From the Forces to Civvy Street...
As a Service leaver, you should already be aware of the vast array of transferable skills you possess. But very few of the 20,000+ people who leave the Armed Forces each year don't feel apprehensive at the prospect of starting a new life. Regardless of how you view the future, there is much you can do to make the transition a positive one!
One point to bear in mind is that many of the systems, processes, skills and experience used in civilian organisations are exactly the same as in the Forces. There will be some very noticeable changes of course. One of the most noticeable changes will be the difference of environment. For example, women make up 8 per cent of the Armed Forces workforce but 50 per cent of the civilian one. Certain attitudes exist in the Armed Forces toward civilian ways of life, particularly how civvies are regarded as having a much easier life than those serving. The truth is, many civilians would find the benefits of Service life very attractive. Free clothing, grants, qualifications, recreational facilities, generous leave and time-off allowances, medical and dental care are just some of the benefits you have been used to. Clearly the benefits must not overshadow the genuine hardships of the Services but it is important that you recognise that your Services experience will be met with much respect from many people with whom you have yet to meet.
One of these people is your future employer. Remember this: employers always look for people who have worked to increase their level of skills. They look for people who bring fresh, unique insights to the workplace; people who have had management experience or those who, with some training, could be future managers. They look for people who make things happen. You can therefore see why employers are therefore receptive to meeting people with a military background.
Clearly not everyone with a military background can consider themselves sought-after. YOU know better than anyone what skills and experiences you bring to an organisation. Employers want your skills but only to a point. A perception does exist among some employers that Forces people need more help to settle in than civilians. Forces people require more attention and often are unable to think for themselves. This is not an across-the-board statement and is untrue. Whilst it is true that rank is not regarded as being nearly as important to civvies as it is to those serving, ranks within civilian organisations do exist. However, they are less structured than those of the military. You will have to do more thinking for yourself when you leave, but it won't require you having to get used to totally different ways of thinking. What will be required is more of a "think for yourself" attitude. When you were serving, people's lives could have been affected by decisions you or your COs might have made. Teamwork was essential for anything that required doing. Civilian life is not so pressurised and whilst teamwork is encouraged, it is usually on a very different level.
If finding employment upon leaving the Forces is important to you, contact us to discuss what you want - or don't want. FRS understands the resettlement system, can advise on resettlement courses and would be happy to help to make your transition to civilian life a smooth one!