and will always be needed. Even in times where other industries can suffer, the digital infrastructure industry needs to be active 24/7/365 in order to keep the world working. 

I’ve gained a lot of relevant experience in the Armed Forces. Do you have a program that will suit me?
Whatever your job role, you will be able to find a program to suit you. To help people planning careers in the industry, we have developed the Global Digital Infrastructure Education Framework which has since become recognised and respected all over the world. The framework is like a career map that matches our programs to the skills and knowledge requirements of those actually working in different areas of these vibrant and fast-moving sectors. 

This isn’t based on guesswork; we regularly get together with a panel of industry-leading companies to review the evolving skills requirements and update our programs to ensure they provide learners with exactly the right skills and knowledge that is in demand. You can enter the education framework at any level and choose just one program or follow the path with the programs flowing perfectly from one to another as you progress. I’m always happy to talk through which is the best program or path for you.

Can I use my ELC funding for your education programs?
ELC funding can be used for all CNet programs that offer a qualification. Our 20-day resettlement package (by far the most popular option) is made up of the 10-day Certified Network Cable Installer (CNCI®) program, which covers copper and fibre optic cable installation, and is followed by a 10-day work placement. However, as previously mentioned, we have programs spanning the entire industry, so we will be able to find one that is perfect to meet your aspirations to join and progress within the industry.

What happens after I gain the Certified Network Cable (CNCI®) program? 
After you’ve completed the CNCI® certification and qualification, we work with you to find a suitable 10-day work placement within a cable installation company at a time to suit you (from 8 weeks post CNCI® completion). This work placement is likened to a 10-day job interview that regularly results in an offer of employment. Work placements are run all over the UK and I will work closely with you to try and find a placement in one of your preferred locations.

What will I get from a work placement?
The work placement will give you invaluable on-the-job experience and equally important industry connections. Many of the companies we work with to provide the placements are actively looking for new recruits, so the placement is often the stepping stone to securing a job offer. What better opportunity to show your knowledge and skills than being put in front of a team every day for two weeks? 

What should my realistic salary expectations be for a role in this industry?
Although this is variable depending on where you are located and the role that you undertake, the industry is experiencing an ongoing skills shortage which is driving up salaries, especially for those with recognised qualifications and certifications. 

As a guide, network cable installers can expect to earn between £30-35K per annum and data centre technicians upwards of £45k+ per annum. However, using your ELCs to further your professional knowledge, certifications and qualifications can lead to career progression which usually means more responsibility and an even better salary. CNet’s Global Digital Infrastructure Education Framework is the perfect aid to planning your future career development as it has been created with actual career routes through the industry in mind. 

How is this related to the big fibre rollout across the country?
The fibre rollout is all about putting in place the infrastructure to achieve the Government’s commitment of delivering nationwide (at least 99% of premises) gigabit-capable broadband by 2030, that is a download speed of at least 1 gigabit-per-second that would allow a high-definition film to be downloaded in under 1 minute. 

CNet specialise predominantly in the internal fibre environment although we do have an external fibre course – our Certified Outside Plant Technician program. Although opportunities are vast within the external environment at the moment due to the rollout, we recommend the Certified Network Cable Installer (CNCI®) program, which enables you to demonstrate the highest levels of knowledge, skills and competency in network cable infrastructure, both copper and fibre optic. 

It’s worth noting that the external environment is not as protected as the rest of the industry as there is a relative shelf life to it; once all the fibre has been laid in the ground, it should not need replacing for a significant period of time. For transferrable skills related to the external environment and national fibre rollout, we recommend gaining the knowledge from the CNCI® as it provides the skills to hit the ground running in the industry and the longevity of career opportunities, post rollout.

Do you work with tri-service military members? 
Yes, in fact, since 1996 CNet has advised and educated thousands of service leavers from all three strands of the military, and our longstanding commitment was recognised in 2021 when we were enormously proud to be awarded the MoD’s highest badge of honour, the Gold Defence Employment Engagement Award. 

I leave the Armed Forces in two years; is it too early to contact you about my Resettlement?
Absolutely not! I’m always happy to chat with anyone planning their career outside of the Forces to see if a future in digital infrastructure is right for them. If you aren’t ready to talk to someone, our digital infrastructure briefing events (sign up at are a great way to learn a bit more and get a feel of whether you’re interested in this field of work. 

It’s never too early to find out your options and work out what’s important to you moving forwards. At CNet, we also continue our support for Service Leavers post-resettlement, in order to help you make the best decisions to develop your career further down the line. We are here to help you at any stage of your resettlement journey. 

CNet Training has pledged to support the armed forces community by signing the national Armed Forces Covenant and proudly holds the gold award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). CNet has a longstanding commitment to supporting the Armed Forces during their time in service and throughout their resettlement. Since 1996, CNet Training has educated thousands of Service Leavers, providing them with the skills, hands-on experience and sought after qualifications  to enter the lucrative network cable and data centre sectors. Today, CNet is the only industry dedicated education provider in the world to provide both internationally recognised qualifications and official certification for their programs.

CNet is proud to be the originators of the Global Digital Infrastructure Education Framework which forms the benchmark for industry education across the world. It maps professional education programs to actual career routes and progression throughout the industry allowing learners to enhance their skills, knowledge, industry recognised qualifications and official certifications as they progress. And, of course, many programs are eligible for ELC funding allowing Service Leavers extra help to continue to progress their careers.

Every CNet technical education program has been carefully designed to blend technical knowledge with essential hands-on skills that are needed for the industry. We have an ongoing schedule to regularly review the content of each program to ensure it reflects the very latest changes in technology, in addition to preparing students for possible new and emerging industry trends that are just around the corner. To do this, we regularly work alongside major companies throughout the global industry.

CNet believe that it’s the combination of program design, alongside the quality of expert Instructors, many of whom are ex-Forces themselves, that form the secret of their ongoing success. 

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