Harnessing the Value of Mentorship: From the RAF to i3Secure

Published on: October 26,2023 Published in: Forces Friendly Insights News

Ady Cooper, i3Secure Consultant and RAF Veteran has benefited from mentorship from his early days on the sports field, during his service in the Armed Forces, through to his civilian career in Cyber Security. Here, in his blog, he shares his experience and how it’s helped shape him personally and professionally, and why it’s particularly relevant for anyone leaving the military.

Sage words were said to me by a coach very early on in my sporting life “You have some talent, but that alone is not going to get to you where you could be.” Those words didn’t really impact on me at the time as I didn’t really understand what they truly meant. Along with the hard hours of training and competition, there needed to be another element added: mentorship. That Coach became my first Mentor, a person who became important in my life and certainly had a very positive impact in forming and guiding my performance and personality.

I soon became used to, after prompts from my Mentor, self-analysing my performance, identifying the positives, drawing out the negatives (which I’d always try and steer away from) and finding the route to achieve a more consistent and effective outcome or performance. As I said, I didn’t realise at the time that mentorship was taking place.

From Sports to the RAF

Taking that mindset forward into my Royal Air Force career, I had some outstanding mentors who were willing to give their time and knowledge to aid my progression or guide me when I wasn’t too sure what I should (not necessarily could) do next.  Thinking back, some sessions were incredibly formal and pre-defined, but the vast majority were completely ad-hoc. They just happened in the middle of a night shift, stuck halfway up a mountain, driving to the next job or in a social setting. The location and time mattered not, mentoring was taking place and it had a positive impact.

Transitioning into i3Secure

I’m very fortunate to still be surrounded by people who I consider to be my Mentors, be they my colleagues in i3Secure, or my wider professional and social network.  Having people around me who are used to, understand and readily apply the concepts of mentorship has made my transition from the RAF into the commercial world so much smoother. It’s incredibly important when you move to a different or new professional environment, perhaps in an area where you are challenged on a regular basis, that you have the formal and informal mentor support network to provide guidance and direction. Mentorship is very strong within i3Secure, you truly, are never alone.

The Value of a Mentorship for Service Leavers

All of the professional skills and leadership qualities (and qualifications) achieved throughout a Service career are extremely valuable and exploitable within the cyber security commercial sector and the journey of mentorship aids in realising and transitioning these skills. Almost everything that you have done will be transferable in some way and will fit into scenarios that you will experience. Just think about the previous occasions where you have had to display self-discipline, self-analysis, leadership, moral courage, planning and problem-solving skills in an ever-changing environment.  That will have happened and you will have thought nothing of it, it’s just what Veterans do and that’s why you are valuable to i3Secure and the wider cyber security sector. Mentorship never stops.

As a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, i3Secure offers a wide range of support for service-leavers and the Armed Forces community, including employees and military spouses. Visit our Careers page to learn more about current opportunities with i3Secure.

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