Laura Blair, the OA’s Director of Employment, spent 12 years as an army officer in the Adjutant’s General Corps (AGC) focusing on personnel management. Working with The Royal Armoured Corps, The Royal Engineers, The Army Air Corps and 16th Air Assault Brigade, she served on both peace-keeping missions and in war zones. This positioned her perfectly to understand and promote the skill set of officer talent to prospective employers, both nationally and internationally to enhance their talent pipeline.
Proving her own raft of transferable skills after leaving the AGC, Laura worked in both the charity sector and for a global learning and development company. Following this position she was able to re-ignite her passion for education by becoming a member of the teaching profession, a sector she feels is often overlooked by veterans.
Resilience, Creativity & Leadership
“As a veteran myself I understand exactly what that skill set is, Laura explains citing the, “resilience, attention to detail, creativity and leadership” that is especially suited to an educational establishment, be it a school, college or university.
With a degree in History and Politics, Laura took advantage of the Schools Direct Salaried Scheme (SDS) which dropped her straight into a GCSE History classroom on day one, with mentor support. Promotion was rapid, as she rose to Assistant Principal for Behaviour and Attitudes in her third year, while adding Government and Politics A level to her responsibilities.
Humbling & Rewarding
She explains how her previous military experience could bring her subject alive and spark curiosity in her pupils, which was very rewarding to witness. Laura revealed that, “I was able to make the subject more real to them and impart some cultural capital, to help not only to develop them academically, but 360 degrees into a well-rounded person”.
As for the staffroom, she reflected that a school is a community just like the military, an alignment that she found, “seamless and comfortable”. She reflected that her experience with stakeholder management, transferred neatly into a positive interaction with governors and parents alike.
Teaching for Laura was not only the perfect repository for her military skill set but resulted in “the most exhilarating and rewarding three years of my life”. Clearly her passion for her subject, coupled with a sense of purpose to engage and enhance the lives of her students was edifying. Laura recognised, “There is no better feeling than standing in the classroom and having 30 pairs of eyes on you and noting that you’re holding their attention and you’re inspiring them to be passionate about a certain subject.”
Of course, she acknowledges that a teacher’s day can be a long, exhausting roller-coaster ride. However, learning to motivate and inspire young people and feeling you have changed someone’s life for the better was, in her words, “a humbling and rewarding experience”, that she would “genuinely recommend to any veteran”.
Interested in teaching?