James Murphy: TechVets Provides a Bridge for Veterans, Service Leavers, Reservists, and Their Families Into Information Technology Careers

August 24, 2022

TechVets provides a bridge for veterans, Service leavers, reservists, and their families into information technology careers.

In doing so, TechVets builds on the strengths of the Forces community to support the UKs digital economy.

Tell us about yourself?

James Murphy was appointed CEO of TechVets in 2020 in the last two years he has taken the charity from start-up to a premium provider of free tech and cyber security training support and resources for the UK’s veterans and their families.

James served as an infanteer with the 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment (known as The Vikings), following a combat injury sustained in 2007 in Afghanistan James continued to serve until 2018 before looking for a new challenge.

James discovered TechVets and used its services to retrain in 2018.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I think one of the biggest challenges is that people associate a role in cyber or technology as being beyond their reach, because the perception is you need to have been coding for 20 years, and obviously the films, read the stories etc.

But crickey, there are so many different routes into cyber, there are so many different opportunities across technology, and there are a load of roles that we refer to as non-technical as well which people can move into, technical project management where you may need to have a fundamental understanding of the basics, but that’s it.

But the rewards that you get from that career is pretty fantastic.

What we’re trying to do is to show people that it isn’t just for the Royal Signals, or those technical people coming out of radar backgrounds in the Navy for example.

Just the other day we had a young chap who in our celebrations channel mentioned that he’d handed in his truck keys to start week two as a cyber security consultant.

Previous to that we had one of our very active members, Jason, and if you look on our news on our website you’ll see his story is on there, Infantry to Cyber Security.

So, anyone can do it. You have to have a passion for it, and what we want to do – we’re doing some incredible work with Christie through PR, and Meredith who runs our digital marketing stuff, to widen the veteran community outreach that we currently have.

What problem does your business solve?

The Forces community is full of individuals with vast experience, in-demand skills, and diverse backgrounds that naturally places them as ideal candidates for employment within the tech sector.

TechVets ensures that our Forces community members can combine their military experience and transferable skills with new and leading digital skills acquired through TechVets, ultimately leading to sustainable careers in technology.

Through their membership with TechVets, our members gain access to:

  • > An amazing online community with thousands of members including hundreds of veterans who are experienced in the tech world. This enables our members direct engagement with industry professionals who can provide accurate trustworthy advice and guidance as they embark on a challenging career change.
  • > Nearly £30,000 of leading training ALL FREE. This training helps members upskill in IT Support, Project Management, Digital Marketing & eCommerce, Data, Networking, Cyber, Low-Code Automation, and Programming.
  • > Incredible employment support that includes a CV Review Service from veterans experienced in hiring tech candidates; a CV Distribution Service that ensures their CV is sent out to more than 190 companies across the UK, and direct access to employers to provide great career opportunities resulting in more than 17 members a month gaining IT roles during 2022, with a mean average salary of over £50k.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

TechVets exists as a bridge for veterans, Service leavers, reservicsts and their families into information technology careers.

We want to alleviate the issue of unemployment and underemployment in the Forces community by ensuring all TechVets members can combine their experience with their new leading digital skills acquired through the TechVets to gain sustainable careers in information technology.

In doing so, TechVets builds on the strengths of the Forces community to support the UKs digital economy.

What is your magic sauce?

As a Forces Employment Charity Programme, TechVets provides a seamless transition for our Forces community to secure gainful employment in tech while supporting the UK government’s strategic intent to growing cyber and tech skills to support national security.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

TechVets will be the single point of contact for UK service leavers, veterans and their families who wish to retrain for jobs in tech.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

I don’t have a tech background and understanding that this isn’t a barrier to employment is critical for service leavers to understand. I joined the military back in 2000, I started as an infantry soldier, as a private soldier in the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment.

My first tour to Afghanistan Helmand Province didn’t last very long, I was a section commander, six weeks in and managed to two-footed tackle a rocket propelled grenade, which I made up a wonderful story in the Mess one day that allegedly it was to get back on R&R early.

Still to this day I don’t confirm or deny it.

But a wonderful opportunity because although it sounds quite dark and nasty, it forced me to rethink my career, I moved into intelligence and when I got into intelligence I did two years before then coming up with a five-year exit strategy.

That plan was executed fairly well, I managed to get loads of courses under my belt, got a first-class in my honours degree in International Relations.

There are some great roles managing intelligence requirements globally and deployed to Beijing in the Embassy for six months. So really good, but I was ready to leave and at the 19 year point that was me done and dusted.

But I had a real issue with understanding where I would fit, where my skills would really have an impact, and through TechVets my first ever CO when I first joined the Vikings all those years ago, him and I had a cup of tea and he said, ‘Look, speak to Pete Connolly,’ and Pete showed me how to sign up. I used the network, I used the training, managed to land a role in Government Digital Services, the Head of Cyber Threat Intelligence, which was great.

From that point on, I wanted to give back so I started volunteering to support the founders, both in the community supporting beyond my community, as well as attending and representing TechVets at a number of different events.

Then finally the dream job; it was Mark Milton that got in touch and said, ‘Look we’re going to have our first CEO. You’ve worked hard voluntarily; you should have a look.

And thankfully, I think it was roughly around 5pm in the evening or half-five in the evening I got the call from Ewan a number of months later to say that I had it, and wow what an opportunity, and it’s been very action-packed ever since.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

If you from the Forces community and wish to register, visit https://www.techvets.co/ now!

If you are a company that wants to work with TechVets to…

> Employ incredible talent

> Provide training & education to our members

> Support the funding of our programme

Get in touch with the TechVets team [email protected]

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