No matter how long you have been serving in the armed forces, you'll eventually find it’s time to head for Civvy Street. This can be a daunting prospect, not least because you’ll probably still be some way from retirement age and will therefore want to secure a job.
How will you know what you’re good at? Where will you start when it comes to seeking out a new employer, particularly if you’ve been in the military for a long time?
First of all, it’s important to remember that it’s common for armed forces leavers to be unsure where to start or precisely what they want to do with their lives once they’ve hung up their uniform. Facing a whole new career and knowing where your experience will fit in the commercial world is nerve-wracking.
Fortunately, you won’t be left on your own after you’ve become a civilian. Actually, there are a number of different organisations that can help you embark upon a new career and make the most of your transferrable skills.
Let’s take a look at a few to get you started:
The armed forces itself
It might sound obvious, but the military offers a raft of services as part of the Armed Forces Covenant to ensure the military community is not at a disadvantage after rejoining civilian life. This includes career support, starting with the Transition Individual Planning and Personal Development programme that you’ll already have been working on before you were discharged.
Once you’ve left, the Career Transition Partnership established by the Ministry of Defence is another excellent resource for advice, guidance and training.. It has a job-finding service called RightJob to list vacancies for service leavers, and it offers Career Transition Workshops at resettlement centres throughout the UK.
There is also additional help available for skills such as CV writing and interview training that could come in handy out in the wider world.
Security Cleared Jobs
We can offer armed forces leavers help here at SecurityClearedJobs.com, where we host the largest jobs board in the UK catering for vacancies with security clearance. We specialise in matching employers with candidates that have the skills they’re looking for and can provide some of the most exciting careers opportunities around.
Service leavers can also attend our Security Cleared EXPO, a careers fair that travels around Britain to help attendees network with hundreds of hiring managers and potential employers in government departments, security services, defence, utilities, and a host of other sectors.
The Royal British Legion
The Royal British Legion is just one of the charities offering help to ex-service personnel, including a grant for assistance in finding work that could fund a professional licence in the Security Industry Authority, for example.
In addition, it offers a range of training schemes and workshops all aimed at improving success in the civilian jobs market., while its LifeWorks team provides similar support for veterans and hosts a virtual careers fair each February.
The RFEA (Forces Employment Charity)
Partnering with the Royal British Legion but also working independently too is the RFEA. It has a dedicated Ex-Forces Programme to provide advice on careers, job market updates, training and job matching, no matter when you left the military.
It is also the only scheme that can link veterans up with comprehensive employment support based on region - and it even has a dedicated advisor for Gurkhas.
Commercial organisations actively seeking ex-military personnel
Finally, it’s worth remembering that many commercial organisations are more than willing to employ former members of the armed forces because of their transferrable skills, including teamwork, calmness under pressure and problem-solving abilities.
That’s why many now not only provide valuable resources such as taster days, workshops and training packages, but also have their own schemes in place designed to help service leavers make the transition back to civilian work.
For example, Deloitte UK has its Military Transition and Talent Programme, while the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S) and the Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA) both pride themselves in employing those with a military background.
Testing, inspection and certification leader Bureau Veritas actively promotes the recruitment of service leavers, plus it has a transition support programme in place that was developed with the CTP and has won a gold award from the MoD’s Employer Recognition Scheme.
Network Rail is another big ex-services recruiter and boasts an Armed Forces into Rail initiative to help it find and retain new candidates prime for a safety-critical environment.
These are just a few of the places you can look for careers support after leaving the armed forces, but you’re sure to find many more as you start on your journey into the commercial world as a civilian.
Start with the CTP to polish up things like your CV and showcasing your strengths (don’t forget your security clearance status), then try registering on a jobs board like ours here at SecurityClearedJobs.com to link up with prospective employers.
Leaving the forces might be a big leap, but who knows where it might take you - and the career you could begin once you take it.