Army Reservist uses Army Learning Credits to kick start civilian career


A Cheshire based Army Reservist has successfully become a qualified dog handler on civvy street, thanks to his reserve service.

Army Reservist Private Tom Simcox, is currently serving with 4 Mercian at B (Malta) Company, in Ellesmere Port. The former Cheshire Army Cadet Force (ACF) cadet, enlisted into 4 MERCIAN in March 2019 having left the ACF on reaching the age of 18.

When he finished his 6th Form studies later that year he went onto complete all phases of Army Reserve training, including the Combat Infantry Course (CIC) at The Infantry Training Centre (ITC), Catterick. During this time he gained his key milestone payments and was £2300 better off.

Pte Simcox has had a life-long aspiration to become a dog handler, as well as a soldier. The opportunity arose for him to attend a self-funded weeklong residential course to become a qualified dog handler. On completion of the course in November 2019 he was advised to obtain the SIA Door Supervisor Licence in order that he may legally conduct security work; a key function of the dog handler role.

He was advised that as a Reservist, he may be able to receive part funding for this course through Standard Learning Credits as the knowledge and skills acquired through the course could be transferrable and be of benefit to the service. His application subsequently gained approval and he completed the SIA course in December 2019.

Pte Simcox said, “Since joining the Army Reserve I realised I still had a passion to work with dogs, which I wanted to pursue in my civilian career. Whilst on the L2 Security Dog Handling Course I met with a regular army chef going through resettlement. He advised me to enquire about Standard Learning Credits to cover my SIA Course. After discussing this with my unit, we went through the SLC application process. The scheme contributes 80% of a course fee, up to £175, with a 20% applicant contribution. This greatly helped me as I had a lot of other upcoming expenditure, such as buying a van, kennel, training and work equipment.”

Since receiving his SIA licence Pte Simcox has purchased a van, acquired a security dog, named Devil, and is now experiencing high demand for his skills as a self-employed professionally qualified dog handler. Pte Simcox now looks forward to progressing in both his civilian and military career and especially developing his skiing skills during the forthcoming Battalion Winter Training Exercise to Austria later this month.

Major Bowden-Williams, Officer Commanding B(Malta) Company, said:

“Congratulations to Pte Simcox, This is what the Army is about, gaining confidence and achieving success. He is a great example of someone who has seen the opportunities and assistance available to reservists and used it to undertake personnel development which benefits the Army and him as a whole.”

To find out more about 4 Merican, visit their website.

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