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Breaking Down Barriers & Unlocking Doors with Higher Education | Craig Smith
Episode 222nd January 2024 • The Circuit Magazine Podcast • BBA Corporate Ltd
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Are Master's degrees designed for your employment prospects or personal fulfilment?

This week, we’re joined by Craig Smith from Minerva Elite Performance, who shares his thoughts on the importance and value of higher education within the security industry.

In this episode, we examine how higher qualifications like Masters or PhDs could potentially differentiate professionals in this field, add value to their careers, and even provide a 'key' to open doors to opportunities.

Craig emphasizes the importance of knowing one's purpose or the 'why' before pursuing higher education and the values of institutional support and engaging subject specialists.

The conversation also touches on the impact of business and management education, and we’ll try to break down some of the perceived 'barriers' around higher education.

  • Tune in to hear this wide-ranging discussion including:
  • The Allure of Tertiary Qualifications for Protectors
  • The Role of Higher Education in Enhancing Employability
  • Is there a Danger of Overqualifying Yourself?
  • How can protectors differentiate between higher education providers?
  • What do all the levels actually mean?

About Craig:

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Minerva Elite Peformance


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The Circuit Magazine is written and produced by volunteers, most of who are operationally active, working full time in the security industry. The magazine is a product of their combined passion and desire to give something back to the industry. By subscribing to the magazine you are helping to keep it going into the future. Find out more >


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The Circuit team is:

  • Jon Moss
  • Shaun West
  • Phelim Rowe
  • Elijah Shaw


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Transcripts

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Welcome to the Circuit Magazine. The number one source of information on protection matters. The industry leading magazine for all security professionals who want to stay ahead of the game.

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about it is that kicking off:

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But today's session, it's not about training per se, it's not about a qualification like a medical qualification per se, it's about higher education. What do you think it is about these tertiary qualifications like Masters or even a Doctorate, a PhD? What is it that sort of is alluring to the Protector?

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And so you start branching out and for those that have an academic mindset or has that or have those aspirations and time. You know, they can really, um, build their credentials and build their bona fides. Uh, and then I think there's different avenues that you could take that. Uh, you know, there's, you know, scholarly pursuits and, and research areas.

But let's, let's be frank about it. You know, some people just like that. You know, some employers just want to see that. And if, uh, if there's five, you know, CVs on my desk and one says he's got a master's, you know, that might make me look a little harder at that particular individual.

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It doesn't get you through the door, it opens the

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I'd really like to hear, uh, today's guest and his thoughts on the

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But higher education is something in a lot of people's mind for a variety of different reasons. Why are we talking about it? What's the problem we're trying to solve?

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when he left the military in:

And when he went up to Loughborough University, he had a conversation with his tutor. My father left school with no GCSEs, no college A levels, no nothing. And he had a conversation with his tutor and said, I'm a little bit nervous about stepping into this academia world. And his tutor said something incredibly poignant that stayed with me for the rest of my life.

And the tutor said to my father, you can adapt into these people's world. Could they adapt into yours? Academia is just a process, don't fear it, you can do this. With the experiences you've got, academia shouldn't be something that should scare you. And that, that, that theme's kind of stuck with me, to be honest with you Phelim, as I've moved on in my career as, you know, education management.

In that The unknowing and the confidence that people have around higher education often becomes a barrier. You know, that concept of building something up as a barrier in your head, but in reality it's not there. Um, and that really is why we're talking about this, because so many security professionals and professionals in general, you know, this is a wide topic.

It's not just related to CPOs and security professionals. It's a wider context than that. Put these barriers in place for themselves around their own academic ability, but they've not really explored it. Um, and that's something that I hope to get out of this podcast, is to kind of The wrong word for it, but possibly debunk some of the concerns and myths around higher education, the value that it can add to someone's career, and offer some advice and guidance that I would give if I was having a conversation with a security professional that was looking to explore this as an opportunity for them.

Well, it's

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I'm very open about this. I didn't get much operational experience because within about four months of being in that role, I got asked to go and run the course at the college that I attended, um, and I ran that for 10 years. So I saw thousands of young people that were moving from that course into security, into the police, into the army and the emergency services.

Once I completed that 10 years, I then went into adult education, where I specialize in teacher training, CMI, leadership and management, human resources, and developing adult learners. And I'll tell you what, Phelim, a very poignant thing happened during that process. I realized that adult learners come with more insecurities and worries than teenagers.

And that topic fascinated me because I myself am dyslexic. I struggle academically. I wouldn't consider myself an academic, um, in any shape, way, or form. What I realized pretty quickly with adult learners is they have to establish their why they're doing it. And then there's two things, and this is the advice I would give to anybody that's thinking about higher education that matter, and it's, it's called AA.

No copyright to the AA, by the way, completely different thing. Academia and application. Out of those two topics, I can tell you that academia is not as important as application. If you can apply yourself to study a higher education qualification, You will get through it by hook or by crook. There is a way through that.

You know, I've worked with lots of professionals that have a high level of academic ability, but they're a little bit lazy, Phelim, to be honest with you, and they lack that application. Now, they're never going to go anywhere with it. What I found was, especially working with a lot of, uh, veterans and military personnel, et cetera, that have been on some of our higher education qualifications at Manoeuvre Relief Performance.

The key thing that I try and get through them is if you can give yourself this title of this is a mission, this is a task, this is something I need to apply myself to, I need to break it down and not be overwhelmed by it, it's achievable. If you put that barrier in your head that I'm not an academic and this is higher education, I can't do this, you're never going to win the race because you didn't sign up.

So it's about taking the time to actually look at it for a different lens and be Humble enough to go, right, I know I'm a little bit out of my depth with this academia style, but you know what? I can do this. Let's just take five minutes, let's think about it, and let's break this up into manageable chunks.

And, you know, I'm very proud to say that here at Minerva League Performance, we've got about 400 people through our Master's Degree MBA pathway now, and, you know, they're 400 people who possibly otherwise wouldn't have had the confidence to do it if they didn't choose the right centre and the right people to support them.

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What beginning should I sort of formulate?

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Um, you know, let's look at FREC, let's look at, you know, CP Top Up, let's look at surveillance qualifications. All those things are absolutely fantastic and create, uh, you know, a more employable security professional. They create a diverse CV and in no way shape or form would I ever advise people not to do those things because they have operational value and maybe the difference between somebody winning a contract and going on team, um, perhaps to not getting in that position.

What I would say though, and this is possibly a controversial statement, but If I've got a thousand people and they've all got the same CVs in terms of their qualifications, what we would call the baseline requirement to be a security professional, then I'm looking at backgrounds, CVs, what's your experience.

Now that plays a massive part in this, so I don't want to kind of give any false illusions that if you get a master's degree, you're going to be far more employable than every other person you ever come across, because that is definitely not the case. However, if I've got those thousand people and the CVs all pretty much look the same in terms of baseline requirement, But someone has a master's degree or a PhD and has invested that time to look at a topic that makes them more employable in a strategic management position, that individual might just go to the top of that pile.

Now, it's not guaranteed, is it? By any means, uh, But what it may give us is a little bit of a short listing process as an employer to look at and go, right, this person's taken the time to think about the role of a security professional from a strategic position, from a management position, looking at the different topics that actually help a contract's life cycle to fruition.

So it might just give those people that little bit of an edge, Phelim, in all honesty.

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Tristan Wheat, who is formulating the IPSB journal for protectors, um, Um, we've had Dr. Samantha Newbery, my actual friend, uh, talking about intelligence studies. One of the things that they've kind of said was an issue or a challenge was doing academic research and then applying that in In reality, I suppose.

And one of the things they came across was a lot of academia is looking at history. So if I do the history of intelligence studies, and I say, Oh, in Northern Ireland, in this date, this thing happened, and this something happened. Cool. Very important. But. application. So I wonder, how can we, how can we describe that bridge, the AA,

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Yeah, that's a fantastic question. Real world application of academic study is something that is often up for debate and controversial is the wrong question, but a healthy conversation in terms of how can we actually utilize the learning in a real world application, what value can it truly add? I'm going to answer that question as a true politician, if you will.

Depends on the qualification you're doing and the centre you're studying with. Um, so when we're looking at higher education, you know, that's such a wide range of a, of a, of a statement to make. There's so many different qualifications out there that can all add value in their own different way. You know, if we're looking at something like, use the terminology, something that's more historical, well Those who don't understand history are doomed to repeat it.

So there's that statement. So understanding where we've been might indicate where we're going. So there may be some real world application there. If I look at something that is very security related, so if we look at something like a strategic management and leadership qualification, like an MBA or something like that, Cardiff Met, one of our other partnering universities here at MEP.

The assignments are written about real world application, about operational conduct, strategic vision. It's about utilising the everyday operational value that we can bring to that particular role and applying that to your study. So it works both ways. I like to think of it as a continuitum, so it's like we're looking at, we're looking at the education impact in operational value, but Alternatively, it's the operational value feeding back to the education.

A lot of our learners will utilize some of the, you know, sanitize, obviously for confidentiality, etc. But we utilize some of the examples and some of the experience they've had within their written assignments to help them understand the academic side of that process. And that's something we actually encourage, because from my experience, It's about finding the tangible links that make it worthwhile.

If you're teaching someone a particular subject, but it has no real world application, it's very hard for them to see the relevance as to why they're doing it and what value it truly adds. But an outstanding education provider will be able to create those links and that synergy between the two, that when people are writing their assignments, They're actually seeing how that could be applied in real world application and vice versa when they're in the real world Experiencing things that they go.

Do you know what? That is change management what we're going through here That is change management. Now if they weren't doing that academic study, they may not understand what is their experience in Have you ever experienced the um, or has anyone ever explained the conscious competence, conscious incompetence kind of model?

No, not really So there's different levels of this. So some people are unconscious incompetence, which means they don't know that they don't know. Then you've got this middle ground where people come conscious incompetent, which means they know how little they know. And then we move up the scale where we have conscious competence, which is the highest level of achievement, if you ask where.

You know what you know, and what higher education should be able to do is create conscious, competent people. So when they're experiencing real life application, they can actually link it to a theory and go right, this is that particular topic happening in real world application. So it just gives them that wider spectrum of understanding of value.

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You know, some unconscious incompetence, people that haven't got a clue and they don't even know they haven't got a clue. They think they're actually winning the race when they're being lapped. And then you move to that sort of higher end where. You know, the best scenario is people are conscious of their incompetence, which means that at least they've got enough knowledge to acknowledge.

that they don't know what they're talking about. And then the ideal scenario is people are all over it. They, they know, they know what they know. And that sometimes is attributed through higher education, not always. And it's important for me to explain that although I'm an education specialist, I also recognize that education moves beyond.

Academic qualifications. Education is life. Education is experience. You know, I've learned as much from experiential learning and just being in the real world than I've ever done through textbooks and PowerPoint presentations and lessons. Um, but what joined those two things up has given me that level of conscious competence where, when I'm having conversations with future learners, I can apply that in a real world application, but also then link it back to the theory.

And I think that's something that's quite empowering for someone.

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But actually this is a A real world application. And for the known knowns, unknown unknowns, and competencies you just described reminds me of some email signatures I used to see. It's very popular. I don't know. Please don't do this at home. Please don't do it. Um, uh, attitudes, not aptitude, determines your altitude, which for me says I might be not very, you know, capable, but I've got a great attitude.

Now, okay, there's something to be said for having a great attitude, but I, I do appreciate where you're coming from on that.

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Now, if I've got a room full of really academic lazy sods, that's a much harder situation to deal with. So, although that statement is necessarily a bit too blanketed, given the circumstance, it's relevant.

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What's the spectrum we're talking about?

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Um, the minute it steps into level 4 or 5, it goes into like higher national diploma, higher national certificates, foundation degree, um, bachelor's degree, and so on. Um, so anything from 4 to sort of like level 7, master's degree up to PhD is what we would call higher education, ultimately.

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And, but the thing is, and we've, we've, we've, we've seen it within our community, you know, in the States and the UK and around the world, there are some operators who, uh, we do applaud anyone getting an another qualification, another string to your bow, but we've seen CVs that are like six pages of mass online MOOC courses and other, other things.

And, you know, you, you add it up in your head and you're like, A lot of money. A lot of money. Is there a danger that some people are far too hungry for the gold star? The certificate? Um, and in place of real world application. Is that a danger?

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And you know, I like a diverse CV, by all means. someone committing to their continued professional development and investing their time and money into. There is a danger of being a little bit of a course hopper, just getting on every single course going because it's niche. And I think, you know, I say this, I hope I don't offend anyone in the security industry, although I work for a company that has a brother, sister company that is a security company.

Um, you know, there is a bit of a danger in the security industry is whatever's niche, whatever's cool, whatever's sexy, there's this new qualification out, let's jump on it. I would always go back to that question and it's such a simple question is what's the why? You know, why do this? What value is it going to actually add?

Let's think further ahead down the field. Now, you know, first of all, you say about a CV that's six pages long. My advice as an employer is never make it more than two sides, please, ladies and gentlemen. Make it nice and easy to read. Um, no one's going to read a six page CV, so there's that. Um, but going to your point, you know, if you've got four of those pages, it's about education qualifications and online courses and things you've jumped onto.

Ask yourself the question, what value does it really add? You know, what's the purpose, what's the why? Um, you know, if it's to illustrate that you invest in yourself, then that's great, that's fantastic. But if it's not going to help you win that contract or make you more employable, then why? Yeah,

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And with another hat. I also have, we sort of advocate for more immersive learning and training and, and, uh, gamified learning and play and all that. Yeah. One of the questions that comes up in that environment is cart before horse. In that, we use the example, I mean, it happened to me. Suddenly one day they said, congratulations, everybody.

We're all going to do Excel macro training on Microsoft Excel. And we all said Well, all of us? And they said, yes, the entire department is going to do macro training. Like, why? In the event that in the future, at some stage, macros become the thing you need to do. None of us retained it, none of us remembered it, and by the time we actually did face a macro It was, you know, cut before the horse.

Isn't there a danger, uh, that we might neglect the skill of, oh dear, I don't know how to do something, I need to find out how, versus, I've got a PhD in XYZ?

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I would say are less employable in some instances than someone who's actually just lived through the problem and figured out the answers on an operational level. You know, and this is something that when we look at higher education, we think that it's not the be all and end alls and a make you have all the answers to all the questions and to answer it in the car before the whole scenario, you know, there is an element of we have to take our time to think about what is the best higher education opportunity for us based on where we are in our career and what's gonna add value and what's gonna take level.

Um. You know, going back to the colleagues and friends I've had in the past, you know, some of the most outstanding teachers that have ever worked for me have come to me, unqualified teachers, but had a whole wealth of experience in their sector, and we've got them to the point where they become dual professionals as educators.

The same thing really applies to close protection operatives and security operatives, I guess, in the fact of You know, you have to have the experience and the skill sets, what that higher education may do if it's applied at the right time in your career. is give you that insight into the next level, to that strategic level of thinking.

Um, so, I do think there is a danger of over qualifying yourself and not living through the problem, essentially. But, you know, why not do both? Why not live through the problem, but also invest in yourself at the same time? But, taking the time to really think about what's going to add value is as important as, you know, the timing is as important as what it's going to be, because You know, I've got other scenarios where I've had people go and upskill themselves and qualify themselves in a, in a scenario or in a topic that they've not immersed themselves in yet.

So it's quite hard to try and establish what value that qualification is going to add. And in that, I would agree with you, but sometimes you need to kind of live through the problem slightly. and then figure out what's the best direction of travel for you after that. Yeah,

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I was, I was kind of thinking of it on the fly, but yes, living through the problem. I suppose that is the, the, the, you know, encapsulated.

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Um, you know, I see them through the business, the other side of the business that we run. You know, and when I've had conversations with some of these operatives, when they've come through the office or when we're on task, et cetera, and I'm having conversations with them, a lot of them have got very, you know, a wealth of experience.

They've got very interesting CVs, lots of what I'd call Gucci jobs that they've done. Um, but they often say the same thing. I want to move into that more management role. I want to move into that more strategic thinking role. I want to start my own business. At that point, that's where you've got to ask yourself, well, how do I get to that next level?

What could I do to invest into myself? And this is specifically where higher education comes in, because that's where you're having that conversation of, right, but now you need to start thinking more strategically and understand that conscious incompetence, that you become consciously competent. Start studying these topics so you can think a bit more strategically and then start adding yourself to be a bit more value to Organizations or start your own company and that and that's a hard conversation to have with someone who's possibly special forces background Lots of experience and lots of really interesting jobs But the reality is you are still in a pool of people who are very similar to yourselves.

Um, and at that point, that's where you've got to kind of explore what could make me different.

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I'm very aware, well, if everyone does it, then you're not different either. So once again, there's that. So, you know, I'm not naive to that, but the reality of it is not everyone will do it, you know, because it takes application commitment and, you know, the confidence to give it a go. Um, but in that it shows me, you know, as an employer that you've taken a risk, you've invested in yourself, um, and the direction of travel then really goes back to that.

And this is a bit of a cop out. I've said it about five times, again, is the why, you know. Why that qualification? What value does it add? So, what are the qualifications that we run here? We run a few higher education qualifications, but I don't want this to be a sales pitch podcast. I want to keep this service user centric about what value it can add, rather than, you know, Minerva Elite Performance selling courses, if you will.

But one of the qualifications we built was that strategic leadership and management qualification with an MBA top up at one of our partner universities because we, we recognize that, you know, you have to look at what, what topic or what subject can add value to a wide field. Now, if you think about something like law, law is an interesting topic, doing a master's degree in law, but it won't apply to every single sector.

There'll be sectors that the fact that you've got an MBA or a master's in law, that's lovely. It doesn't really apply to this field, but it's still great. And it might be the difference if you still get in the role or get an interview, but management and leadership is a skills gap everywhere. There isn't an industry that won't say, yes, we need more stronger and strategic thinking leaders.

Every industry is looking for that as a, an ideal employee, if you will. So we've chosen that as a, as a subject specialism, because we know it can add real value. to people that engage with that product regardless of where you are, whether you're still in the military or the emergency services and you want to go for a promotion or you're transitioning out.

So I'll give you an example. There are certain large multinational corporate organizations that If you want to move into a management role, you must have an academic qualification at a certain level. Now, it doesn't matter what experience you've got, you won't even get an interview if you don't have that.

So the reason we've chosen strategic management leadership is because we think that gives our learners the best opportunity to get through the door. Now, I want to make this very clear. I am not suggesting that if you have a master's degree, you've got the job. That is, that would be a very bold and inappropriate thing to say to your listeners.

What I am saying is, if a HR department have said for this particular role, anyone in shortlisted must have a master's degree, well, if you don't have one, you're not even getting through the door. So, it's just, how I like to oversimplify it is, the master's degree may be the key that you need to get through the door.

Once you're through the door, you've got to sell yourself, but at least you have the opportunity.

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If I did a degree in insurance, doesn't matter. Nobody cares. At least of all insurance. How do I know? that a skill belongs in the world of academia. I mean, would there be a degree in verbal judo that the police are so famed for?

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So there are all sorts of degrees out there. And, you know, it's a bit like supply and demand. Education. This is something that people don't often understand. is a business. If there is a need, supply and demand, someone will create a qualification in it. Um, so, you know, the credibility and the ethos of the education supplier and the centre and the advice they give will give you a strong indication whether or not the advice you're getting is, is valid.

Um, you know, when, going back to your original point, you know, how do we know what sectors require higher education and which ones don't, essentially? You know, research will tell you that, you know, if you, if you're speaking to colleagues and friends and, you know, people that you're aware of that work in those industries, they will give you some indication.

There's a lot of information in the public domain around what sectors require higher education. What I will always say is the subject you study is important. And I do mean this, and I do think it can add values. That's why we've chosen leadership and management, because we think that's quite a generic topic.

Therefore, every sector is going to like it. So let's use your analogy of insurance. Yes, it's very practical. Yes, a degree in insurance might not make a measurable difference. But an MBA in strategic management and leadership, if you work in insurance might make you more suitable for that promotion with Inside It.

Um, so this really comes down to doing your research and When you speak to centres and specialists like myself, the advice you get given will tell you whether they're not I mean, the amount of learners, Phelim, that I've turned away because they've told me they want something. Now, I could upsell them to something that I think would suit us as a business, but that's not what we're about.

You know, I think there's a duty and responsibility, and I always say this to, you know, I teach teachers for a living for a short period of time, and keep your moral compass pointed at the direction the students need to travel, because that should really indicate what advice you give them. Um, so, you know, if I've got someone coming to me saying they want to go in insurance, the first thing I'd be saying is, right, you need to speak to people who work in insurance, find out what qualifications they did that made measurable difference.

However, having an MBA in history isn't going to hurt, it's just whether or not it adds true value. Um, and this goes back to something we were talking about offline earlier about, you know, does the higher education have to be linked to the sector to be impactful? Well, it depends on what metric you're measuring that on.

If it's about career progression and opening doors, then yeah, possibly. However, you know, if I've got someone who's got an MBA in history, but they want to be a security operative, But it still tells me something about them, doesn't it? It still tells me they can study at that level. It still tells me they've invested in themselves.

Yes, I can see that that doesn't necessarily link to that particular industry, but it still tells me something about that individual. So it just depends on what, going back to it again, what's the why?

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Yeah,

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You'd still, and still you probably have it, our European colleagues who are listening, you would have, uh, especially German students in their 32nd semester, they'd literally just keep going and be like, yeah, this semester I'm going to do this, this semester, maybe that. And only when they were ready, they would cash in their chips and say, yeah, now I get my degree.

The PISA process streamlined that all. But it actually gave us all more signposts for, um, doing a diploma, doing a master's, doing a bachelor's, which I think can only be a good thing.

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You know, sometimes education can change the trajectory of where you were going, what you thought it was originally going to lead to, and it takes you on a different path altogether. Um, you know, the exposure of higher education through consultation I've had with some of our learners, that they've started it for Purpose A and it's open Purpose D.

And, you know, and that in itself is still something that they otherwise wouldn't have discovered had they had not taken the chance themselves to explore it. So, you know, it really can. Open a real diverse kind of like range of opportunity if you have the confidence to explore it.

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I don't, I'm not, I'm not, I'm not picking on you because you said you had law enforcement background, but how do they train verbal judo? Is it like day, day five right now? We're learning about verbal judo or, or is it not as wide, widely used as people

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And I, in the last two years, I wasn't really on the front line. I was in education y type stuff. So I'm not really a subject expert in that by any means. So any law enforcement listening to this, I don't claim to be an expert in this field. Um, but you know, verbal judo and the terminology and sort of like all those sorts of different things that we get ourselves involved with.

I think it's largely around culture and how you sort of like establish that through learned behavior. Um, so, you know, there's lots of different things. I remember when I finished my police training, um, day one, week one in the stab vest, turn up at the police station and my mentor police officer said, right now your training starts.

And, you know, that concept of, and this goes back to what you were saying earlier about you can be in the classroom as long as you want, but the real learning takes place on the streets when you're out there. And this is something, tailing back to the purpose of this, this podcast, really, that you will never find a more pragmatic education practitioner than myself that will almost go against my own industry at times and kind of, Allude to the fact of yeah, I believe that there's more learning to be done boots on the street and just kind of like Living through the problems and learning that way What I will always say though is higher education is in the terminology, it's in the name.

It gives you a higher awareness of maybe the, the, the unconscious things that are happening around the problem that you otherwise weren't even aware existed because you've never really looked at it through that lens. Um, so yeah, verbal judo. I don't, I don't pose to be an expert on that in any, in any, I reserve my right to comment too much on that.

That's, that's

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Is it all like Tony Robbins and, uh, self help books when it comes to business leadership or, you know, are there papers, you know, what, what could I read to get a flavor, especially leadership, uh, that, that, that we've

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Um, you know, there's lots of leaders within their industry that have become almost subject specialists in very niche areas of leadership. Um, you know, there's lots of TED talks that are out there. In terms of secondary literature. There's plenty of literature and books that exist around the concept of leadership and strategic leadership and the direction that organizations and the individual can travel.

Um, what I would say though, and this is a bit of a controversial comment really, as an educator, is you can get lost in literature quite quickly and the, the, the narrative. is often guided by the agenda of the author and their idea of, you know, and we're assuming they understand it correctly and that it applies to your industry, you know, cause you may go down the rabbit hole of leadership and management literature and not see the application to the security operative.

You can't really see the tangible links. So what I would say is wider reading of literature is advisable, but have a conversation with someone who works in an organisation that manages leadership and management higher education qualifications. If that's not us, there's plenty of other, you know, organisations out there that can kind of bring some of this learning to life and apply it to you.

What I will say is an outstanding education and training provider will guide you to see the tangible links to your own industry. In these topics, um, so there is secondary literature out there that you can explore, but the best source of information are the subject specialists that work in that field.

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I think you're gonna do your mask. Yeah. See, you can hear I'm, I'm interested now. Yeah. Turn into an interview for the listeners. Um, yeah, I mean, we provide reading lists. We provide lots of resources. Once again though, you know, I've got a team of five associate lecturers who get our learners through this program, and they come from a real varied background from military to security, and some of those are actually my bosses in education, so they've come back to work for me in this, in this context.

Um, you know, they themselves are subject specialists, and they know how to tailor education to the individual, and this is something that's a topic which a wider understanding on a baseline level is. Incredibly important, but you've got to figure out how it translates to you and your own experiences. And this links back to something you said earlier around, you know, working through the problem, seeing the relevance in real world application.

You know, an outstanding education provider like ourselves will have staff on hand that help guide the learner to see those, those links to their own real world application, the experience they've had before. And, you know, when we've worked with, especially the military and the armed forces, when they're transitioning out and they do our master's degree, they'll say to us, I've never been involved in a situation that's required change management.

What do you mean? And you're like, how many tours of Afghan have you done? How many tours of Iraq did you do? What jobs have you done? And you're like, There's change management throughout that. You just don't know. It goes back to that unconscious incompetency. And this is where an outstanding education provider will help guide learners to understand those tangible links.

Um, so yeah, I think that, you know, there are reading lists and things that can be provided. And yes, there are directions that we can give individuals to explore further learning. But a lot of leadership and management, especially on the operational level, you'd be amazed how much you already know, you just don't know you know it.

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Yeah, I mean,

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And hopefully what it's done is it's allowed them to understand that, you know, figure out what your why is, figure out what's the topic you want to look at, what value can it add. And if you figured that out, be brave. You know, academia is not as important as application. If you can apply yourself to it, if you figure out what value it's going to add, explore it, be brave enough to explore it.

Because, you know, there are organizations out there that are a lot more supportive than others. That's one thing to mention. You know, some higher education establishments can be very cutthroat, very, um, what's the right word to use? Old hat's the wrong word, because I think we need to maintain values in education.

But, for example, you miss that deadline, you're off the course, you've wasted your money. For example, there are other organizations like ourselves that we look at education on the individual level rather than on a cohort level. So it's like, right. You know, Phelim comes on our course. Well, let's agree deadlines.

When are these assignments coming in? You know, what topics do them on? If you can't meet a deadline, let's communicate. Let's look at how we can manage this going forwards. Now, we're not the only organization out there that do that for transparency. You know, there are a lot of subject experts and great organizations out there, but we are one of them.

So, it's about Asking people to consider, if the barriers they've originally put up in their head around a higher education don't exist, what does it look like for them?

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So, you know, they don't possibly have academic writing skills, which in itself is a skill set. So, Whose responsibility is that? Well, it's a shared responsibility, isn't it? If we're going to put someone on a qualification and we're going to take a chance on them and we're going to support them, then we have to make sure we support them, and that includes academic writing.

So, but once again, there are other organizations that, well, that's the service user's problem. They shouldn't have signed up for it. Well, I think, I don't know if I, I do agree with that. If it's the context and if it's the type of topic and it's the type of organization, but we're the type of organization that our whole ethos is learning is for everybody.

So if you're someone who's come out of education and you haven't got that higher education experience, well, that's a shared responsibility to support them to the point that they're able to study at that level. And if we take you on our program, we are taking on that responsibility and saying that we will share responsibility of getting you to the finish line.

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And then there's people that have got lots to say, but just don't know how to put it down on paper. Now, that's an easier problem to fix.

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So as I said before, our sister company, Minerva Elite, which is Ultra High Net Worth, Closed Protection, Security Organization. We're the, we're the, I don't like to use this terminology because it's too military, but we're the training wing, if you will. Um, but you know, we're not training, we're education and consultancy and looking at sort of like developing B2B relationships and the individual through higher education.

So in terms of what's next for us is reach as many service users who otherwise wouldn't have the confidence to explore these opportunities. You know, yes, we're a business, and yes, we need profit margins, yes, we need to make profit, etc. But, you know, we're a veteran owned company. Every single person who works in this organization is either a veteran, a spouse of a veteran, or emergency services.

So, for us, our why is to give back to the security and the armed forces community and open doors for them that they otherwise thought would never open. Um, and just You know, exploring opportunities to, to give you all confidence to, to, to, to delve into this world because, you know, from my experience, it's achievable.

People just don't think it is. So in terms of what's next for me. I suppose it's a little bit cringe, but continue the good fight.

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A much looked at topic, and We need to give people a helping hand on occasion. So, thank you very much, Craig. This has been another fantastic edition of the Circuit Magazine podcast.

Well, thank you very much, Craig, and, uh, lovely to have, uh, Minerva Elite on to talk about higher education. Uh, Elijah, do you think higher education Can open the door. What are your sort of impressions?

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This was more like. The reality of it is if this is if higher education speaks to you and you can pursue that and use that to to kind of, again, separate yourself from the pack, great. However, there's some things we just won't be relevant to this part of our industry. at this particular time because, uh, it's not the thing that necessarily our industry, um, uh, uses as the building blocks for, for advancement and growth.

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Are there any practical masters that would be like, ah, yes, absolutely. I mean, Craig mentioned business and management. Um, what, what are your thoughts on those areas?

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And so anything that's going to give you a deeper understanding of that, um, or some advanced levels in in those areas there, I think benefits you. So, um, I go back to saying again, if you have the investment of the time and the resources. and you were going to pursue higher education, if it's something that's practical, something that you can take and apply, uh, we talked about, you know, that, that window maybe shrinks in, in our industry, but something like business is, I think, applicable and could, uh, you could use that and, and and separate yourself, your company, your agency, or bring more value to another's company or agency, uh, having those additional, you know, gems and jewels

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Love that, yeah, because a master's in war studies, yeah, allows you to reflect on your time in the military, time in the services, but it's more for you. It's more for you. Um, I don't know if and Masters in War Studies from King's will give you that extra job. It might say, okay, you've got analytical skills, but I like

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What about that? Ah,

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I think we did 72, uh, over, uh, two years. And I'm not talking just like Yo, yo, rock up to my webinar, type of thing. Right. No, yours are official. Yeah, so, yeah. But, but, but, but, you know, the community, you the community, you the listener, really have made it, uh, possible. Because if, if you weren't contributing, it wouldn't, wouldn't work.

But yeah, thank you for that shout out, Elijah. No, no, that's impressive. What about, what about for you? Have you got any more courses coming up? I saw you towards the end of last year, very busy. Yeah, we

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e teaching. Uh, however, this:

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Yet, still massive questions of how and why you're doing what you're doing, but as long as you know, I think you can't go too wrong. Is it for yourself? Is it for employment? Is it for something else? As long as you know. So. Thank you very much from my Elijah and myself. This has been a fantastic edition of the Circuit Magazine podcast.

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