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From RAF to Ropes: a Military Transition Story

Former military man, Chris Duffy has swapped training military parachuting in the RAF for a new job in the ropes industry with AIS Survivex helping his career transition.

36-year-old Chris from Manchester started his working life as an outdoor sports instructor, teaching everything from climbing to various water sports along with mountaineering. Chris transitioned into the military after spending nine years teaching parachuting to special forces personnel.

Chris’s military career took him all over the world from Afghanistan to South Africa, USA, and across Europe and the Middle East.  He was also selected for and served operationally in Afghanistan within a specialist human intelligence unit on a two-year detachment from his parachuting duties.

After 14 years of service, Chris left the RAF in April 2022 and successfully secured a job as sales manager with English Braids – a specialist rope company selling everything from commercial shipping ropes, winching and lifting ropes and slings, Grade A rope access products and ropes for the MOD and defence, all of which are made in the UK.

The rope access industry is a key market for Chris and, in order to increase his knowledge of the sector, he used his RAF resettlement funding to train for an IRATA Rope Access qualification with AIS Survivex.

Chris said:

“Having spent my entire career working with ropes of one kind or another, I was delighted to scoop a job with English Braids. To add to my skillset and increase my knowledge of the rope access sector, I approached my learning supervisor in the air-force to see what training I could access. He recommended AIS Survivex as an approved ELCAS-training provider and I was able to use the ELCAS scheme to fund my training.

“The set up at AIS Survivex is really good. The instructors all clearly know their stuff inside-out and have a very relaxed and professional approach. This creates a good atmosphere for learning and reminds me of the way we approach the delivery of risk to life training in the military. The facilities at AIS Survivex are also excellent and the food is top notch!  As a former military instructor, I know outstanding training and AIS Survivex certainly has it!

“During my training I built up a great relationship with the team at AIS Survivex. So much so that the company is now purchasing ropes off English Braids for some bespoke projects.

“I couldn’t recommend AIS Survivex highly enough. Great team. Great facilities. Great training. And now great clients!”