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Supporting ex forces in the workplace

Supporting ex forces in the workplace

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Hi everyone,

Has anyone any experience of supporting ex-forces in 'civvy street'. Can anyone point me in the direction of resources/support networks. I want to be able to provide the right support and be more aware of the differences between working in the forces to working in civvy street. If I understand the differences this will hopefully make me aware of how I can support individuals effectively as well as recognising individual needs.


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By Rus Slater
02nd Mar 2015 07:29

Hi Sarah Jane

At the risk of making myself unpopular I'd implore you not to consider all ex services people as being a single homogenous group or even automatically in need of "support".

The majority of former members of the Armed Forces are perfectly able to make a successful transition into civilian employment without any specific support or assistance from their new employer.  In certain circumstances (which may have as much to do with the employer's culture, as they do the ex forces employee) there may be more consideration and potentially intervention required.  This however, needs case by case assessment rather than presumptions.

The Royal British Legion, Regimental Associations and the service related charities can all offer targeted assistance to people with serious issues.  For simple matters of assimilation and settling in, a quiet and friendly chat with a mate over a cup of tea or a drink usually suffices...for all human beings as well as former servicemen and women.


Rus Slater


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By SteveRobson
02nd Mar 2015 09:57

Hi Sarah Jane

Doesn't quite answer your question but might be useful.

I've never been in the forces but have worked for a number of armies around the world and used to subscribe to

Run by ex services for ex services recruitment company.

On a side of the problems ex services people face when working for (companies that shall remain nameless) who employ mostly ex service people is..

They recognise they have a decent pension and pay them peanuts. My advice would be to avoid such companies!

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By Scott Pawsey
02nd Mar 2015 12:22

Hi Sarahjane

I work for the Royal British Legion and would be happy to chat about this further with regards to what you mean by supporting service leavers or those who have served.

As mentioned before, the vast majority make the transition smoothly.

Feel free to contact me on [email protected]

My kindest regards






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By van Barrett
02nd Mar 2015 13:39

The real difference is a cultural, one good example is the forces approach to team work is being 'selfless ' we really are in this together and I will do whatever it take, to get the job done.  That approach is rare in 'civvy street' and can cause a real sense of frustration for ex forces. 

It is also true that ex forces are also individual people with the same needs and wants as the next person, they however will need to be supported to make the adjustment, so a good induction programme that includes training and development needs should be established from the outset. Good job description that defines what needs to be done as well as clear lines of communication (who do I report to)? 

The average number of people that leave the armed forces per year is around 18,000 and they all come from different areas of the services. Their length of service range from over 30 years to those who did not complete basic training. The average length of service is between 6 and 10 years. 

Their levels of qualification range from PhD to entry level 3. 

Treat them as individuals and ask them what their need are! 

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By sarahjane11
03rd Mar 2015 10:54

Thank you all for your comments - Rus I completely agree with you and really thought hard about how to word my request - I did not want to cause offence. Yes everyone is an individual - it would just help improving my understanding of the differences so I am better prepared to support individuals.


Hope this makes sense!

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By shaun maloney1
05th Mar 2015 13:54

Hi Sarah Jane, 

I apologise for the late response.  I'm 100% submersed in this world and have included a link below to the very successful LifeWorks programme that has been running for just over 3 years now.  This programme has an 84% success rate.  The above comments are all valid but I'd to add that the families of ex forces personnel should fall within the remit of 'extra support' also.  Very encouraged that you are thinking in this area.

Kindest regards



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