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Next steps for armed forces personnel will be crucial

imagesSome 8,000 British soldiers are set to be handed redundancy notices in early 2013 in a final wave of job cuts as part of government’s Army 2020 restructuring plans. Last year it was announced that 23 army units would be cut or merged as part of plans to reduce numbers of regular troops by 2020.

The issue of training for former army personnel settling into civilian life will be an extremely important one. A career change can be stressful at the best of times, but for someone leaving the army it means having to adopt a different attitude towards work and the workplace.

Such a life-changing experience is difficult and it is perfectly normal to feel apprehensive and nervous. Switching to a civilian lifestyle is a difficult transition, especially for ex-personnel who will lose many benefits that they have grown accustomed to in army life, such as free clothing, recreational facilities, generous leave, private medical and dental care, etc.

To help them through this difficult transition the army provides the services of a resettlement officer who discusses their options with them before they leave, but it is ultimately up to the individual to explore their options and decide on the right career path.

At Career Change Wales, we help them to think about what type of job they are hoping to find, based not only on their wants but their needs as well. Are they looking for a full-time or part-time job? Returning to the workforce after being in the Service can be stressful and perhaps that will factor into their decision to apply for part-time positions, or perhaps they want to be able to spend some time with their family after being apart from them.

Sometimes jumping into a new career to quickly may end up being too overwhelming and may hinder chances of success. “But the fact is that a search for a new job should be undertaken with confidence as ex-servicemen are in demand by employers in Wales due to their strong work-ethic and the number of transferable skills they have picked up or been taught while doing their service.

Just look at their ability to work well in a team and communicate effectively. This, combined with the ability to take orders and follow instructions, make them an attractive candidate for many positions.

Initiative and the ability to think and react quickly will make them stand out as possible supervisors or managers, especially if they were responsible for leading others while in the Service. These skills, while being applied in a very different manner, are what will guarantee them success in their hunt for a new job after leaving the Forces.

Depending on what their position was in the Forces, they may have a very specific set of skills. While expert SCUBA diving may qualify them to take tourists out to look at tropical fish on a holiday resort, others may decide to retrain for a new career.

This is an excellent opportunity to work towards a formal qualification in something that interests them. At CCW, we don’t ignore all the training that they received while in the Services, but instead think about how they can build upon it and complement it with additional training that will help them choose then find the job of their dreams.

Finding a job is a difficult and stressful situation, but if you approach it systematically by using all the resources that are available to you, you are bound to be successful.

Leaving the Forces should be seen as a chance for a fresh start. The transferable skills that have been developed in the Service will make leavers a prime candidate for a multitude of positions and by dedicating some time to additional training, you may end up in a completely different career. Your options are endless and approaching the task of looking for a new job after the Forces with a positive attitude is the best way to ensure success.

CCW are an official Service Provider to the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), which is the Ministry of Defence working with Right Management. Service leavers of all ranks from the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Marines, can all benefit from resettlement support, career transition advice and training opportunities offered through CPT. They have been the official provider of Armed Force re-settlement services since 1998.

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