Gurkhas offered IT assault course

The army is training up to 1,000 servicemen from the Royal Gurkha Rifles in PC configuration, repair and networking skills as...

The army is training up to 1,000 servicemen from the Royal Gurkha Rifles in PC configuration, repair and networking skills as they prepare for civilian life.

Under a new scheme, the Gurkhas are being offered training in IT skills to iPRO level 3, a qualification which is widely recognised by employers across Europe and in the US.

The programme will supply a steady stream of qualified staff in an area where demand for skilled people among employers is growing throughout Europe, army trainers believe.

The programme comes as the government faces growing pressure to give Gurkhas the option of UK citizenship after they complete their 15 years' service in the British Army.

Under the army's newly introduced Enhanced Learning Credits scheme, the Gurkhas will combine two weeks' intensive classroom training with two years of e-learning and self study to gain the qualification.

The training is provided by Blackpool-based Evolution Technologies, a company run by ex-service men.

"They will be able to go straight into an IT role, whether that is building, configuring systems or basic network testing. There is a massive shortage of skilled IT professionals in this area," said John Davis, managing director of Evolution.

"After 15 years' service living in the West, they don't know very much about Nepal. Most guys do not want to go back and try to get back into the UK by any means," he added.

The scheme, which is worth up to £1,000 a year for three years, also pays for a PC for each Gurkha to allow them to practice their skills.

In addition to the iPRO qualification, Gurkhas also receive the widely recognised A+ technician certificate and the Network+ networking certificate.

Warrant officer Thakali, one of the students on the course, said, "The ELC grant has enabled me to pursue IT training and provide me with essential skills and excellent employment opportunities for when I leave the British armed forces."

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