British Forces Resettlement Services

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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 info@hireahero.org.uk. 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 -  http://www.justlisabrydon.com/index.php/2017/07/23/hire-a-hero-career-coach-course/

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.


http://www.justlisabrydon.com/index.php/2017/05/21/transition-from-the-royal-air-force-to-civilian-life/

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...

 https://www.bfrss.org.uk/Magazine/New-Challenge-New-Beginnings-April-2017.aspx

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 indeed.com, 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... http://www.justlisabrydon.com/index.php/2017/05/07/transition-from-military-life-to-civilian-life/

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.

Accomplishments

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.