Civvy street — 3 employment tips for life after the forces


Returning to civilian life after serving in the forces can feel like a rocky road.

A recent report by UK Armed Forces charity SSAFA revealed some startling stats —  81 per cent of those questioned felt that US veterans were more respected than their counterparts in Britain, 67 per cent thought there was less respect for UK veterans when the military wasn’t in conflict and 62 per cent believed they were undervalued by society.

And unfortunately, 70 per cent of respondents said employers didn’t properly value their skills, with some even omitting military service from their CVs.

A decent civilian job doesn’t mitigate against all of the negativity described above. But it’s a solid start and there’s more help available than you might imagine for those struggling to find work.

If you’re navigating civvy street, here are three employment tips for post-military life.

  1. Help for Heroes

Help for Heroes is one of Britain’s most recognisable military charities and does sterling work up and down the country supporting ex-forces personnel and their families.

Applying for a grant from Help for Heroes can help you quickly source funds to pursue a vocational course, travel to an interview or even purchase a laptop to scour the internet for suitable positions.

Their Quick Reaction Fund can also provide support within 72 hours of requests for assistance with housing adaptations for injured veterans, therapeutic and sports kit, white goods and debt repayments.

Because the organisation is so well connected, it’s able to provide you with the precise support you need at the right time — meaning there’s less chance you’ll miss out on a dream job or application deadline.

  1. Network Rail

If you’re submitting your CV to Network Rail, rather than miss out your military service, move it to the top of the page.

This is one employer with a long history of providing veterans with worthwhile employment opportunities — it was awarded the Ministry of Defence Employer’s Recognition Scheme Gold award in 2017 and has been a British Armed Forces Military Covenant signatory since 2015.

It’s refreshing to find an organisation that recognises the transferrable value of military discipline, teamwork, leadership, drive and resilience under extreme pressure.

And they collaborate with the Officers Association and Career transition Partnership to ensure candidates moving into their roles receive all of the support that’s necessary.

  1. Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning

When you’re struggling to find a job that’s fulfilling and provides a decent salary, earning a formal qualification can help you get a foot in the door in a new sector or be first in line for a promotion.

And if entering full-time campus based education isn’t practical, studying online with Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning might provide a practical solution.

This university offers bespoke courses such as a military veteran and family studies masters, as well as unrelated qualifications in everything from digital marketing to football coaching.

So there’s something for everyone, and it’s easy to fit studying flexibly round work and family commitments.

These three employment tips for life after the forces won’t guarantee that you’ll find your dream job — but they might provide the boost you deserve to find a satisfying second career and build a more balanced life.

How did you transition to civvy street? Share your tips in the comments section.

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