British Forces Resettlement Services

Recent Blog Posts

Date Posted: Monday, 16 October 2017 @ 11:55

Be part of a fun campaign this festive season to ensure our wounded ex-servicemen and women don’t spend another Christmas apart from their loved ones.

  • Military charity Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) supported 1,180 ex-servicemen and women in 2016, an increase of 97% on the previous year.
  • WWTW hoping to raise vital funds this Christmas for our wounded ex-servicemen and women.
  • Those who sign up to the Christmas appeal will be supporting our wounded as well as reducing their own risk of developing depression and anxiety.

Military charity Walking With The Wounded (WWTW) is estimating it will treble the number of ex-servicemen and women it supports in 2018, following a 97% increase last year to more than 1,000. With Christmas fast approaching, for many a time of financial pressure and loneliness, more ex-service personnel than ever require support. “This time last year I was living in the woods. Thanks to WWTW, this Christmas I am in a job and have a roof over my head”, says Richard, who served 4 years as a Trooper in the 13/18th Royal Hussars.

This December, Walking With The Wounded is asking the British public to sign up to their Christmas appeal, Walking Home For Christmas, to raise vital funds for those wounded who have little to look forward to this upcoming festive season.

The charity hopes to raise a quarter of a million pounds which will enable the charity to change the lives of more than 400 men and women. The campaign is proudly supported by Wolsey, who during World War 1 supplied over 18 million woollen jerseys, scarves and pieces of underwear to the British Armed Forces.

Evidence shows that there are still thousands of ex-service personnel like Richard who are struggling or haven’t yet sought the support they require.

Walking With The Wounded’s mission is to support all ex-servicemen and women with physical, mental or social injury to gain the skills and qualifications necessary to develop new careers outside the military, re-integrate into society and provide long term security for themselves and their families.  In Richard’s case, he spent 9 months travelling on foot and sleeping rough, having gone through a ‘dark spell’. At one point, he was living in a ‘basher’ (a military shelter) in the woods for 15 months.  

 Andy Sloan, Events Manager at WWTW said: “Too many of our ex-military have little to look forward to this Christmas. They’ve walked in far more dangerous environments for us, so it is the least we can all do to organise a walk for them.”  ​

 Andy Sloan continues: “We want people to throw on a Santa hat, call up old friends and raise some funds so that we can support these men and women back into work, back into independence and into a place where they can look forward to and enjoy Christmas with their families.”


This Christmas, Walking With The Wounded is asking people to do a walk of any sort between Friday 8th – Sunday 17th December for our wounded ex-servicemen and women ,those who without our support will be on the streets, without a job, isolated from their family, in debt or in prison. Richard said: “I am looking forward to spending Christmas with my godson and his family. I’ll be able to buy them presents, something I never thought possible.”

In addition to supporting these vulnerable men and women, Rod Eldridge, Clinical Lead at WWTW, reminds us that: “Walking as a form of physical activity is well known to be associated with improving mental health, particularly lowering rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.” It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have up to a 30% lower risk of depression and up to a 30% lower risk of dementia.

Some scientists think that it can improve mental wellbeing because it brings about a sense of greater self-esteem, self-control and the ability to rise to a challenge. Thus contributing another reason why WWTW are  urging the great British public to get out and about this December, get active and in turn serve those who have served us.

For more information, please visit

How to take part:  

Inspiration:   Last year Tom (age 9) walked to school with his dad, Wendy (age 62) walked everyday in December in her local town, dressed as Father Christmas an

d Adam (age 36) ran from Bath to Belfast to join his family for Christmas Day. Whatever you decide to do, your steps will make a difference to the futures of our wounded.​

 Email or call 01263 863902

Date Posted: Monday, 9 October 2017 @ 12:12

BFRS have put together their Top 10 reasons to employ the Armed Forces. We will be sharing some valuable tips and hints on how to personally develop yourself to secure your dream job.

Reason 1 & 2

Leadership & Team Player​:

The military trains people to lead by example as well as through direction, motivation and inspiration. Ex-military personnel know that taking risks, stepping outside their comfort zones, and coming up with creative ideas is what it’ll take to be a great team player. Taking on more responsibilities and extra initiative benefits the team.

Reason 3 & 4

Honesty & Good Communication​:

Being honest in the military increases trust, builds reputations, promotes loyalty and ensures quick dispute resolution. Honesty is one of the most desirable virtues in the Armed Forces Community.

The ability to communicate information accurately, clearly and as intended, it is vital to life in the forces. Just as importantly, most are active listeners, which means they pay close attention to what the other person is saying.

Reason 5

Problem Solving:

It’s true that people from the military are natural problem solvers! From the first day of training Military Personnel are put into situations where they are required to lead and solve problems from day one.

Reason 6

Transferable Skills

Within the military, service personnel develop a range of skills. Once these skills are spotted they can be transferred into civilian life and into new employment.

Reason 7

Cope Under Pressure:

Being a service personnel you would have experienced a number of times being put under pressure, however you learn to stay calm and push yourself through the difficult situations.

Reason 8

Emotional Intelligence

Military Personnel have the ability to be aware of, control and express their emotion. They can recognise and manage their emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional Intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.

Reason 9

Social Maturity:

One of humanity’s most useful skills, without which advanced civilizations would not exist, is being able to engage our higher cognitive functions, our self-control, to resist these temptations.

 Reason 10

Calmness in the Face of Adversity:

Staying calm when all the odds are against you, remain cool, remain cautious, remain level-headed under conditions likely to be problematic whilst constructing a plan to overcome the adversity, whether it takes a minute or a week. It can be physically and mentally draining, it will show an abundance of character to climb the wall and should motivate you to carry on climbing.

Date Posted: Friday, 6 October 2017 @ 08:20

After finishing his GCSEs Chris Norris decided going down the university route wasn’t to his taste so instead turned his pub restaurant summer job into a full-blown career.  

He climbed the ladder at pub chain Whitbread working all over the UK before reaching the position of general manager, but after eight years Chris decided it was a time for a change and a new job back home in Newton Abbot, Devon.  

“I wanted to move back to Devon with my girlfriend and have a better work/life balance with a job that was a bit more 9 to 5. At the same time I’m big on self-improvement and wanted a career that would allow me to do that and give me a secure future.    

“I didn’t want to go into full-time education …the SAVA Diploma in Residential Surveying and Valuation meant I could work and study at the same time.”  

The diploma is the only vocational qualification route into a career in residential surveying and property valuation. Taking around 15 to 24 months to complete it combines studying from home with regular tutor led training sessions where students mix with fellow learners.  

Tutors give out tasks to be completed at home and recommend students find 10-15 hours a week to work on them. The diploma is also supported by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and qualifies graduates to offer the SAVA Home Condition Survey.  

Chris was one of the diploma’s first full intakes in September 2014 and qualified less than two years later in August 2016.  

“I didn’t find the workload too daunting and there was always the opportunity to stop and ask questions if you didn’t understand something, plus being able to combine the course with day to day working in the industry really suited my learning style ” he says.  

“I’d certainly recommend it, in fact we’ve already put another person on the course and are looking to place more.”  

On successfully completing his Diploma Chris had few concerns about getting work as a new Residential Surveyor: “Since qualifying I’ve been very busy on the valuation side.  

“With older surveyors looking to retire the SAVA Diploma is playing an important role in bringing new blood into the business. It’s one of the reasons why I’d recommend it as a career for younger people; the work is definitely there once you’ve qualified.  

“The financial rewards are also very good but it’s the opportunity to have an interesting career with plenty of variety and build a really successful business.”  

Five years on Chris has no reservations about leaving the restaurant business: “My personal life is 100% better,” he says, ” now I can play five-a-side with my mates every week or go to a barbecue knowing I won’t have to cancel at the last minute.”


For more information on SAVA School of Surveying, please follow the link...

Date Posted: Wednesday, 4 October 2017 @ 14:01

LifeWorks is a FULLY FUNDED 5 day course which equips ex-Armed Forces personnel with the tools to get into and maintain a civilian job that is appropriate for them.

LifeWorks is available to anyone who has been in the Armed Forces, regardless of when and how long they served for.

LifeWorks is run by Royal British Legion Industries and is for ex-Armed Forces personnel. Royal British Legion Industries is a national charity who have been providing care, support and employment to the Armed Forces Community since 1919.

BFRS are very proud to be apart of the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), LifeWorks programme! We were asked to do some mock interviews for these two amazing Veterans for the programme. We feel very privileged and proud to be apart of it!

Date Posted: Monday, 11 September 2017 @ 12:12

It is nearly the 1st anniversary of my friend that passed away. She was a wife, a mum, a sister, daughter.


She was called Kiley Atkinson (Smith) and we first met on that very first day of basic training, we clicked straight away due to both of us being from the North East. We went through basic training together, then we went onto trade training together and then we both got our first posting together to 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers in Celle Germany. I couldn't have been happier, sat on that plane heading out to Germany with a great friend by my side.

Me and Kiley, good times and good memories. RIP

We were like chalk and cheese but we were friends, Kiley was a social butterfly whilst i was a bit more reserved. I liked peace and quiet now and then. I loved fitness she hated it, she smoked i never and boy could she drink me under the table. We were friends and it just worked. We went to Iraq together when it first kicked off in 2003, we got separated I stayed in Kuwait for a few weeks longer, Kiley made her way to Iraq. 

Once back from Iraq we would spend a weekend in Celle town, drinking and clubbing. Not every weekend I would go out i was 6 years older and i had already done the whole "I must go out every weekend and get shit faced" before i had even joined the Army. We told each other our problems and we would help each other out at work. We used to have such a great laugh, she had an infectious laugh and the biggest smile that would light a room. She used to scare me out my skin with the stories of the ghostly antics that happened in her room at camp, and i remember witnessing it for myself on night and just ran out and left her there. 

She was a tough girl, I would have asked to be moved, Kiley stayed in her room. I left Germany in 2004 and headed to London, Kiley got extended in Germany. I was so gutted that we were going our separate ways. After 3 years it was weird not having her by my side. I paid her a visit after i had got myself settled in London, I flew out to Germany and has a wild weekend to the point I was off work for a few days afterward (Maybe alcohol poisoning).

Iraq - 2003

Then as life does you drift away, you get wrapped up in your own existence and life and contact dwindled to nothing. Then in 2011 I heard some devastating news and I searched for her on Facebook and we got chatting again. She told me what had happened and how she had to learn to use a phone and a computer again and talk. It broke my heart and we kept in touch. Always liking and commenting on each other’s pictures.  

Then January 2015 I got an awful message, she told me the cancer was back and that it was grade 4 terminal, and she was currently putting a memory box together for her little girl. I broke down, how could this be happening to one of the nicest people I know! I told her to keep fighting, to be strong and if she needs me I am there, I didn’t want to impose on such precious family time. Then May 2016 the news I was dreading become real and my lovely friend lost her battle.

We may have lost touch over the years as people do, but Kiley was always in my heart. I attended her funeral and from that day on I vowed to live my life the best I could. So far I am managing that.

I am running Bournemouth Half Marathon in October for Macmillan Cancer charity and I am running in Kiley’s memory. At the top of this page is the link to my just giving page. Please, please donate let’s get a cure for this god awful thing called C….

Live your life, be happy with all you have. Make sure you go out and get your goals and make your dreams happen. Life is short.RIP my lovely.

Dont forget to hit this link and donate –​


To read more of Lisa's blogs follow the link below...

Date Posted: Tuesday, 29 August 2017 @ 15:21

This week’s blog is about Lee Kennedy and how he went from Paratrooper to Entrupuner, Lee wrote this piece for his Linkedin page but when I read it I just knew I had to ask him if I could put it in my blog. I think when you have finished reading it you will agree with me that this is a true story of grit and determination to make his life for him and his family a great success. He talks openly about the struggles he faced when he left the forces to get to where he is now.


I was looking through some old photographs of when I was in the Army, it was the beginning of my working life in many ways. If I’m honest, I think I only did it because my friends told me I wouldn’t last 5 minutes! Training was hard and at times I wasn’t sure if I’d make it, I did, I passed out and went to the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment and after a bumpy start that saw me doing a week in the 2 Para jail in Aldershot for going AWOL, I knuckled down and started making the most of serving in what, in my humble opinion, was the best regiment in the best Army in the world. I was promoted quickly, after a 6-month tour of Northern Ireland and an overseas exercise in Canada I was selected, with some of my best friends, to attend Drill and Duties, a junior non-commissioned officers course at HDPRCC (Household Division Parachute Regiment Combined Courses) in Pirbright.


 I passed and picked up my first stripe on the next promotions board, I was told to put the stripe on with velcro (it’s the easiest rank to lose and this was a standard joke!). I kept the stripe and commanded men in my platoon, the Assault Engineers (or Plumbers as we were affectionately known within the ranks of 2 Para). We all served over the next few years in Northern Ireland again, Macedonia and Afghanistan. It was while on a tour in Kabul, Afghanistan, I was told I would be returning to the UK earlier than the rest of my platoon to go to Junior Brecon, this was officially called Section Commanders Battle Course or SCBC. 

I approached this with mixed emotions, I felt I was letting down the blokes in my section, we had worked and lived together in a bombed out school building in Kabul, with no electricity and living in the most basic way, I had really enjoyed this tour, it was what I had joined up for but I didn’t want to halt my career so I went on the course. This was the beginning of the end for my love of the Army, I realised later that Afghanistan had been the high point and although I really loved the lifestyle, the camaraderie and the experience of being a soldier, it wasn’t my lifelong career.


I decided in 2003, just as we deployed to Iraq, having missed the warfighting operation, that this chapter in my life was coming to an end. I left the Army in November 2004 and met my beautiful wife, Katherine almost immediately, we fell in love and she helped me enormously with some serious issues I was not really dealing with, I think I always had very real anger issues and this very nearly destroyed everything good I had achieved, it was like a self destruct button. Katherine also helped me to get out of debt, when I was in the Army, like many others, I used to binge drink on leave and got used to the large sums of money accumulated whilst on operational deployments, when I returned home, I literally lived ‘like a rock star’ and never wanted it to end. 

With my resettlement, I did a close protection course with Phoenix in Hereford, I hadn’t even got home when I received a phone call from an instructor on the course, I thought he was going to tell me there had been a mistake and I had failed! He didn’t, he gave me my first job, just like that, I was a self-employed civilian. One job led to another, I worked with a team protecting an HMRC Customs Officer in Kandahar, Afghanistan for a time and while on that job, I received 2 phone calls in a matter of days; one from an ex 2 Para friend who told me he had been shot and lost his entire team in Baghdad and a few days later, from a contact I had made who was a team leader for a celebrity family near where I lived, asking if I would still be interested in working in the UK. I took the job.

A matter of weeks after returning to the UK and getting the job I heard that the Toyota Land Cruiser we used in Kandahar got hit by an IED (Improvised Explosive Device), fortunately, nobody was killed but there were serious injuries. About 6 months into the job in the UK, I was called into the office by the Estate Manager, I was a little nervous, it was an established security team and I was the junior guy, I prepared myself for the worst possible news, my face didn’t fit and I was going to be asked to leave, I was surprised and relieved to learn that I was to be asked to become the new team leader! 

 The relief was quickly replaced with concern when I realised that other team members may not take the news very well, I asked the Manager if we, as a team could get a pay rise, the offer was accepted and this placated the team somewhat. I formed a security company around my work with the high net worth family, I have to admit, it was a steep learning curve and I was literally learning every step of the way. It grew quite well; taking on residential security tasks, static security at commercial businesses and hospitals, door supervisor work at bars and nightclubs but I wasn’t happy, it was long hours, stressful and apart from the money, not very rewarding. In 2009, the family I was working with decided to move almost fully to the States, this meant we were being let go, I won’t mention names but the family we worked for were incredible and I am still in touch with them now, they were very caring employers and extremely kind. The passion for the business started to fade and I used some of my extended learning credits to qualify as a health and safety advisor. 

A good friend, Carl Davis, very kindly, allowed me to gain experience with him. I enjoyed the work and should have stayed at it but many of my ex-Army friends were earning good money overseas and I wanted a part of it. July 2010 and I was in southern Iraq again, working as a team leader for commercial clients for a Private Security Contractor. It was good being with the guys from 2 Para and other units from around the world, 2 lads from my hometown who were in 1 Para and 3 Para were at the same camp and it was like being in the Army, with less bullshit and more money! I did miss my family, stupidly I thought the best thing I could do for my family was earn as much money as possible, get out of debt, pay off the mortgage and live happily ever after. 

 Things were good for a while, when I came back it was like a holiday every time but going back over was so difficult. My eldest son Vincent was born disabled and needed a lot of hospital care and appointments and I had 2 year old Francis who I hardly knew every time I came back. I did well at the job though and eventually was asked to become assistant training manager for Iraq, I would train local nationals to become security team drivers and team members. It was the same money but a safer job, or so I thought? In April 2012 I went to the firing ranges at Shaiba logistics base to go through live firing with the Iraqi trainees, this was the final part of their training. One of the trainees was not hitting the target at all, I test fired the weapon, one of guys next to me had a stoppage and was struggling to eject a case I had stopped firing and turned to look at the man next to me and as I leaned towards him, the empty case extracted with force and went under my glasses and hit me on the corner of my eye. I laughed at first, the round felt very hot and hit with some force and wedged itself between the glasses and stayed in contact with my eye for what seemed like ages! 

We went back to camp and for the next 2 days my eye felt like there was grit in it, I got some eye wash and by the third night, it felt like a red-hot poker was being seared into the back of my eye, I have never felt pain like it! I asked to see a doctor and was taken to the Airport to Tracer Medical, the Iraqi doctor looked at the back of my eye and said I had conjunctivitis, by now my vision was very blurred and my left eye was red raw. I took some eye drops and was told to take them 3 times per day. 3 weeks later and my eye was no better, I was scared, in a foreign country and was worried I would go completely blind and never see my wife’s beautiful face or my boys ever again. I had to get home to get a diagnosis, at this time, I was called into the office and told I was being made redundant. I was not worried about my job now, I just wanted to go home. When I got home my wife took me straight to the hospital, I thought I would get my eye sorted out, get back out to work and keep going, like we had been doing for the last 2 years.

The news I received at the hospital changed my life forever. Because of the amount of inflammation on the back of the eye, I had to take steroid eye drops every 2 hours for 2 days, this meant no sleep, I went back to the eye clinic and they still couldn’t see the back of the eye. Eventually, I had to have an ultrasound that confirmed I had a retinal detachment. I knew now that my career in security was over, this was to be the least of my worries, no job, no income and no idea what to do next? The next 12 months were probably the hardest we had as a family; my eldest son Vincent had a seizure and had to be induced into a coma with suspected meningitis, my wife, probably due to the stress, had ulceral colitis and I felt like a failure, not being able to provide for my family. Vinny spent 4 weeks in hospital and was released with no further problems, my friend Carl Davis offered me a job working with him in his family business and the company in Iraq I had worked for had started to pay me insurance money while a loss adjuster looked into my case. During the time Vinny was in hospital, Katherine stayed with him and I worked with Carl and took Frankie, my youngest son, to nursery and kept him in routine, this was all a blessing, Frankie and I began to bond, when Vinny came home it was like everything was better than before. 

 I took the last parts of my extended learning credits from the Army and enrolled on a one day per week NEBOSH Diploma Course at Lackham College, I used to get the bus to save money and went every Wednesday for over a year. I also got a training qualification, I enjoyed training and was good at it, I trained our customers how to become fire marshals and took manual handling courses too. I began getting some of my own customers, Carl, had been great offering me a role in his business and I will always be truly grateful to him. I was never an employee though, I set up a limited company and this gave me freedom, I soon began getting more customers than I had the time to deal with and told Carl and his brother Mark that I would have to leave them and only carry out training on their behalf.

Fast forward to now and I have a business that turns over hundreds of thousands of pounds, I am debt free, mortgage-free and see my family everyday, I have a great network of friends and customers in the motor trade and a team of 8 who help me to deliver a great service to my customers, I own 3 companies and we are now able to offer first aid training, we are about to launch an online safety training platform which will save my customers time and offer more protection from prosecution and potential claims and we have Canopy Safety, an online management platform that is bespoke to the automotive industry which will be launching later this year. My greatest success comes from a workplace accident that could have ruined my life, it changed it, without a doubt, I am grateful for the way things have turned out. When I worked in security there was very little reward in the task, if you did your job properly, nothing should happen, you should avoid risks and this was rarely appreciated by our clients. 

Now, I go into a business and the customer can see the positive results immediately, that is so rewarding and if I can avoid anyone having to change their life, like I had to, stop another person becoming injured at work and get everyone home safely while we provide peace of mind, well, that excites me everyday. If you had told me 20 years ago, as a young paratrooper that I’d be this excited about health and safety, I would have thought you were crazy. But now you know WHY.​

Date Posted: Thursday, 24 August 2017 @ 14:29

British Forces Resettlement Services (BFRS) are proud to announce they have been awarded a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Silver Award, for the commitment we have demonstrated in supporting the Armed Forces Community. 

The Fred Sherwood Group based in Shepshed, Armourgeddon Ltd of Lutterworth and the British Forces Resettlement Services in Leicester each employ either military service leavers or spouses of military families and each understand the valuable contribution that those undergoing military training can bring back into the civilian workplace.

In order to achieve a Silver Award employers must have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, employ at least one member of Armed Forces community, actively communicate with their employees via established HR policies and procedures and show flexibility towards annual training commitments and mobilisation.

Catherine Suckling, Assistant Regional Employer Engagement Director, said: “It is important to recognise the commitment of each of the employers from Leicestershire and the wider East Midlands in supporting service personnel and their spouses, veterans or Cadet Force adult volunteers in the workplace.“Each organisation recognises the valuable skills and experience that those undertaking military training can bring back into the workplace. I am delighted that each of the organisations have been recognised for the positive work and I look forward to continuing to build our relationship over future months.”

Each of the organisations will be invited to a formal presentation event in November where they will receive a certificate to be displayed in their place of work.


Date Posted: Monday, 14 August 2017 @ 15:04

My Transition

Neil Dean served in the Royal Artillery for 15 years, as a Command Post Detachment Commander. He served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq and various other places around the world.

Why did you join the Army

I grew up listening to my fathers and grandfathers' stories, I knew early on that it would also be a part of my​ life. It seemed like it would also be a part of my life. It seemed like it would be an adventure, that would provide me with a different challenges weekly. For the main it didn't disappoint me, I was naive though. 


Why were you naive and what did you get out of your service?

Even if I listen to other people's stories now, it sounds like an adventure. It sounds easy, fun, everything you want in life. The truth is; it is only an adventure because it is challenging, and at times I nearly quit on myself. Luckily you are surrounded by people who won't let you quit, they make it easier, they make it fun. Every day was an adventure, it was uncomplicated. Far too often since leaving, I have seen people make things way to complicated.

The military has a habit of getting the details right, without making it complicated. A great example is a drill movement timing 123, 1. As a leader, you need to be aware of your own strengths and weakness and those of your team, this enables you to build the strongest team possible using everyone strengths to ensure you maximise the teams success every time. 

What were the most important lesson that you learned during your transition?

The adjustment to being a civilian is absolutely S***. You need to find a sense of purpose as soon as you can, otherwise, it will eat you up. I felt alone, I felt i was no longer contributing to anything (to the bigger picture), which impacted on my family and my job.

Don't be one of those Veterans who sits behind a computer full of self-entitlement, get out there and get your hands dirty and be part of the solution. Stepping up and being proactive like you have been trained to be, will increase your chances of a successful transition, a successful life.

If you see an opportunity, don't scoff or belittle it because it doesn't meet your lofty aspirations. Be part of the solution and pass it on to another Veteran looking for work.


How does it feel to continue to support our Armed Forces Community through your work at BFRS?

It's very fulfilling being able to oversee programs and projects that support, the Armed Forces Community. I love working with companies, who are committed to offering the same opportunities to the Armed Forces Community. Each day a new company the huge demographic, of skill-sets military people have, and when BFRS talks to them we are pleasantly surprised that they are the ones selling us their soft talk.

It's a struggle at times! Fighting against organisations who continue push out, over the top, negative facts about people who have been in the military. Most Veterans, are not all homeless, we haven't all killed someone, we are not going to shout at everyone. Some of us do need extra support for all sorts of issues that afflict us, BFRS's jobs is to try and help with one of those areas, EMPLOYMENT.

Most of us will need help at some point in our lives, so don't be afraid to ask for help. Just remember our values and standards are for life, it's what our stories are about, embrace your next challenge. 

To read the article in full or to read the rest of the magazine issue click here

Date Posted: Monday, 14 August 2017 @ 14:58

I'm Robbie Watson; I served with 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment and 1st Battalion The Mercian Regiment respectively. I joined January 2011 and left April 2016. I was a Section Commander and a Warrior Commander. 

How did you find your transition?

I personally really struggled with the transition. I was too focused on trying to match my wages, rather than find something I would enjoy. 

I started working for YODEL as a delivery driver, I worked out after 6 weeks that it wasn't for me. I went from being an infantry solider to delivering strangers items, it was a reality check. A reality check in terms of; it didn't matter if your CV is kitted out with all the known military buzz words, it meant nothing. I then spent 9 months working for Jaguar Land Rover, great company in terms of pay and progression, but just wasn't for me.

The reality is, not many (if any) people care about your past. Think about your future, plan accordingly and accept the fact that you might take a pay cut, you will have 3 strikes and your'e fired, you will have to tone down your language, you will have to say sorry and thank you. However, you HAVE to remember your reasons for leaving.


 What attracted you to working with the BFRS?

I think the biggest attraction for me, was that i could potentially assist others to find a new career rather than just a job. I really struggled the first 6-7 months after leaving the Army. I felt like i had to settle where I was, and that no one wanted to help me. I woke up one crisp morning towards the end of March 2017 and thought 'lets make a change' I even wrote that on my mirror in my bedroom as a little reminder. I came across BFRS during my endless searching for something new. I knew what BFRS were about, after attending one of their career events just before I left the Army. I knew it was something that appealed to me on a personal level. I started in April 2017 and I'm learning so much. 

You hosted Mitchells & Butlers recruitment day, how did you find this?​

M&B's recruitment day was really good. It was my first time hosting an employment event for Service Leavers and Veterans. It was also a huge learning curve. It was a great chance to get a feel of what I need to do to improve the next one. It also showed me how small the world is, an old friend whom I was in Belfast with attended the event, it was like we never left each other.

What skill set have you brought from the Forces into Civvy St?​

I was always quite a diligent JNCO in terms of my work ethic, I respected my Platoon Commander and his direction the same as any Managing Director, Line Manager or a Team Leader. Civilians work hard to get to those positions and i respect any man, women or dog who earned it.​

To read the article or the full magazine issue click here
Date Posted: Thursday, 3 August 2017 @ 07:47

Hire a Hero Career Coach Course

20th July 2017 I attended a 1-day course that I have been looking forward too for quite a while. The course was a volunteer Career Coach for a great little charity that helps service leavers transition into civilian street. The role of career coach is a  role that I can not wait to start. You see Hire a Hero helped me back in October 2013 when I left the Army after 12 years of service. I turned to them for help, I stumbled across them via google. I sent an email and I had an instant response and before I knew it I was getting the help I so desperately needed with my CV.

 I never forgot how they helped me when I needed it the most and Jennifer Lilly the lady at Hire a Hero then started to keep in contact with me and asked me how my job hunting was going. It felt nice to have that support and one that I was eternally grateful. I believe everything happens for a reason and I was meant to stumble across Hire a Hero and I was meant to be on the course three years later. I want to go into Life Coaching and what better way to start then helping this charity who are self-funded, which means they receive no money from the government which is great because if the funds dried up from the government then there would be no more Hire a Hero which would be truly terrible.

What I learnt on this course is that 55% of service leaver’s after they have left the forces realised they did the wrong courses and end up in jobs they don’t want or like, they then turn to Hire a Hero for help. What Hire a Hero wants to do is capture the 25% of service leaver’s at the beginning of their transition whilst they are still in the last few months of their Army Career and help and guide them so they do not become like the 55% service leaver. What do Hire a Hero do...

  • They connect service leavers with opportunities, and they have a great moto “They serve those who served us”. 
  • They help with employment by assigning service leavers with a career coach if they want one, who will check over their CV and do interview skills with them. 
  • Now you can lead a horse to water but you cant make it drink it and what I mean by that is the Career Coach will guide and help but they will not DO.
  • That is something the service leaver has to do and want to do. Hire A Hero has a jobs board, they can also support service leavers with searching for the appropriate training opportunities and funding sources. 
  • They work with trusted like minded training providers to ensure that all service leavers have access to credible training facilities and that their training needs are met and appropriate for their future careers. 
  • Networking is a big thing when you leave and this maybe why when Officers leave they have a bigger success rate of getting employment than lower ranks as they know all about networking, whilst others ranks may not. 

Hire a Hero is a ready made network of people available and willing to assist the service leaver in their job search. They have a pool of well-connected volunteers who can help the service leaver navigate the civilian job market. At least 60% of jobs are found through networking. Hire a Hero also has a mentoring service, a mentor will provide transitional support, whether employment, housing, welfare or financial advice. Hire a Hero cannot directly support your area of need, with the help of a mentor and through signposting to trusted partners and organisations, Hire a Hero will help you access the required and entitled support. Hire a Hero also aims to assist service leavers in gaining the most appropriate housing solutions by signposting service leavers to their network of charities, housing associations, organisations and UK councils.

They help anyone that have served just one day, also it does not matter how long you have been out the services they will also help. So if you are reading this and you are in the process of leaving the forces or you have already left and need some help or advice then please do not hold back and contact Hire a Hero on They are also on Linked In – Hire a Hero UK and they are on Facebook – hireahero. You can also drop me a message on Facebook JustLisaBrydon I will be more than happy to help.

By Lisa Brydon -

Date Posted: Tuesday, 6 June 2017 @ 09:08

One of the ladies I work with is ex RAF. we have spoken a lot about our transition and how we both found it. It was interesting to hear her experience, especially as the Army always think the RAF get looked after better. So I asked her if she would mind writing a blog for me on how why she left the RAF after 19 years and how she found the transition. It was interesting to see that we both felt let down by CTW/CTP and there is no real support for service leavers from them. We both went through the same emotions and worries. We both moved to a new city when we left the forces and had to start again with no real support. I thought I was the only one that went through this struggle but apparently not. Below is Debbie’s account of her experience.

It’s been 4 years since I officially left the RAF but 5 years since I was told I was being made redundant.  I remember that day well, I thought I had got away with it I knew I was in the mix for redundancy and rumours went around that if you hadn’t been told by 09:00 then you had missed out.

I didn’t want to be made redundant I had been in the careers office for the past 3 years and was due to go back into trade and was excited about it. 09:00 came and went and I thought yes, it’s not me I was safe I was laughing and joking in the office I was so happy It wasn’t me. Then at 09:45 a Sqn Leader walked in and asked for me, I didn’t know who he was so didn’t even think about it. 

He took me in to an office and presented an envelope and said, “I guess you know what this is?” and that’s when I realised I wasn’t safe and I wasn’t wanted. He told me if I had any questions to ring Cranwell and then left.  I didn’t know how to feel at that point shocked, disappointed, angry, but most of all I felt let down by my boss and the RAF. 

My boss was on a course at Cranwell and she was panicking about what happens next, the way I was told was bad, and I felt so let down that I wasn’t told by someone I knew at least if I had it may have softened the blow a bit.  I was told I could have anything I wanted but at the back of my mind I felt it was a lie, I could have sat back and done nothing and just mucked about but that wasn’t me I still gave everything to my job so I knew I had done the best I could have given in the circumstances.

Over the next 12 months I went about work, I got permission to stay at the careers office for the last 12 months so I ended up doing 4 years there, I did my CIPD Level 5 in Human Resources, but didn’t really know what I was going to do or doing at that time. I was worried about finding a job, somewhere to live and not having the security of being in the forces around me. 

The thought of being homeless passed my mind a few times, also knowing that civilians don’t understand those who have been in forces worried me. Would I fit in? would I make friends? I went through a range of emotions but managed to contain them as I was still in my safe world, I knew others that were going through the same but no one really talked about it. I did my 3 day CTP course and kept wondering why do we do that course? I felt like 3 days wasted no real support from them and that the person who presented the course wasn’t really interested in what people were going though.

I manged to secure a couple of interviews one was with an Educational company and the other with a company who seemed to be taking over the world. I was nervous as it was the first interviews I had had in over 18 years, what do I wear? What do I say? What if I don’t present myself in the correct manner? What if they don’t understand what I am saying? I had nothing to worry about as the interview was happening I sat there thinking I don’t want this job, the 3 women who interviewed me didn’t really give me a good feeling or make me feel welcome.

The other interview was a totally different experience it was a company who were taking over the Army recruit, so I knew the topic well, I knew my experience within the forces and the careers office would hold me in good stead don’t get me wrong I was still nervous. The interview went well and I felt comfortable and felt that the two-people interviewing me had a real interest in me and what I had been doing in the past 18-19 years. I got the job and I felt a world of worry lift of my shoulders.

Now to find somewhere to live and sort out moving as I was moving over 200 miles to a new location where I didn’t really know anyone except my brother who was in the Army in the area, and there was the little matter of asking to be realised a month earlier from the RAF so I could start the job when the company wanted me too, it was granted I mean they couldn’t really say No as they are the ones who didn’t want me.

I left the careers office on February 3 2013, and moved in to a small coach house 200 miles away. Thankfully my brother was onhand to help me settle in, I’m sure him and his wife were sick of the sight of me. I followed them everywhere to start with I didn’t know anyone else. I started my first civilian job on March 11 2013 and that first day I was so nervous. 

Everyone else in my team had started the week before so they had bonded how would they feel with a new person in the mix? I remember walking in the room and I was introduced to everyone, instantly I felt I didn’t belong and wanted to leave it didn’t help when the girl I got sat next to turned away from me and made sure I was left out of conversations. No one asked who I was, where I had come from, what had I been doing before going there? No one was interested and I was made to feel unwelcome, I was shocked that this was the way civilians treated people who had served their country.

Date Posted: Tuesday, 30 May 2017 @ 15:47

My Transition

"Living the life of an 'Army Brat' has its ups and downs. You make many amazing friends that become your family, they understand everything you're going through; these friends can also be taken away from you so quickly."

When your parents are in the Army you are moved around quite regularly. This made it extremely difficult for me to make friends. I was always waiting for the moment I had to say goodbye to them, because either one of us would move away. 

The friends you do make stick with you for life. It doesn't matter how far apart you are from one another and how long you don't talk, you can always pick up the conversation where you left off. I have ended up with friends all over the world. Thanks to social media, I get to keep in contact with all my friends and get to watch their adventures while they move around.

After spending 9 years as an Army Child, my dad had to leave the army and my life completely changed. I found it difficult starting in a completely different environment; everyone was different and i felt like i had nothing in common with anyone. I have lived in Warwickshire since my dad left the Army. 

Getting used to not moving around was difficult, however it has pushed me to travel and see new things.

The two lives are completely different, they both have their ups and downs and i have met some amazing people along the way. 

Working at British Forces Resettlement Services (BFRS) has helped me still have that bond with the Military. It also means i can help Ex Forces who are going through the same transition my family and I went through. It's such a good feeling when you know you've done your job, and have helped so many other people with their new starts. Even if it's just giving them the information they need or helping them find a new job, it's all worth it in the end!

To read full the full issue follow the link below...

Date Posted: Wednesday, 24 May 2017 @ 16:00

Since leaving the Army I have had a lot of people message me saying that they are leaving the Army or thinking of leaving and what advice can I can give them. So I thought I would put my advice in a blog so anyone who is leaving or thinking of leaving this may just help.

When I started the process of leaving the Army, the first thing I did was contact the local Career Transition Workshop. They are part of CTP, The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) is a partnering agreement between the Ministry of Defence and Right Management Ltd. The CTP provides resettlement services for those leaving the Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force, and Marines. Regardless of time served, all members of the Armed Forces can benefit from CTP support when leaving Service.

I had a look at all the free courses they had, they ranged from a 1-day pension brief to a 1-day housing brief to a 3 day CV writing and job searching course. After booking all these courses the next step and the most challenging was figuring out what I was actually going to do when I left. I thought about Project Management, I looked into being a female close protection officer. I spent a good few weeks really thinking about it and in the end, I decided to do a course in Chartered Institue of Personal Development Level 3 Diploma in Human Resources. 

The reason being and if you have read my previous blogs I did HR in the Army but also I was moving to a new city, I at least wanted to go into a job that I knew and I was good at even though HR does not float my boat and set me on fire it would get me on my feet. I would 100% say really think about what job you want to do, I saw so many people leave the Army and spend money on courses and then regret it as it was a knee jerk decision and ended up going into something completely different. 

You have to be sure what it is you want to do and you have to make sure you get on the right course to get you qualified it is so important. You are supposed to get support up to 2 years after leaving the Army and CTP were in my experience really bad, no follow ups and no help or support. That was just my experience but it really makes you realise that once you leave no one really cares and it is totally up to you to make sure you get on your feet.

I did my HR course at the Army Education Centre in Aldershot it was a 4-week course (if I had of done it in civilian street it would have been 12 months) and it was a really good course. It was very intense as I mentioned in my blog but from my point of view it was money well spent and I learned a great deal about HR and policies and procedures. I felt it was the right course and it really set me up for a Human Resources role. I felt set and ready to tackle civilian street and all it had to offer, then…………….

Once out it was a different ball game, I was applying for jobs every single day online and not getting an interview or even a response back. The best thing I did and I recommend it to anyone was I went online on looked where all the local recruitment agencies were in my area and with my list of them all I went and handed my CV out to them all.

I found this really beneficial as they got to see me (I made sure I dressed smart, first impressions last) and they all had a chat with me, asked me questions and vise verse. Recruitment agents are good but you do have to call them daily, this keeps you in the front of their mind and shows you are keen. I even went to job interviews for roles that I did not want just so I could get experience as it had been 12 years since I’d had a job interview. 

If you do not call them and remind them that you are still looking for work they will forget about you. I had a couple like that but I also had two – Hays and Reed who were actually really proactive with me and sent me on interviews. In the end, it was Hays who recommended I go for an HR Role at Untied Welsh and I got it. So to anyone that may be struggling to get work the best thing I did and it worked for me was get your CV to lots of agencies.

I also recommend, get yourself on there add a profile and save your CV on to it. Indeed is one of the biggest online job sites and the job I am currently in was with Indeed. There are others like Total job, Monsters jobs, Fish for jobs to name a few. I also got in contact with Hire a Hero, Hire a Hero is a charity that supports service leavers through the transition into civilian life they work in partnership with public, private and third sector organisations to provide a network of support and to signpost service leavers to the most appropriate resources as required. 

Hire a Hero, through its network of businesses, mentors and volunteers provide a consistent source of support to service leavers. They really helped me with my CV and if anything you take from this blog is to makes sure your CV is good. Take out all military abbreviations (civilian street will not know what you mean) and military jargon. My CV if I am honest took me at least two months to get right.

It is so imperative that your CV is translated into civilian speak. There is also a big misconception that because you have been in the forces you are easily employable, I found this not to be true and quite the opposite. I have the qualification but what civilian street wanted was hands on and my HR experience in the Army was not even recognised. Get your foot in the door, show them how bloody good you are and the rest is history!

Ex-soldiers really undersell themselves, learn to realise how good you are, and all the great transferable skills you have.

By Lisa Brydon

For more information go to...

Lisa Brydo
Lisa Brydo
Date Posted: Thursday, 4 May 2017 @ 08:41

Being social when leaving the forces, is an important part of your job search strategy and therefore should be integrated into your processes.









We use social media in our personal lives on a day to day basis. Checking and updating Facebook, following on Twitter.

The world is changing at a speed so fast that for most it’s hard to keep up. Social media technologies take on many different forms other than Facebook and Twitter, they include magazines, Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, social networks, podcasts, photographs or pictures and thousands of these are dedicated to your future careers.

These technologies have accelerated the rate at which relationships develop, information is shared. This in turn can influence and change, not just individuals seeking employment or business employment strategies, the world has seen the power of social media and its effect on society, which has toppled political states.

What you need to do is harness this power!

It can be hard at times, to filter through everything and to assess the accuracy and relevance of the information that is shared and make best use of it. There is an increasing trend by companies using social media monitoring tools that allows them to search, track, and analyse conversation on the web about their brand or about topics of interest to their company.

You need to turn this around and set-up your own free Social media monitoring tools, that will allow you to find insights into different sectors and companies. This will allow you to search, track, and analyse jobs and sector trends, then react to these and interact / engage with the right people.

However, the reality is that the value of social media is directly connected to how seriously you use it, so you need to understand the platforms you are using to see the best returns. Those that succeed are not the ones that accept or embrace change by using social media for their job search strategy, but those who are proactive and reassess their strategies.

Leaving the forces is hard enough, it is true service personnel are skilled in team work, cross cultural communication, and they are creative and understand accountability. These skills are prerequisites when entering the civilian workplace, by incorporating a social media strategy into your career search you will be better prepared for a civilian working life when you take up your first job.


Date Posted: Wednesday, 3 May 2017 @ 14:10

Employers will not hire Veterans, employers hire well prepared candidates, who add value to their company.

More and more companies are committed to hiring people from the Armed Forces Community (AFC). This doesn’t provide the AFC with an advantage over other candidates applying for the same job, it does mean you are going to get the same opportunity, go through the same application process.

In the Forces we are provided with the same training and it’s natural for some to succeed better than others, which is the same in all walks of life. Those that do succeed are the ones able to make their military experience relevant to employers and are able to quantify their accomplishments and keep away from the uses of military-slang and acronyms.

Prepared and Ready

You have completed your resettlement. You have a decent CV that’s been checked by someone who has never served, and it makes sense to them. The CV has done its job and managed to land you an interview. You get a haircut, you wear a clean suit that has been ironed the night before, clean shoes and you showed up on time because you carried out a recce as soon as you got the amazing news. You give the interviewer a firm handshake, and smile because you have done your due diligence and you are feeling confident.

You both sit down and THEY ask, “what did you do in the military?”

You sit up and your chest swells, because you are proud of your service in the RN/Army/RAF. You look them in the eyes and tell them you were a Nuclear Specialist, a Recce Mec, part of psyops team, or whatever your career specialty was. The look on their face says it all, you’ve already lost them because you may as well have replied in a different language.

Only a small proportion of population has ever served in the military! When we talk about our past service, we talk about our military job titles, because most of us in the military understand what they mean and do. The interviewer doesn’t understand your job title or what it entails and may even think your experiences are unique to the military, and irrelevant in the real world after all.


Start defining and explaining your careers based on your accomplishments, you are not defined by your job title but rather by the sum of your experiences and accomplishments. You must learn to develop a pitch that explains your military career while simultaneously putting into terms the interviewer will understand.

“I served 22 years in the RLC as an RQMS, blah, blah, blah”, and the interviewer will start thinking about lunch!!

Try this:

“During my military career, I participated in transportation and logistics operations supporting an organisation of over 600 personnel. I helped maintain a fleet of vehicles and equipment/stores worth well over £25M and supervised teams of up to 100+ people. I received commendations for cost cutting measures and process improvements that I implemented whilst here in the UK and serving overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq. Due to my demonstrated management and leadership abilities, the Royal Logistic Corps promoted me on multiple occasions. I finally retired from the Army as a senior manager and am now looking for a career within the civilian world in which I can fully utilise my leadership skills to help the right company reach its goals.”

Interviews are limited mostly by time so you must be able to sell yourself right away and as often as possible. From the example above, a senior NCO is able to describe their military career in under 20 seconds in a manner that employers will understand and appreciate. You can highlight you career sector, supervisory/management and leadership experience, value of assets managed, accomplishments and the type of environments these were achieved in.

You have also given the interviewer leads for follow up questions that would highlight your experience and ability to do the job they are hiring for.

  • “Tell me about the cost cutting measures and process improvements that you implemented?”
  • “Can you give me examples of your management and leadership abilities?”

I will leave you to answer those questions, because no-one knows you better than you. Adapt your pitch and then practice again and again so it is second nature.It will be easier to learn than the Marksmanship Principles.