Preparing to Leave the Armed Forces | Andy's Ten Step Guide
As a veteran of The 3rd Battalion, The Yorkshire Regiment and Morson ex-forces ambassador, Andy Reid knows first-hand how difficult it can be to transition from the armed forces into a normal, civilian life.
Ex-forces personnel have a lot to offer in the civilian world, often in ways that they won’t immediately realise. Therefore, Andy’s aim is to bridge the gap between these two worlds and from his own experiences, offer some help to veterans as they look to transition into new careers.
He shares some of his top tips for preparing to leave the armed forces which will help you take those first steps into your new life:
ANDY’S TEN STEP GUIDE
- Prepare in advance. The key to getting the best start to your new civilian life is to plan early – the earlier, the better. Don’t leave anything until the last few months. It’s not just a new start for you, it’s a new start for your family, too.
- Living arrangements. Think about where you are going to live. What is the housing like in the area? What are employment opportunities like in the area? Is there a provision for veterans? There are organisations out there that prioritise veterans for rentals and shared ownership housing. Step Forward Homes is a great resource www.stepforwardhomes.com.
- Get online. There are a lot of employers who recruit for key personnel through the networking platform, LinkedIn, so be sure to create a profile and document your experience. The best part about it is that’s free, and your online CV will be viewable by anyone. It’s also key to try and ‘translate’ your military experience into civilian terms, so potential employers can see what you might be able to offer.
- Have an open mind. Don’t just think security is the only option. For example, I’ve been helping Morson place ex-forces candidates in the rail and aerospace sectors based on the experience they already have in the military. Time served gives candidates valuable skills in teamwork, strategy and work ethic. Many employers recognise this and will be prepared to upskill you in the technical elements of the role.
- Be diligent. Make sure you get everything you are entitled to, like job-hunting leave and travel expenses. Also, most importantly, take part in the career transition workshop course. If nothing else, it will get your CV in order.
- Communicate. Speak to friends who are already out of the armed forces and get as much advice from them as possible by people who have already been through the process or are currently going through it.
- Network. Network. Networking on Civvy Street is key. Don’t be afraid to do a job that might not be part of your long-term plan, you can gain contacts and experience that will set you in good stead for the future.
- Attend events. Go to as many recruitment and jobs fairs as possible. Speak to people on the stands and other delegates, their insight can be invaluable. Morson regularly attends CTP and BFRS job fairs and help hundreds of ex-forces personnel each year.
- Train up. Consider doing a night course or online course if you have an idea of what you might want to do but lack the necessary technical skills. There are many free courses and events which can upskill you, keep an eye on Eventbrite www.eventbrite.com to find business events in your area.
- Think about the future. Don’t forget to make sure you have your pension in order. Think hard about the options that are presented to you and consider which would be best for you. Also, don’t forget your pension is taxable.