Posted on March 8, 2018 by staff

Tech needs to tap into Army veteran talent pool


A British Army veteran believes that ex-military personnel are a perfect fit for the fast-paced world of the tech industry.

AJ Mussell joined content-led SEO agencyTecmark after a career in the British Army which included a stretch in the bomb disposal unit.

At 17 years of age he was a self-confessed ‘gobby teen’, keeping company with the wrong friends and heading for an unfulfilling life. “That’s why I joined,” Mussell told BusinessCloud. “It changed me as a man, I believe for the better.”

What he didn’t know then was that the Army would provide him with a newfound respect and curiosity for technology, alongside the obvious benefits of imbuing him with discipline and purpose.

“I absolutely loved the technology that was involved in the military, particularly in the EOD (bomb disposal unit). In the training courses, I was always asking how the technology worked rather than what it was used for,” he said.

“The technology blows me away. I’ve only been out [of the Army] for four years and the technology moves on so fast.”

Mussell believes that these qualities make the tech sector an unlikely fit for himself and other veterans because it is fast-paced, demanding and requires commitment and good communication.

“A lot of guys who are leaving [the Army] are in jobs that they don’t really want to be in: they’re not engaged and they’re not motivated. They’ve gone from a very fast active life to nothing.”

Last year BusinessCloud spoke with decorated military pilot Joe Kay in Reading and learned how he’s using lessons from the Army to help businesses make better decisions with Enswarm.

We also interviewed Shachar Bialick, who is running London FinTech start-up Curve after learning his limits in the Israeli Special Forces.

Veteran Mussell said that the “real world” of the tech sector might put off other veterans from considering it but that the Manchester tech scene, in which he now works, has “blown him away”.

“The tech scene is genuinely an area to get in to,” he advised.

The account manager said he would love to see technology companies putting a ‘flag in the sand’ to create a scheme to bring on veterans.

“There are six million veterans in the UK – a tenth of the UK population has either served or are serving. If that was any other demographic we’d be looking to target it,” he said.