This time last year, Richard Mead was in the Royal Navy and serving as an electronic warfare specialist on board the HMS Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier. Things have changed.
It was exciting work in the military and part of an operational deployment to the Far East, sailing through potentially hostile environments in the Eastern Mediterranean and South China Sea.
But after seven years in the armed forces, the able seaman wanted to improve his work-life balance and decided to pursue a career in the tech sector. He chose EyUp, the award-winning Yorkshire tech skills academy, and after graduating as part of the second cohort has landed a job at data software company WANdisco as a tech support engineer.
Richard, 32, said: “I joined the Royal Navy because I wanted to travel the world and I certainly did that. I also learned how to adapt to different circumstances, going from exercises to real-world situations and being able to switch it up and get into that frame of mind. You have to be flexible, disciplined and able to work as part of a team.
“Having been away in the navy for most of my 20s, I wanted a change and thought tech would be perfect for me. The industry is ever growing, everything depends on it and I want to be a part of its evolution. During the pandemic, it was brilliant to see how the majority of companies were still able to operate thanks to technology.
“I looked at numerous other bootcamps around the North and EyUp caught my eye. The curriculum was packed full of the technologies I wanted to learn, the reviews were great and the Sheffield location was perfect. The investment was totally worth it. The communications from day one were fantastic. That professionalism and level of care continued throughout the course.”
Richard, who is originally from Chesterfield, left school at 18 and worked as a store manager at a Lidl supermarket before signing up for the navy. His last deployment was in 2021 with the Carrier Strike Group, on board the largest and most powerful vessel ever built for the Royal Navy and sharing a cabin with seven other crewmen.
Richard plans to spend the rest of his career in the tech sector and rise up through the ranks. He said: “For me, it is all about work-life balance. Tech allows you to work remotely and WANdisco offers a four-day working week as well as unlimited holiday time. If anyone is thinking about a career change and wants to join the tech sector, I would definitely recommend EyUp.”
EyUp founder David Richards, the co-founder, CEO and chairman of WANdisco plc, said: “We launched EyUp to change lives and are attracting recruits from all sorts of different backgrounds including charity fundraising, construction, online retail, bartending, the police force and now the Royal Navy. We congratulate Rich on graduating from EyUp and joining our team at WANdisco where he will have plenty of opportunities to develop and grow.”
EyUp is recruiting for its third cohort to start in September 2022. A limited number of places are available, including two places funded by a bursary scheme for people from disadvantaged backgrounds or who are under-represented in the tech sector. EyUp offers a money-back pledge for any graduates who complete the course and fail to land a tech job within six months. Every one of the first cohort has found work and 60 per cent of the second cohort secured jobs on graduation in June.