Career break, sign-off or part-time degree whilst serving ?

#1
Hello - Not quite sure if this is the right forum.

Having become a little,but not yet totally, disenchanted through multiple operational deployments well beyond harmony guidelines over a three year period and far in excess of the majority of my peers, Im being lined up for another one in 2009/10 - so I have started to consider taking a career break or leaving to pursue a degree simply to get some sort of home life back.

Just some questions - how long can I take a career break for - long enough for a 3-4 year degree course plus a bit of time for travelling to unwind a bit first? Do you get to stay on AFPS75 or are you then compulsarily moved to the new one if/when you return?

Secondly, having done 7 years in the forces I believe I am now eligible for the tuition fees paid by MOD - according to the announcement by the last SoS in mid 2008. Are there any further details on this and is it only for (permanent) leavers ? How do you apply ? Is this in addition to or instead of ELC ? If you use or have used your ELC are you not eligible ?

Finally, were I to stay in would I be able to use this scheme to do an OU or similar distance learning degree and have the MOD pick up the fees ?

Many thanks in advance.
H.
 
#2
You need to read JSP 760 (Leave manual), will give you all the information you require. Speak to your HR Admin you can not locate it on the SPVA site.
 
#5
OU 60 pts per year. Degree in 6 years. Bearing in mind, you can run the years together, so possibley 5.

If you feel like bailing on the Army in that time you can go full time OU, 120 pts per year.

A degree, is 3 years, that is not really a sabatical. I think that would be leaving the Army fully, and then rejoining.

Don´t know your capbadge or trade, but if it is that bad, why not chat to your CoC.

Perhaps a tour could be found for you where you can unwind, maybe even enhance your chances of completing a course of education.
 
#6
7 years abd u wanna career break!!!!!!
the army wont have changed when u return!!
we all have crap times in the army but a 'career break is not the answer' have u been to a trade fair?
Do yourself a favour and study with the OU whilst serving like i did.
Sometimes deployments are the best time to study.
At present the grass is NOT greener on the other side.
Enjoy
 
#7
Firstly, thanks to those who have replied.

Pensionprisoner-Why should 7 years make a difference or not? Are career breaks only for those who have done 18 years or whatever other nominal figure anyone cares to pick out at random?

I will raise the issue with my CoC and hopefully it will be looked at again. However Ive done 18 months in 3 years on ops and I would like to look after myself and my development instead of putting the army first,second and third which has been the case. So - yes if I was given a non-deployable job then of course I would consider that.

I have no interest in going to a career fair - I enjoy my trade and I enjoy the army (in the main)- it isnt crap and you get out what you put in, I just want to do something different, and better myself.If I can do OU or other degree while serving and maintain a homelife I will probably do that, perhaps with 6-12 months off travelling.

I am aware of some people finding time to study on deployment - I am not one of them and in all my tours I can honestly say that it would have been totally unfeasible due to the hours worked and demands made. As for the grass not being greener - I worked in the private and public sector before joining and that is true to an extent - commuting for 2 hours each way is not enjoyable either - however I have saved quite a lot and could comfortably live for 18 months at my current standard of living and longer as a student so Im not dependent on finding work.

I have found this - http://www.doing-alright.army.mod.uk/New+Direction/Career+Break/story.aspx
so 3 years at uni is possible, but may have to sacrifice my travel plans. Ill certainly be taking some of the advice listed here.

Thanks again to all contributors.
 
#8
Firstly, thanks to those who have replied.

Pensionprisoner-Why should 7 years make a difference or not? Are career breaks only for those who have done 18 years or whatever other nominal figure anyone cares to pick out at random?

I will raise the issue with my CoC and hopefully it will be looked at again. However Ive done 18 months in 3 years on ops and I would like to look after myself and my development instead of putting the army first,second and third which has been the case. So - yes if I was given a non-deployable job then of course I would consider that.

I have no interest in going to a career fair - I enjoy my trade and I enjoy the army (in the main)- it isnt crap and you get out what you put in, I just want to do something different, and better myself.If I can do OU or other degree while serving and maintain a homelife I will probably do that, perhaps with 6-12 months off travelling.

I am aware of some people finding time to study on deployment - I am not one of them and in all my tours I can honestly say that it would have been totally unfeasible due to the hours worked and demands made. As for the grass not being greener - I worked in the private and public sector before joining and that is true to an extent - commuting for 2 hours each way is not enjoyable either - however I have saved quite a lot and could comfortably live for 18 months at my current standard of living and longer as a student so Im not dependent on finding work.

I have found this - http://www.doing-alright.army.mod.uk/New+Direction/Career+Break/story.aspx
so 3 years at uni is possible, but may have to sacrifice my travel plans. Ill certainly be taking some of the advice listed here.

Thanks again to all contributors.
 
#9
I think I noticed this year on the Beige list that someone was on "A Career Break". Might be wrong but you could have a look.
 
#10
pensionprisoner said:
7 years abd u wanna career break!!!!!!
the army wont have changed when u return!!
we all have crap times in the army but a 'career break is not the answer' have u been to a trade fair?
Do yourself a favour and study with the OU whilst serving like i did.
Sometimes deployments are the best time to study.
At present the grass is NOT greener on the other side.
Enjoy
Which subject - illiteracy?
 
#11
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
pensionprisoner said:
7 years abd u wanna career break!!!!!!
the army wont have changed when u return!!
we all have crap times in the army but a 'career break is not the answer' have u been to a trade fair?
Do yourself a favour and study with the OU whilst serving like i did.
Sometimes deployments are the best time to study.
At present the grass is NOT greener on the other side.
Enjoy
Which subject - illiteracy?
sorry tawt head
 
#13
chocolate_frog said:
OU 60 pts per year. Degree in 6 years. Bearing in mind, you can run the years together, so possibley 5.

If you feel like bailing on the Army in that time you can go full time OU, 120 pts per year.

A degree, is 3 years, that is not really a sabatical. I think that would be leaving the Army fully, and then rejoining.
personally, i think the OU's days are numbered if they do not adapt to circumstances. they used to be the only viable option for distance learning - however, that could not be further from the truth nowadays.

with no qualifications above GCSE level, i was accepted to study for a Masters with Leicester (recently awarded University of the Year, so not some backstreet poly). studying part time by distance learning, the on-track time for completion is two years from start to finish.

how can anyone want to do a degree in 6 years with the OU, which in my opinion is prohibitively expensive, when there is the potential to get a Masters in only 2 years? and leicester wasn't the only candidate, i had an offer from glasgow too - the only two i approached. (let's face it, if you've got the money and can convince them you are capable of that level of study, you've got a good chance of being accepted.)

the proliferation of universities offering distance learning qualifications (no-brainer for them, financially) means that there are countless options out there which are more attractive than the OU.

oh, and by using two years of ELCs, my total contribution to paying for the masters is £3300. the system was surprisingly straightforward, very quick and easy and processed in less than two weeks from application to the uni getting the payment.

i realise that you are looking for a break from the career, but if it's a qualification you're after then you don't have to leave to get it - and you don't have to sacrifice the majority of your social life for 6 years, either.

if you are the trade specialisation i suspect you are, perhaps you've painted yourself into a corner. if you need a break from it then maybe an RCMO interview to get you a "breather" posting would be received better than an application for career break. (i believe the career break is for up to 2 years, but could be wrong).

anyway, PM if you want any more info. pretty sure we're the same capbadge if it helps.
 
#15
CRmeansCeilingReached said:
chocolate_frog said:
OU 60 pts per year. Degree in 6 years. Bearing in mind, you can run the years together, so possibley 5.

If you feel like bailing on the Army in that time you can go full time OU, 120 pts per year.

A degree, is 3 years, that is not really a sabatical. I think that would be leaving the Army fully, and then rejoining.
personally, i think the OU's days are numbered if they do not adapt to circumstances. they used to be the only viable option for distance learning - however, that could not be further from the truth nowadays.

with no qualifications above GCSE level, i was accepted to study for a Masters with Leicester (recently awarded University of the Year, so not some backstreet poly). studying part time by distance learning, the on-track time for completion is two years from start to finish.

how can anyone want to do a degree in 6 years with the OU, which in my opinion is prohibitively expensive, when there is the potential to get a Masters in only 2 years? and leicester wasn't the only candidate, i had an offer from glasgow too - the only two i approached. (let's face it, if you've got the money and can convince them you are capable of that level of study, you've got a good chance of being accepted.)

the proliferation of universities offering distance learning qualifications (no-brainer for them, financially) means that there are countless options out there which are more attractive than the OU.

oh, and by using two years of ELCs, my total contribution to paying for the masters is £3300. the system was surprisingly straightforward, very quick and easy and processed in less than two weeks from application to the uni getting the payment.

i realise that you are looking for a break from the career, but if it's a qualification you're after then you don't have to leave to get it - and you don't have to sacrifice the majority of your social life for 6 years, either.

if you are the trade specialisation i suspect you are, perhaps you've painted yourself into a corner. if you need a break from it then maybe an RCMO interview to get you a "breather" posting would be received better than an application for career break. (i believe the career break is for up to 2 years, but could be wrong).

anyway, PM if you want any more info. pretty sure we're the same capbadge if it helps.
could u clear a point up please,
How do u go from just GCSES to a masters in 2 years through distance learning???
An honours degree takes 3 years full time and a masters is one level above taking approx 2 years full time. This is 2 years on top of a honours degree. i think unless u prove me wrong that someone is telling porkies.
a foundation degree takes 4 years part time!!
the ou remains europes largest university.

There is no way u can get a masters in 2 years from nothing.
U said the OU is expensive, i paid 7500 pounds in total for an honours, u are paying 3300 from your own bank, plus 2 years of ELC at 1 grand a shot = 5300 pounds!!!! Is that cheap?????
 
#16
pensionprisoner said:
could u clear a point up please,
How do u go from just GCSES to a masters in 2 years through distance learning???
by being accepted to study for a Masters. to answer chocolate_frog: they require relevant experience for the particular degree you choose. i'm doing an MBA, for which you had to demonstrate at least 10 years of management experience (although it says 3 on their website now). bearing in mind that from when you get your first stripe you are a junior manager of people... it's not hard to translate your military experience into what they require. for other courses, i'm sure they will require a different standard / type of experience.

here's the admissions criteria for my own course, my bold emphases and my comments in square brackets:

MBA by distance learning
Admissions

We are looking for students with a wide variety of experience and interests. Three years relevant working experience is preferred. Selection of candidates is based upon:

a completed application form;

an ability to demonstrate that a contribution can be made to the programme (i.e. practical experience);

references, preferably from former University teachers or current employers. For non-graduates with professional qualifications, one reference should be from a person under whom training beyond school level was received. The forms enclosed with the application form should be used [got my references from OC and CRSM]

AND

possession of a good UK honours degree (or its overseas equivalent), or an acceptable professional qualification; [WO CLM did it for me, don't know how you would fare with SNCO CLM or below]
OR

possession of the University of Leicester’s Diploma in Management may allow entry.
leicester offer about 40 different distance learning Masters degrees, in a variety of subjects. if you've been in the army a fair while, i'm sure there is something you could get yourself onto depending on your relevant experience. for instance, people from the Int Corps have had no problem being accepted onto Security Risk Management masters programmes in the past, with a couple of universities.

you may not have the relevant experience for an Archaeology masters, but you might be able to apply your own experience and be accepted onto one in Management, HR or something like that? it may come down to what they accept as "an acceptable professional qualification".

An honours degree takes 3 years full time and a masters is one level above taking approx 2 years full time. This is 2 years on top of a honours degree. i think unless u prove me wrong that someone is telling porkies.
riiiiight. if you've never heard of it, it must be someone telling lies? this is my point - people just assume the OU route is the only one, because that's all they know. as soon as you hear you might be able to go from zero to Masters in 2 years (for under £6500 for some courses) their ears prick up. and rightly so. the OU is sooo 1990s, as kids today might say ;)

a foundation degree takes 4 years part time!!
the ou remains europes largest university.
There is no way u can get a masters in 2 years from nothing.
if you say so :roll:

and who cares if the OU is the largest university in europe? i don't want to waste 6 years of my life studying when i can get a better qualification in 2 years. you can stick your four years on a "foundation degree" up your arse :)

U said the OU is expensive, i paid 7500 pounds in total for an honours, u are paying 3300 from your own bank, plus 2 years of ELC at 1 grand a shot = 5300 pounds!!!! Is that cheap?????
2 years at £2000 + my contribution = £7300, which is what it cost when i enrolled in july. it's just gone up to £7500. do i think that's cheap for the opportunity to earn a Masters from scratch? yep. don't you?

i'm sure there are other universities out there offering programmes just as good / competitive etc. but i did a lot of digging and settled on leicester as their distance learning reputation was outstanding. they have over 5000 students on their courses at any one time - and you do exactly the same course material as the resident students. you just have to do lots of reading on your own because you can't attend lectures (although there is multimedia material and tutor support online). there is a thriving community for courses on Facebook etc and you soon build up a network of people on the same course.

this is the website for Leicester's courses. http://www.le.ac.uk/distancelearning/courselist.html i can highly recommend them, but i'm sure those loyal to another uni will have their say too. click on the title of the course, then "admissions" at the top right to see the entry criteria. i emailed them ahead of time to explain my background and see if it was worthwhile applying, and they were very helpful.

(cynic mode on for all distance learning institutions - if you can pay the cash and come anywhere near the minimum criteria, you're 80% through the door - is it much skin off their nose if you fail, or drop out? they've got your money - cynic mode off)

anyway, it's hard work and the reading will sometimes dominate your down-time if you keep up with the programme. however, the fact it's over such a short period of time means i am confident i can keep motivation up until the end. (ability might be another matter lol).

if you've got any more questions, fire away. i started 6 months ago and haven't looked back.
 
#17
Might look in to that. I only have SCLM, but I´ll have to see if I can wangle WO CLM.

MBA? Does that mean I could be Chocolate_Frog MBA BSc (Hons)?

That would look good on the name badge 8)
 
#18
I too did the distance learning MSc with the University of Leicester, in my case I did security and risk management. Like CRmeansCR I left school with very little, but was accepted onto the course by having relevent experience.

For me it was a good time. I actually enjoyed the studying and writing the dissertation, so I would recommend it as a possible route to a higher level qualification for those it suits.
 
#19
As a graduate of the OU (7 years eventually to get an honours degree) I agree with CR(and others). The OU has gone from being the only distance learning option to one which is quickly becoming an expensive second best.

I always served in Germany and NI whilst studying and found tutors unwilling to offer the kind of support needed whilst serving. They seem to just want your cash and once you've paid up their interest is spent.

Many Universities offer high quality graduate and post graduate programs that accept servicemen not just for their money, but also help tailor study to suit the needs of the individual.

I'm looking into MBA programs at various Universities and the OU seems one of the most expensive, one of the longest and the bottom of my wish list.
 

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