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Independent resettlement & recruitment guide for serving Armed Forces & Veterans

‘Sorry, no stereotypes!’

‘Sorry, no stereotypes!’


23 Jan, 2020

Transitioning to the civilian workplace on leaving the Services is now about much more than stereotypical roles such as security guarding or taking a conventional ‘trade’ with you (useful as these still are), says Claire Withey of Bolt Burdon Kemp. And, when it comes to 21st-century resettlement, she’s keen to emphasise the current breadth of skills the ex-military have to offer potential employers

As a serving or ex-member of the Armed Forces, you’ll know that the military is much more than just a job. It’s your family, your work and something that defines you as a person. But, as everyone knows, a career in the military doesn’t last a lifetime. A new Army recruitment campaign, ‘Confidence that lasts a lifetime’, focuses on the skills Service personnel develop during their military careers, which they can put to good use in the future, in a life beyond the Armed Forces. 

Skills for life

Forging a career in the military is a tough and relentless task, but there can be no doubt that it provides you with a level of expertise and cutting-edge skills that can last a lifetime and set you apart from civilian competitors for the same role. 

You might have decided to join the Armed Forces at a young age, when your experience and confidence were still developing. It might have been your first taste of work and/or living away from home. Think about how much you have grown since you joined. You would have developed a number of key skills, many technical in nature, but also capabilities in areas such as teamwork, self-management and punctuality, and characteristics like resilience and determination. These are the sorts of attributes that employers in the civilian sphere admire, and many are already starting to see the benefits of employing veterans.


  • teamworking skills
  • self-management
  • punctuality
  • resilience
  • determination

Tech talents in demand

In recent years many industries have placed increasing reliance on technology. The Armed Forces are aware of advances in modern technology and Service personnel are now receiving training using cutting-edge technology, which is another asset prospective civilian employers will find attractive, and another skill set likely to open doors for veterans looking for employment on civvy street. 

Breaking down stereotypes
You will have developed unique skills and attributes during your time in uniform, but this is not to say that the transition to civilian life is easy. In the past (and perhaps even to some extent, today) some Service leavers assumed that, just because they’d been in the military the only work that would be suitable for them would involve security or similar industries. These stereotypes have now largely been broken down [as we hope the content of Quest illustrates – Ed.] and civilian employers are increasingly interested in the leadership and team-building qualities that veterans can bring to their organisations. In fact, there is increasing evidence that ex-Forces personnel are taking up much sought-after roles in a variety of industries, including:

  • technology 
  • risk management 
  • engineering
  • teaching, and
  • finance.

Help is out there

The military has become much more aware in recent years of the challenges faced by those transitioning to civilian life, and of the support that is required to make that transition as smooth as possible. The after-effects of life in the Forces can be long-lasting, with physical injuries and mental health problems not uncommon. The military recognises that support in these areas is important to ensure a better and healthier quality of life for those leaving the Forces.

As a result, there are now far more support networks available for veterans during this transitional period. These include:

  • the Career Transition Partnership (CTP), which provides resettlement support to eligible Service leavers and their spouses
  • the numerous military charities that offer career and resettlement advice, workshops and careers fairs, such as The Poppy Factory, SSAFA and the RFEA
  • The Royal British Legion, which offers support, advice and guidance on securing alternative employment on leaving the Forces.

What’s ahead?

As we continue into this new decade, the long-lasting benefits brought by those with a history of service in the Armed Forces will no doubt continue to be valued by civilian employers. That new Army recruitment campaign brings a fresh reminder of all that the military does to shape an individual, and I’m excited to see how those individuals will continue to enhance the private sector in the years to come.

Click here to see the Army’s new ‘Confidence lasts a lifetime’ campaign


Claire Withey is an associate solicitor in the Military Claims Department at London-based law firm Bolt Burdon Kemp, acting for Service personnel in claims involving personal injury, clinical negligence, bullying and harassment.