The UK armed forces had just under 159,000 full-time servicemen and women in April 2021 – most of which were within the Army (56%) and the rest being equally split between the Royal Navy, Marines and the RAF. Even if being in the armed forces was your only aspiration, there comes a time that this career will end and service personnel will have to return to civilian life – this could be due to coming to the end of your formal agreement, change in family circumstances, or even personal health reasons. According to the mental health foundation, 20,000 personnel leave the forces each year.
For many, leaving the armed forces can be as scary as joining! Returning to civilisation can be extremely overwhelming, especially for those who have spent the majority of their adult lives serving the country. The most common mental health problems for ex-service personnel are depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse – all of which can make it even more difficult to go back to ‘normal’ life.
Finding a new career
An important aspect of transitioning into civilian life is finding work – this can be a scary concept for those leaving the armed forces. Finding a job can be difficult for ex-personnel – many may feel like they haven’t got the required skills for a job or haven’t had enough experience writing CV’s and doing job interviews. It can also be hard to decide what career they would like – there are many options out there, and if being in the armed forces is the only job they knew they wanted, choosing a new career can be difficult.
It’s easy for people to doubt themselves and not realise the skills they have – those who have served in the armed forces will naturally have many existing skills that are easily transferable to a wide range of jobs! Some of the transferable skills that all ex-personnel will have include:
- The ability to work under pressure (you don’t get any more pressure than serving the country!)
- Communication skills
- Leadership skills
- Teamwork skills
- Able to be flexible
As well as these general skills, depending on your position in the armed forces and what jobs you carried out, you might have other existing skills that are sought in certain roles. For example, if you worked as an engineer, you will probably already have the skills required to enter a career in engineering or electrical – you may only need to gain official qualifications or experience!
Doing a resettlement course
There are a range of schemes out there to support armed forces returning to ‘civvy street’ including support for housing, mental health, employment and more.
There are many resettlement courses in the UK that are designed to help ex-military with their career transition, preparing them for a world of work. These courses help them to improve their skills, gain new ones, and provide recognised qualifications.
There is also resettlement aid out there which can help with CV and interview skills.
One of the most popular schemes in the UK is the Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELCAS) by the Ministry of Defence – this scheme promotes lifelong learning to members of the armed forces. Those who sign up for this scheme can receive financial support towards higher-level learning – those who sign up are provided with ‘credits’ which can be used towards courses via approved training providers, allowing them to train in their chosen field and gain qualifications needed to begin their career.
Many companies are approved to offer resettlement courses via the ELCAS scheme, Technique Learning Solutions Ltd. being one of them! We are an approved learning provider for the Ministry Of Defence ELCAS scheme and can accept enhanced learning credits from service personnel for several level three courses.
Joining the trades industry
The trades industry is a great path to go down as many sectors are in demand, bringing job security – many of the transferable skills mentioned above are sought after in this industry. Below are some specific industries which could bring great careers…
Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
Becoming a refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) engineer is a good career option – RAC engineers design, install and maintain cooling systems in different buildings such as offices, schools, processing plants, supermarkets and more. Both air conditioning and refrigeration are always needed in a range of different properties and industries, this job will always be required. Many companies will employ an in-house RAC engineer, to save outsourcing. The average salary for this work can be up to £33,000 – this can be higher depending on the area and experience.
Entering the electrical industry is without a doubt a popular choice for all – there are a range of benefits to working in this industry, as well as many different career paths such as becoming a domestic electrician, industrial electrician, commercial electrician or all three! This industry is ever-changing and there is always a demand for electrical workers, all over the world. The average salary for electricians in the UK in 2020 was just under £34,000 – some electricians can make up to £51,000 depending on their location, qualifications and experience.
Programmable Logic Controllers
This industry is also a great option for ex-personnel. Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) are a method of controlling, measuring and carrying out tasks in complex manufacturing and industrial applications, they are an important part of these industries as they keep things running smoothly. PLC programmers are responsible for the design of control programs, the maintenance and fixing any faults. The average salary for a PLC programmer is £42,500.
The above industries go hand in hand with one another – you could start as an air conditioning and refrigeration engineer where you will gain skills that can help you progress into the electrical industry and then the PLC industry.
Some popular course bundles which many resettlement candidates have done with Technique Learning Solutions include…
- PLC 10 + 18th Edition Wiring Regulations (City & Guilds 2382-18) = PLC 13
- PLC 10 + Inspection and Testing (City & Guilds 2391-52) = PLC 15
- PLC 10 + 18th Edition Wiring Regulations (2382-18) + Inspection and Testing (2391-52) = PLC 18
- 18th Edition Wiring Regulations (2382-18) + Inspection and Testing (2391-52) + Building Regulations (2393-10) = Electrical Installer Gold
- Total Industrial Electrical Maintenance 10 + 18th Edition Wiring Regulations = Total Industrial Electrical Maintenance 13
- Total Industrial Electrical Maintenance 10 + PLC 10 = Total Industrial Electrical Maintenance 20
The ELCAS scheme and resettlement courses provide great opportunities for those who have left the armed forces to gain training and qualifications, allowing them to find a job and have a smoother transition to civilian life. The above industries are just a few which ex-personnel can enter and begin a great career.