Phil Coates, CPOMA served 1993 – 2016.
I had a five-year plan which was to prepare me for leaving the RN after almost 23 years. I wanted to gain the appropriate qualifications to ensure my options were varied when seeking civilian employment. The first step on this successful pathway being when I was an instructor at Keogh Barracks and I learnt about the Level 5 award available. So, I decided to enrol with Wessex Business School for the Level 5 Management qualification; this was completed at HMS Nelson education centre, delivered by Keith Rees of Wessex Business School. Keith was great, really approachable and extremely knowledgeable and made the course interesting.
After this, I decided that I wanted to progress, and got in touch with Christina to see how I could move forward and begin Level 6 – a Degree in Leadership & Management. Christina was very supportive and encouraged me to use the fast-track method which was distance learning via the University of Northumbria. The advice was first-rate and I began the programme in 2012, with Northumbria University, the programme was well-led with continued support from the tutors and programme lead, Dr Guy Brown. Guy, ran some study weekends too, held at the University in Newcastle. I completed and achieved a BA(Hons) during my time at Keogh Barracks, before moving to Northwood HQ for my last draft.
At Northwood, I still had the bug for learning and decided that I wanted to do more. So I enrolled for the Post Graduate Diploma (Level 7) in Strategic Management & Leadership. This was a five-day intensive course, with some pre-course reading and tasks to complete. The course was delivered at Northwood HQ and it acted as a stepping stone for me to go on to commence a Masters in Business Administration (MBA).
The MBA was again fast track and this time I used the University of Northampton as it was accessible from Northwood, if I needed to attend the campus. The MBA was where I was able to focus on what I wanted to do, and the subject of my dissertation ‘The Management Consultant as a Force for Change; Searching for Success’ was approved and I began. My reason for choosing this subject was to align the MBA with my aspiration to become a management consultant when I left the RN, as I was pretty certain I didn’t want to stay in practice management! I began the MBA in 2015 and was completed by the end of the year, and in 2016 was awarded an MBA with Distinction.
The training and experience gained during my career certainly supported my learning. It is easy to look back and think that was a great deployment or that was an amazing run ashore, but we often forget to look back at what we have learnt and achieved. You can benefit from your learning and experience and Wessex Business School will provide you with tools to do this to enable you to go on and develop your career within and beyond the RN.
The RNMS is supportive towards learning and development and I took every opportunity I could to develop and prepare myself for life as a veteran! But, you as an individual must commit and identify the opportunities to learn, they won’t come looking for you! Don’t be deterred by what qualifications you might not have, I left school in 93, with a few GCSEs and by November that year had joined the RN. It wasn’t until 2013 that I got my degree (aged 37).
When I left in October 2016, I felt I had done all I could to prepare for the next chapter of my life and so far, so good. I’ve set up my own consultancy business and make sure that I have a stand-easy when I want and finish at 1200 on Friday’s in true RN fashion.
My advice to anyone leaving or thinking of leaving is, use your Standard and Enhanced Learning Credits, work hard, prepare for life after the RN and listen to the guidance offered from the educational officers and support groups. But, begin the process early, and I can’t recommend Wessex Business School highly enough, talk to the team, Keith and Christina certainly gave me the encouragement and support to achieve what I wanted to achieve.
Danny Morgan - Ex Military - Health and Safety Manager
I was booked on the bridging module, almost against my will thinking that I didn’t need to go on it and I would be able to jump straight in to the final year of the BA(Hons) degree, so naturally I had a pre-conceived idea of how the day was going to be. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong, it was a small group of military people that were all a bit apprehensive. Keith (the tutor), an experienced gentleman, was remarkable from start to finish his approach to “win us over” was simple and effective. Everyone on the course felt that he connected with them as individuals and as a group, we all left feeling excited and inspired about the course and our future education.
Anton Mendez – 1st Signal Regiment
I began my journey with Wessex Business School in late 2015 with the goal of achieving the qualifications required to start the BA (hons) degree in Leadership and Management in the third year.
WBS has made this goal possible as I have now completed both the L5 BTEC Diploma in Management and the Higher Education Access Course with them.
As a soldier who never previously undertook Higher Education I was a bit apprehensive when I first started, but the team at WBS quickly re-assured me with their well-run workshops and assertive tutoring. During both the L5 diploma and the HE access course the WBS tutors were nothing but supportive, with their honest and prompt feedback.
My next step is to start the Degree in September, and I would like to thank WBS for supporting my education progress and providing me with the tools to achieve higher education.
WBS is are a professional organisation and I fully recommend that this is the place to achieve recognised qualifications!
BA (Hons) Leadership and Management
My academic journey began through the WessexBusinessSchool in 2013 having completed the ‘BTEC level 5 in Leadership and Management’ and ‘Bridging Module’ programme. This is where crucial academic methodologies were first identified and explored. Combined, these programmes prepared me for the assignments and investigative project throughout the following year of studies at Northumbria University.
Commencing the degree programme in January 2016 provided its own unique challenges as the modules usually run from the academic year September and not January. Owing to this I felt initially overwhelmed recognizing that studying around family and work commitments was going to be a challenge in several ways; nonetheless, with family, peer and university support I ably committed everything to the project and related modules. Limited academic knowledge was among initial concerns having begun the degree programme in the third year; nevertheless, frequent contact through the blackboard site with peers, and guidance from tutors was welcomed and focused onwards studies. Apprehensions in these instances were quickly overcome in the receipt of feedback initially through the project proposal; this, in turn, provided much needed motivation and focus towards a comprehensive project plan, which was consequently submitted in conjunction with the project proposal.
Distance learning is a daunting process made considerably easier given the access to books and libraries and speed in which books are processed and delivered. I gratefully appreciate all the effort that goes into making this process as smooth as possible and thank the team at the City Campus Library for their continued support.
Regretfully I was unable to attend any of the assignment guidance sessions available at NorthumbriaUniversity owing to a combination of work commitments and costs incurred commensurate to the long commute and accommodation requirements. In hindsight, this has been the principle limitation to the year of studies, none more so than being able to meet module supervisors and fellow students to share ideas and work through concepts and understandings. Nevertheless, since leaving secondary education in 1995 with three GCSEs in non-academic subjects I committed to the degree programme recognizing the leadership and management elements to be relatable and familiar.
Whilst I have gained a wealth of practical experience in leadership and management through a very rewarding career on submarines, the academic journey albeit challenging, has enabled me to achieve unimaginable qualifications, knowledge and understanding and without the help and support from both the Wessex Business School and Northumbria University I would not have been able to enjoy the successes I have to date.
Finally, I wholeheartedly thank my wife Michelle and three children: Jack, Charlie, and Sophie for believing and encouraging me. Michelle has been by my side throughout my Leadership and Management degree and lived every minute of it with me. The continued family support whether away from home, under the sea, or at home hidden in the study truly made this academic year achievable and enjoyable.
Leigh Pickard-Morrish BA(Hons) MCMI
The L5 Coaching and Mentoring course, run by Keith, was absolutely fantastic from start to finish.
The content was wholly comprehensive, which was vital, as some members of my team were out of their comfort zone. The pace of the programme was pitched perfectly - fast enough for the learning momentum to be maintained, but also incorporating fully the mixed abilities and experiences of the whole group.
The mixture of academic study and practical learning was finely balanced, allowing us good time to practice the new skills that we had learnt - essential to the progress of us all.
For me personally, it was one of the most inspiring and valuable courses that I have attended, and once I have completed the Level 5, (I am on my last assignment), I fully intend to progress to Master Coach Level as soon as possible.
Keith was a patient and supportive tutor and has been available, in person, on the telephone and via email, during and retrospective of the course for all of us that attended.
I would recommend this course to anybody who has a Coaching requirement within their job role, or for their professional team without hesitation - it has proved an invaluable tool for our team.
Learning & Development Advisor
I found the Level 5 Coaching and Mentoring course structure excellent, the tutor was extremely knowledgeable about his subject, relating theory into practice throughout the course. The course materials were very comprehensive and I found the diagnostics and case studies used within the course very helpful which also supported my learning. Keith is a wealth of knowledge and I felt very at ease throughout the week to ask questions and clarify points I was unsure of. I found the course very beneficial and am now eager to put my learning and development into practice.
My personal preference would have been to have three practical sessions rather than just two. However, I do feel completely equipped to start my Coaching and Mentoring journey and would strongly recommend this course to others looking to gain Coaching and Mentoring skills.
After completing SRLC I heard about the opportunity to undertake a Diploma in Leadership and Management. I attended the workshop and completed this in course whilst at RNAS Yeovilton. The instructor was helpful and patient, and the course gave me a completely different insight into different types of management. I would recommend that any Senior Rate complete this course. It costs a small amount of money with your SLC’s, and is worth while having for the future in civvi street.
After completion of the Diploma, I undertook a Bridging Module which is basically a bridge to enable military personnel to update there essay writing from diploma level to the third year of a degree in Leadership and management. This was challenging mainly due to the ships programme, and also the gap I have had in studying since leaving school. However my instructor Keith Rees was nothing but supportive, and also refreshingly honest and let me know if I was not meeting the level required to pass. HIs help and honest assessments was greatly appreciated.
My next step will be starting the degree in September which I’ve no doubt will be challenging and tough, but worthwhile. The WBS are a professional organisation, who fully understand the challenges that Military face when studying. I would fully recommend any personnel to study with them.
PO Joseph MacKenzie - HMS Bulwark
The process to gain the Level 5 Leadership and Management Diploma was seamless from start to finish. To gain the qualification some pre course work was required which was a questionnaire that took approximately 30 minutes to complete, this was followed by a 4 hour workshop at HMS NELSON and then the certificate was sent within a few weeks. It is a worthwhile qualification that is gained by a hassle free and straight forward method that is extremely time efficient!
Suzie Parker CPOPT
WO1 Regimental Sergeant Major Darren Redgwell did not have any qualifications when he joined the Army.
His educational journey started while attending the Infantry Warrant Officer course at the Infantry Battle School, Wales. During the course students were given the chance to sign up to a single module of the BTEC level 5 diploma in management studies which, combined with the completion of the Warrant Officers CLM course, equalled the first year of a University education.
After completing both the Infantry Warrants Officers course and the Warrant Officers CLM, he undertook a bridging course with the Wessex Business School from which he was able to gain access to the final year of an honours degree in Leadership and Management delivered by Northumbria University.
Since then, Darren has not looked back. He graduated in 2013 with First Class Honours along with a Deans List citation for academic excellence and went on to achieve a Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership and Management, with most of the fees being funded by the Army as part of his educational development.
He is about to start the final year of an MSc and hopes to continue adding to his educational successes.
He said: “All this was made possible by converting my military education to university accreditation along with studying a subject I have practiced for years being researched thoroughly in the academic arena."
Feedback from L5 Mgmt workshop.
Location and environment good. (facilities provided by RN educational centre)
Presentation good. PowerPoint use good with occasional swap to MS word - these Word 'slides' could have been incorporated into PowerPoint slides as some times they got a bit 'busy'
Instructor ticked all the boxes, introduced himself, told us what we were attempting to achieve and laid out the lesson plan. Used multiple training techniques, white board/PowerPoint/Q&A/Question and nominate etc to good effect.
Explained the workbooks and explored the possible answers as a group before we were given adequate time to actually answer the questions / complete the mini essays.
Altogether a good lesson and has pointed out several areas to develop.
CPO S. Howlett RN
WBS response: Thank you for your feedback, we have taken ‘onboard’ your comments RE the Powerpoint and made some adjustments. We trust you will consider continuing with your studies and look forward to hearing from you should you chose to consider undertaking our Bridging module whereupon completion will allow you access to the final year of the BA HONS Degree with Northumbria University.
Firstly can I say a big thank you to you and your team for helping me obtain my BTEC Level 5 Leadership & Management. I received my Certificate this week. The lesson and workbook were very good as well as the instructor. Also big thanks for helping me obtain my entrance to the BA Hons in Leadership & Management course with Northumbria University. I have now been enrolled and started.
CPO C. Cooper RN
With regards to the BTEC level 5 course, I thought it was very well presented and structured. It was good to see the recognition of our already established management skills and therefore not overly complicated in transferring these into recognised civilian qualifications. I now look forward to progressing with this qualification and doing a degree in business and enterprise.
I commend WBS for their expertise, knowledge of the forces management system and aftercare.
PO A. Deacon RN
I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to you and the WBS team for all the assistance I have received. From the onset of me enquiring about the Level 5 Dip via Wessex Business School, you have been nothing but helpful and an excellent point of contact. You enabled me to complete the award swiftly and have given me further guidance regarding higher level study. I will undoubtedly be recommending WBS and ultimately yourself to my colleagues who are interested in achieving awards in Leadership & Management. Many thanks and good luck for the future.
POMA P. COATES RN
On behalf of Sam and I we would just like to express our most sincere thanks for both the BTEC Diploma Workshop followed by the Bridging Module. We thoroughly enjoyed both days and the information / instruction you delivered was first class. We intend to recommend both days to our colleagues who would be suited for this fantastic opportunity. Once again many thanks from both of us!
PO D. Powditch & PO S. Forde RN
I attended the BTEC Level 5 Management and Leadership course held in Nelson on the 23rd May. I found the course extremely worthwhile and it was delivered in a manner that made it easy to follow and understand. Keith was very knowledgeable and made the course enjoyable I am hoping to complete the bridging course in the next financial year to enable me to use another SLC.
PO AWT Stephenson RN
I have been working with the Wessex Business School for but a brief amount of time; and can truly say without a shadow of doubt, that their desire to help all military personnel across all boundaries is uncompromising, professional and exemplary. The level of advice they give, usually in their own time and expense, has been first class; pitched at the right level for each and every one of their clients in a professional and friendly manner. I am currently studying with the WBS, and have recommended them to my subordinates who are looking for a future career in management. For those looking for advice to guide you into a different career path, you could look long and hard to find a better academic institution. Many Thanks again!!!!
From WO2 (BSM) Blackmore
I was working within Portsmouth Naval Base when my boss informed me about the Level 5 Leadership and Management module which was taking place at HMS NELSON Education Centre in Apr 12.
In conjunction with Wessex Business School and Northumbria University, I enrolled onto a short ‘bridging module’ which enabled me to amalgamate my credits from Leadership Leading Rates course and Senior Rates Leadership course and upgrade my educational qualification to a BTEC Diploma Level 5 in Leadership and Management.
I used a combination of my standard learning credits and personal contribution to pay for this course.
I have to admit, I was a little overwhelmed at first when I attended the first session as I was unsure what to expect, however, the administration and paperwork supplied made a lot more sense. When discussing the possibility of studying towards a BA (Hons) degree, it certainly sounded appealing and I was eager to find out more information. Looking back now, I am extremely glad I chose to enrol onto the Level 5 course with WBS, because it has prepared me well for this degree I am studying for now.
Looking back, the importance of referencing was enforced on course but may need to be reiterated to all students at every available opportunity. It would be beneficial to educate students in the importance of referencing.
Looking back, I wish I could be able to ‘take my Navy hat off’ and become a student for the duration of this course. This is what I found so difficult to accept. Although my work and assignments were mainly orientated around the Navy, I now accept that Leadership and Management has been researched and evaluated by professional academics and therefore must use their findings to use as the foundations to my work.
I thoroughly recommend this module/ degree to anyone who wishes to develop themselves as a manager/leader. After 12 years in the Royal Navy, I have a substantial qualification to take with me into civvy street which confirms that I have learnt enough to be able to enrol on this module. Keith Rees made the process enjoyable and seamless, thank you for putting up with my out of hours emails!
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