June MacMahon, Principal of Forces Media Academy (FMA), shares her insight on this topic.
FMA started in 2017, offering veterans an intensive full-time course in Creative Media Production, and in our first year 100% graduated and 80% are now working in the industry. This demonstrates that the Media industry recognises the benefits of hiring veterans.
Creativity comes in many different guises, and you probably describe yours in military terms. For example, location managers for high end drama and films require exactly the same skills as someone working in logistics. In both roles you identity and mitigate hazards (such as rivers), plan how to bring heavy vehicles on site and work without disturbing your neighbours.
In other words, you have the project management skills that the Media industry needs. I have seen from our students that you naturally put checkpoints in a project, which is uncommon amongst their civilian counterparts. By planning points to stop and review progress made with the project, increases the chances that objectives are achieved on time and in budget. This is an effective approach for lengthy film shoots, where every delay can be very expensive.
Veterans will often have the potential to be good photographers and camera operators, because if you can keep a gun steady and on target then you have already done the groundwork. In addition, if you have surveillance experience, then you are likely to already have the technical skills in using a camera. From there, it is a small leap to apply this in a commercial career.
Service leavers are good at being creative to a client’s brief. In part this is because you are trained to work closely as a team to achieve common goals. Specifically, being tasked focussed means that you look at how to maximise the effectiveness of the skillsets and resources available. Collaboration prevents the project from being stuck in the creative process, freeing you to deliver on the measurable outcomes.
Finally, your interpersonal skills are highly valued in Media. I have observed that our students are naturally proficient at social media, because they understand intuitively what will resonate with an audience. Furthermore, you are experienced at winning the hearts and minds of the people you work alongside, which is beneficial in any career.
Therefore, a career in the creative industries is less of a leap for Service leavers and more a natural next step.
This article originally appeared in Pathfinder, the monthly magazine for Service leavers. The OA contributes a monthly feature; ‘Ask the Experts’, where different career questions are answered. Read the latest issue.