Shift in focus: From the Army to automotive

Gary Tucker

In this article: From Training Director in the Army to Managing Director of Network Training Partnership, Gary Tucker explains how he shifted from military life to the motor industry

When did you sign up and what roles did you hold?

I joined the Army in 1994 aged 17 as a Recovery Mechanic, and served in Germany, Canada, Northern Ireland and numerous assignments throughout England, as well as completing operational tours to Kosovo, Iraq and twice in Afghanistan.

I finished my career as a Warrant Officer One in November 2016 as a Senior Training Director at the Defence School of Electronic and Mechanical Engineering.

What was the most challenging aspect of making the move to civilian life?

After 22-years of working with a 'one-team' mentality, it’s taken a bit of adjustment and it’s one of the reasons I set up my own business – Network Training Partnership – rather than continue to work in the commercial sector.

How has your career developed since making the move?

It has been a whirlwind! In three short years, we have firmly established the business as a market leader. We pride ourselves on developing bespoke training modules for companies, and to date, there hasn't been a challenge we haven't met.

I was honoured to have been awarded a Fellowship by the IMI in 2017 and my company won Business Start-Up of the year in 2019 at the Soldiering On Awards, and was a finalist in Training Team of the Year at the Talent in Logistics Awards, Silver Award holders under the Armed Forces Recognition Scheme and more recently, I was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to the Motor Industry at the IMI 2020 Centenary Awards.

I’m also an Ambassador for X-Forces Enterprise and work with the Sage Foundation and Peter Jones on the Veteran Tycoon Enterprise Programme helping forces personnel set-up businesses.

A glutton for punishment, I have since formed my second company Professional Accreditation and Training Auditing Matrix that produces digital App identity cards throughout the transport industry.

2020 has been a challenging year so far, how do you think it could change the training landscape?

Rather than complain about it, we have taken the opportunity to become UKAS ISO 9001 accredited and developed a series of online courses that will enhance what we can offer to companies.

Additionally, trainers throughout our consortium have switched to delivering training online with fantastic feedback. I come from a learning and development background and am a huge advocate for online and innovative training. Blended-learning and the flipped classroom mentality can benefit the student a great deal. However, it must be delivered correctly and not just a case of delivering any old PowerPoint on a screen; otherwise quality will drop and reputations lost.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in the motor industry after leaving the military?

The military puts a massive emphasis on development throughout your career, they also can receive grants for resettlement training, in addition to annual grants. I started my personal development journey, including with the IMI, years before I got out and it has assisted me a great deal, you can never begin the journey too soon.

The training you receive in the Armed Forces is exceptional, and it’s a fantastic building block to a second career, however, they must continue to develop their knowledge by working with respected accrediting bodies such as the IMI. A qualification is only worth something if it’s recognised and I have seen far too many people pay for unaccredited training that doesn't benefit them.

Finally, network, network, network! As the saying goes, 'your network is your net-worth' so you can never meet too many people that may be able to assist you and hopefully one of these people will understand the outstanding qualities forces personnel possess or are willing to take a chance, as I know from experience, they won't be let down.