I joined the Army when I was sixteen and completed my higher education at the Army Foundation College in Harrogate. From there, I joined the Highland Gunners (Royal Artillery) which meant most of my military career was based near Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 as a Forward Observer — Forward Observers are the frontline troops of the Royal Artillery and are generally seen as the eyes and ears of the Artillery. Our main job role involved being integrated with the infantry (Royal Anglian Regiment) on the frontline of battle in Helmand Province. We would radio-grid coordinates back to our Artillery Guns. The role also incorporated indirect control of jets and other aviation capabilities.
I was awarded a Battery Commanders Commendation for Bravery on this tour. I also had a career as a Regimental Bagpiper while serving. This let me travel all over the world playing the Bagpipes from Canada to China, and I was even the Queen's personal alarm clock when she visited Edinburgh in 2010. It's sometimes difficult for employers and service leavers to identify transferable skills from military to civilian life; however, the values the military instils in all of us — selfless commitment, loyalty, integrity, respect for others and discipline — are all incredibly valuable assets that we can all adapt into any civilian career.