We recently caught up with Scott Stephens, an ex-Army Officer who came through WithYouWithMe’s Robotic Process Automation (RPA) Course and is now an Automation Consultant at Synergy Group in Canberra.

Congratulations on the new role, can you tell us a bit about your military career?

I joined the Army in 2004, attending ADFA and graduating from the Royal Military College Duntroon in 2007. I became an Ordnance Officer, specialising in Parachute Rigging, training in the USA and Canada for various parachute skills up to Military Free Fall. I completed a return tenure to the Royal Military College as an instructor. I deployed to Operation SLIPPER in the final days of Australia’s commitment to that operation. I was later a Global Logistics Planner which saw me undertake planning for Australia’s deployment to Operation OKRA in Iraq as well as a range of interesting consular planning in the middle east and Indian sub-continent. I was also privileged to command Australia’s Federation Guard as my final posting tenure. During this time I commanded the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo and conducted ceremonial activities around the world.

How did you find and secure your new civilian career? 

I came to WithYouWithMe having recently transitioned from Defence into a new career in a Learning Development role. Whilst I was likely to be comfortable and successful in this role due to my experience in the ADF, WithYouWithMe was able to identify new strengths that I did not know that I had and match me to an emerging industry that I had never considered. They were able to provide opportunities and training that I would not have otherwise had access to. For breaking into a new field, both for me and the wider digital industry, they really paved the way!

What do you think the future holds for your industry? 

RPA is in many ways the “thin end of the wedge” for digital innovation. When people see the immediate, enormous workplace benefits RPA can offer, the appetite for wider innovative digital solutions will be ravenous. RPA tools have reached a level of maturity that allow educated developers with no programming language experience to build great robots. I suspect a similar level of accessibility will be achieved for the more advanced digital innovations like Machine Learning and true Artificial Intelligence. When these capabilities reach commercial maturity it will be the RPA teams who will be best positioned to understand and implement them.

What are you excited about in your new role? 

I have always had an interest in solving problems and implementing solutions so working in the consulting industry was always on the cards for me. In this career pathway, I have the opportunity to apply my consulting skill-set in a technical capacity. I have the opportunity to learn something new, be at the forefront of technological innovation and build and lead my own team on this frontier.

What obstacles did you come up against along the way, how did you navigate them?

In terms of the training, the content was well outside my comfort zone, despite having studied Arts, Sciences, Education and Business before. Whilst this made it challenging, the RPA training itself is well supported, in that if any road blocks were found along the way, support was always at hand to work through tough concepts and lock it down. In the end, it was very rewarding to finish the course and demonstrate my new abilities at my workplace.

What new skills did you have to learn? 

Digital work is a new way of thinking and problem solving for me. It is a really interesting blend of highly specific, detail-driven requirements, combined with multiple avenues of creative problem solving to achieve a solution. The RPA Course at WithYouWithMe helped to develop and refine these skills.

What advice would you give to someone in the same position that you were in? 

Veteran transitions are not charity cases. Media portrayals of ‘broken diggers’ who need a charitable action to right themselves in the civilian workforce don’t fully represent the transitioning veteran community. WithYouWithMe is taking a better approach – filling in the experiences gaps of navigating industry and giving us the in-demand skills to make us job-ready and highly competitive.

What are your final thoughts having been through the career transition process with WithYouWithMe?

Getting involved with WithYouWithMe was really straightforward, that’s what you want: simple and not an impediment to the process. But it is the selection and interview process where WithYouWithMe really shines through. They broached first contact with the company on my behalf and encouraged us forward to the interview stage. For someone unfamiliar with interviewing, being able to give an idea of what is coming so as not to be taken by surprise when you are in the room is important. Finally, I would say that WithYouWithMe felt like a real support network that helps and mentors veterans towards a new industry and employer of choice.

WithYouWithMe (WYWM) provides free training for veterans and is an Authorised Training Partner of Blue Prism, the largest Robotics Process Automation (RPA) software vendor in the world. Completing the WYWM RPA Course prepares candidates for the Blue Prism Developer Accreditation Exam – an internationally recognised qualification, and 100% of our candidates have passed on their first attempt!

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