Colin Faires

Staff Assistant within the Ministerial Advisory Division, NATO Mission Iraq

I studied GCSE Maths, GCEs and ASs in Business Studies and Information and Communication Technology and AS Design & Technology: Product Design at Collyer’s from 2001-2003.

My time at Collyer’s was very enjoyable. Everyone was extremely helpful when it came to making an informed choice on what courses to take. As I already had in mind what job I would like to do after attending Collyer’s I was able to select courses that would help me in the future and subjects that I enjoyed studying. I enjoyed the social aspect, and I am still in contact with a lot of friends I made during my time there.

After leaving Collyer’s I joined the British Army and I am still there today as a staff assistant with the Ministerial Advisory Division, NATO Mission Iraq. While in the Army I have also undertaken a Level 5 qualification in Effective Coaching and Mentoring and studied for my FIAB and I am therefore a Fellow at the International Association of Bookkeepers.

Most of my day is filled with dealing with administrative matters and liaising with Advisors from many different NATO counties. I also coordinate in country movements so that the Advisors can conduct meetings with their Iraqi counterparts. During the day I would take part in physical training to keep myself fit and robust.

I make a difference in all aspects of my work, even if it is spending time with an individual to explain a section of policy that they either have not understood or were not aware of, to ensure they have all the knowledge they need to be able to successful complete their tasks and assignments. It might be an extra 5 minutes of my time to explain it, but that time could be especially important to the other person.

I love my work as I get to travel to and work in parts of the world that few people can say they have. To fulfil my role, you need to be organised and have a keen eye for detail. Being a good communicator helps especially in a multinational setting where English might not be everyone is first language.

For someone looking to get into a similar job I would say do your research about all the roles that are available as you would be surprised by how many there are, and the different skill sets you can use in them. I have learnt that success always comes from demanding work, so if you want something you need to work for it.

I have also produced a short film entitled ‘Beyond’ and the winner of two New York Festival Awards for writing on ‘Damn the Torpedoes!’ a sketch show based on military themes taking a comic slant on life for UK Forces and their families around the world.

What next Colin? I see myself doing the same job but in a different country. In the not-so-distant future I would like to oversee my own Administration department.