Recruitment advice, job seeker support and company news

From Law Enforcement To Recruitment

17th August 2023

Transferrable skills are incredibly important skills because you can use them in any job, company or industry.  They're valued by employers because they indicate you've got the potential to do the job even if, on first glance at your work experience, you're not an obvious match. Developing transferrable skills enhances your versatility and can lead to interesting, enriching job experiences. 

In this article our QHSE recruiter Craig explains how the transferrable skills he developed as a police officer are now being successfully applied in a completely different context as a recruitment consultant. 

Whether you prefer Line of Duty or re-runs of The Bill, police procedural dramas would have us believe a career as a police officer is all about chasing bad guys and slamming cell doors.

Modern policing, however, has much more to do with communicating, listening, and resolving conflict – all skills which are hugely transferrable into other sectors.

Craig Fletcher opted to move into a new career in recruitment after almost six years as a constable with Police Scotland.

Many of the invaluable skills he learned have stayed with him.

“The role of a police offer is diverse, and despite what you might think, not just about crime. A significant proportion of the work is related to mental health,” he said. “There is very much a human approach to being a police officer – taking a proactive approach rather than reactive, thinking about what is proportionate in each situation and if you can avoid arresting someone.

It’s important to adapt your approach depending on who or what you’re dealing with – one size doesn’t fit all – and that’s true for many different roles.

After leaving school without a firm idea of what he wanted to do, Craig stumbled into a career in management at a jeweller.

“I had a Saturday job in a jeweller and ended up working there in management, but I didn’t feel fulfilled,” he said. “However, I knew I enjoyed working with people and I was good at sales, so I applied for a job as a key account manager in the stationery field. I was responsible for winning new business and managing accounts.”

Although he enjoyed his work, he often thought about a change of career and was accepted on to the 12-week police training programme at Tulliallan Police College, where he immersed himself in learning about public order, response, law, community work and advanced driving.

After completing his training, Craig began work as a probationer at Torry and Nigg police stations in Aberdeen, going on to work in a specialist child and sex abuse unit as well as being stationed in the busy city centre.

“During my time in the police, I dealt with everything from fraud, cybercrime and welfare checks to serious sexual exploitation, road traffic accidents and sudden deaths. I saw a lot of domestic crime, where we were able to support and guide victims through successful convictions.

“I was also seconded to COP26 in Glasgow, to join the team managing all aspects of public order and security, including environmental activists and presidential convoys,” said Craig.

The skills I learned included working under pressure, juggling different cases quickly and efficiently, listening, and interpersonal skills, teamwork, admin and paperwork to ensure evidence was correctly logged. Taking statements accurately, giving evidence in court, the ability to recall information and attention to detail are crucial parts of the job.

However, almost six years in a challenging role began to take its toll on Craig, who decided it was time for a career change.

“It was a difficult job. I did it for five and a half years and of course it had perks, including financial stability, but you give everything, and people don’t always appreciate what you do. Police officers deal with horrific things and you can’t do it forever. It challenged me in many ways and while I felt I had more to offer, I had maxed out my potential.”

Identifying Craig's transferrable skills led to a new career in recruitment
Craig Fletcher, QHSE & Engineering recruiter

Instead, Craig started thinking about his next move, and a casual conversation with his sister sparked an interest in recruitment.

“In June 2022 I applied to TMM Recruitment. I didn’t have any preconceived ideas about recruitment, but my sister was a recruiter and the home/life balance and financial incentives appealed to me. I secured a job which was the catalyst for me leaving the police force.

“I love the fact TMM invests in its people. The work is people based, like the police, but hard work is incentivised – plus it’s Monday to Friday with no shift work. The fact many of the team have been here for a long time gave me confidence to make the move.”

Keen to make his mark in a specific sector, Craig was given a role in QHSE recruitment and quickly learned the ropes.

“I knew nothing about it beforehand, but I quickly learned about accreditations and the required skills for jobs such as health and safety advisors. We recruit for all levels of the market and there is a crossover from our work into the renewables sector, with a strong focus on the environment and sustainability,” he said.

“Having my own specialism means I can do what I feel is necessary to shape our work and I love being able to do my own thing and have control of my career. My understanding of human behaviour and ability to build rapport with people from diverse backgrounds has been invaluable.

“We are a matchmaker between our clients and candidates, so listening and learning about people continue to be the key skills I need.”

In today’s world of hybrid working, Craig believes meeting people in person is still vital.

Listening and learning about people continue to be the key skills I need.

“Whether or not there’s a hybrid working model is often the first question people ask, but we lose so much through not working face to face.

“We’re often asked about the rise of AI such as ChatGPT, which is a consideration, but I think the human factor will always be needed, along with real-life skills, expertise and trusted relationships that can’t be replicated.

“As we move through the energy transition, skills will be transferrable as jobs flex and adapt. The market is buoyant and there are so many opportunities, with employers receptive to people transitioning into new areas and introducing their ideas and perspectives.”

“The best part for me is helping people – being part of their lives, getting to know them and then giving them the news that they got the job they really wanted! Making a difference by helping people find a new job is so rewarding.

“Career switches can be met with scepticism but I would say to anyone who wants to make a change in their career, it’s never too late - providing you do your research, plan accordingly and have a genuine desire to make it happen coupled with the willingness to take a risk.”

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