It can be hard to change to a new role after a career that you’ve lived and breathed daily for years. However, this does not mean that you cannot try something new.
We spoke to Ian Fitzpatrick, Group Managing Director at Resource Group, who gave us an insight into his career path and where he is now.
How did you start your career?
I left school at 17 and was advised by family members to "get a trade and you will never be out of work". I followed their advice and started training as an electrician apprentice, but I was also offered a job as an aircraft electrician in the RAF which was four times the salary. At that stage of my life, it wasn't a difficult decision to make.
What made you change career and how difficult was it to transition from the military?
I served 22 years in the military. I could have extended my service up to a further 15 years however, I realised I would probably need to start a second career at some point, so I decided the sooner the better. The transition was not difficult at all. I was ready to leave the military and continue my journey in the aviation industry. My first job was as a Technical Instructor - a role where I could transfer previously learned skills from working in a military environment.
How does your military experience help you in your current role?
Serving in the military gave me inner strength and a high level of independence and resilience. The supervisory, management and leadership training is of a very high standard as you progress through the ranks, which has likely prepared me for the various management roles throughout my career.
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career?
It might not be the expected answer considering the business challenges I have faced over the years however, in over 30 of the 42 years in my career, I have spent a significant amount of time travelling and being away from home. I've always accepted it as a requirement of my role, although airports, hotels and motorways quickly lose their appeal, and the lack of routine makes it impossible to do regular things outside of work during the week. It is a price worth paying for the opportunity to continue doing what I do.
What do you enjoy most about your current role?
What advice would you give to others thinking about changing careers?
We spend a lot of our life at work and we do not get that time back, so if you stop enjoying what you do and have the opportunity to transition to a different role, then do so.
For people leaving the military, I would say be confident that your military career has prepared you well for life outside as you have many transferable skills. Be bold. Do not undersell yourself. Consider my route; I started as an aircraft electrician apprentice and I’m now a Group Managing Director and shareholder in a multi-million-pound international training business.