Life Skills Training

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Could I have tour thoughts/observations on the following please? (something I'm drafting and finding difficulty in making flow).

"One of the gaps in Armed Forces training and preparation for civilian life can be broadly termed ‘Life Skills’. In some ways, a proportion of service personnel may be likened to a prison population in that responsibility for the provision of, and in some cases the direct payment for, routine life support is taken out of their hands. A serviceman or woman who joins straight from school and who lives in military single person’s accommodation will not have to become familiar with utility suppliers, tax codes, budgeting for household consumables and so on until they leave.

Even those who marry and live ‘on the patch’ in service married quarters live a simplified version of civilian life; on leaving, some are surprised by the apparent complexity, particularly the financial aspects, of life outside. For those who secure paid work, the number of deductions and demands on what was previously largely disposable income can come as a shock, while those who have not made provision for civilian accommodation whilst in service may find difficulties in securing a mortgage or private/socially owned rented accommodation as a result.

MoD provision of training for and familiarity with the necessities of ‘real life’, particularly understanding budgeting, housing and financial entitlements and application procedures for social support, has traditionally been patchy and irregular. Periodic briefs, organised at establishment or unit level, do little to address the underlying lack of familiarity with issues not yet at hand.

There are two main areas where the MoD is making efforts to provide advice uniformly across the Armed Forces:

Financial Advice. A recent (2013) MoD initiative backed by Standard Life, Money Force, has been rolled out to provide advice and guidance to personnel from all three Services in order to grow their knowledge and capability in managing their own finances throughout their service career and thereafter. This complements the existing free advice offered in service by various financial institutions, who may provide briefings with follow-up personal counselling for Service personnel and their spouses during their career. During resettlement, the Career Transition Workshop includes briefs from the Forces Pension Society and a private wealth management company on pensions and investments.

Housing Advice. The Joint Service Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) provides advice on civilian housing options. It produces the ‘Housing Matters’ magazine and conducts regular briefings which cover a variety of housing alternatives. Although the latter are designed for service leavers, personnel do not have to be within their last 2 years to attend and may be accompanied by their spouse on a fill-up basis."

Any thoughts/comments, especially if you want to challenge my drift, are most welcome. I'd be especially pleased if someone could point me to a report/media piece about the subject.
 
Napier. There is only 1 piece of advice that needs to be adhered to, "LIVE WELL WITHIN YOUR MEANS". Go outside of that and you are fucked big style.
 

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napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Fair point, but it doesn't fill a page! Maslow's theory, however, is probably worth referencing.
 

g386smith

Swinger
I agree totally with everything mentioned.

The real shock for soldiers and their families is the true cost of living in the real world.

There's no welfare staff to cry to if you can't afford the £200 - £400 a month rent in the real world.

No MHS to fix anything wrong with your home, and no DIO or welfare staff to sort next door noise.

It essential to educate soldiers as early as possible how too invest for the future, and invest wisely.




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Devon_Walker

Old-Salt
OP you infer some of our Forces personnel may be institutionalized. No intention of insulting anyone but no doubt the transition is difficult for some who haven't played in the civvy system. But experiences will differ, some good and some not so good, surely. After fifteen years in the Regs the transition was a slog for me in many ways, but not just in housing and financial. The traps outside are everywhere, contracts, tax, renting, the list of unscrupulous chancers and minefields is a long one. Can it be done on Resettlement? SafeStart for Forces, not so ridiculous is it.

Life Skills are useful to everyone for good reasons, even now I wouldn't turn down the chance of a refresher, because we get lazy and complacent. Who knows everything? That said, the competent and level headed types won't have a problem. The part when you hand your ID card in and pass the gate on the way out, that aint a great day. That seems the right time for admin risks to be picked up by a trained Buddy, maybe trained up by the CAB, and been on both sides. These people are living in almost every community.

There was always clearing from Unit, but is there a system to get everything done outside IF PEOPLE HAVE NEVER DONE IT ; registrations, GP, council, tax, utilities, phone, rent contract or mortgage? They mustn't feel "different" or like kids, or insulted. The system could offer it sensibly so people could get it right from day one, rent agreement, estate agent, or mortgage, utilities, councils. More chance of a stable start for the future. And a SafeStart for the families.
 
OP, as an aunt sally, not bad, although you haven't told us where it is aimed at. You make some valuable points, but I am not sure the comparison with prisoners is either relevant or appropriate.

What you miss is the very valuable life skills that the services provide. In general, most joiners come straight from home and often into their first job. They very quickly gain life skills, including self reliance, a work ethic, teamwork. They are joining an aspirational career, in that promotion is a realistic goal and can be a regular occurrence.

Along the way, though, they do become institutionalised over time. I know I was after 24 years in green. I wonder why it is necessary, in the 21st century to institutionalise people in the first place. The great strengths of the British Army lie in its institutions, but they do not necessarily prepare people for the life after service.

There are a great many people outside who never really stand on their own two feet. There are also a great many who are institutionalised to a greater or less degree. Mentoring and coaching can be very powerful in getting people towards the top of Maslow's hierarchy. There is precious little effective coaching and mentoring in the Army; perhaps it is time to adapt.
 

g386smith

Swinger
There is a massive amount of support out their for service leavers and veterans.

The main issues are:

The soldier not fully understanding or been given the correct advice in advance.

CoC not understanding the support the soldier requires.

The soldier not knowing what welfare or advice is available.


Soldiers are now being educated from training on life skills, this can only be a good thing.

Am sure the answer on most people lips is UWO and staff.

Within reason welfare staff are not trained in housing, finance ect ect. Will sign post to the correct organisation to help the soldier.

There are over 300 charities and organisation out there that help service and ex service personnel.

Remember why wait till the last 6 months of service to resettle, and understand the system.

START NOW









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Am sure the answer on most people lips is UWO and staff.

There are over 300 charities and organisation out there that help service and ex service personnel.
The problem is that the UWO is part of the institution. He or she has not made the transition from service to employment in the wider world and will never have faced the issues.

Whilst you point about charities is true, I think there is something pretty wrong of soldiers have to rely on the third sector for help. I don't think the services (particularly the CTP) makes anywhere near enough use of ex-service people as mentors and coaches.

To give an example, a business associate of mine and I approached the CTP with a proposal to run workshops, coaching and mentoring for leavers who were looking to set their own businesses. We were somewhat surprised to be told that our proposal was only suitable for officers, particularly as my friend left as a WO2!
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Thanks very much for the points made so far. To reference this, I'm working on a Govt sponsored review of transition (Welcome to the Veterans' Transition Review wesbite - typo seen) which will be published in the new year and I've recently left after 22 years myself. I acknowledge that individuals are, well, individual, so degrees of institutionalisation will differ greatly and I have reduced the emphasis on the comparison between ex services and those in the judicial system accordingly. The points about in-service advice are valid - there are some examples of very good service and some awful ones (funnily enough the RAF are best at informing and administering in service learning and transition). Please keep your comments coming.
 

Devon_Walker

Old-Salt
Napier, if the RAF can do it.... In-service resettlement seems very important if not a vital provision. Forgive me if you are already aware of all of this, but it may be useful for those who don't know everything that is out there. Resettlement doesn't have to involve contractors, and if it did not involve contractors but did use a co-operative of service leavers, skilled personnel, veterans, and service educators then costs would presumably be low. With respect, Resettlement should primarily be based on Information, Advice and Guidance from qualified IAG workers at least qualified to Level 3 or 4. I'd accept nothing less from IAG services. In my job I have to build networks of support and guidance services, but it doesn't cost the client a penny apart from travel and any unavoidable costs they incur from their creditors. Networking is highly valuable for all concerned.

There are literally hundreds of military orientated charity organisations out there with specialists, it seems just a case of having to co-ordinate services to make Resettlement and stability work. Unfortunately and too often, people leave things til it's too late before they seek advice, when the damage is done. Credit records, tenancy contracts, Bank accounts and relationships with councils are all often damaged before people seek qualified advice.

Were it me in the position of leaving within a short time, perhaps I'd be glad of a Resettlement Centre with computers and reference libraries/materials. During the leaving phase, days could be profitably spent in these centres on camp perhaps. CAB's are full of leaflets, the government runs advice services. The CAB, Shelter, and local councils will visit, and leaflets on all sorts of subjects can be ordered. Personally it seems that if qualified charity and voluntary organisations are not used then they will continue to struggle, people like Forces BMA Advisors in CAB's will lose business and funding hand-over- fist. Such resources are free, invariably well trained and highly supervised. SHELTER workers and BMA's (Benefits and Money Advisors) in town CABs are invariably highly trained long-serving specialist advisers, or even lawyers. Those organisations carry a lot of clout, a long established reputation, and they have access to systems, legal information, and government institutions, systems rarely found in corporate businesses.

It's worth mentioning that the individual in almost disputes will not be able to present and defend their case alone. Many organisations will refuse to listen to them without the support of a qualified and well known advocate. They will simply take them to the cleaners. This is true of corporations, government, Tax, and most contracts. That is how things are outside. With respect, we should be preparing these valuable people for what lies ahead in that world outside.

https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/ ; Adviceguide, self help from Citizens Advice ; Advice - Trading Standards Institute ; Business guidance - Trading Standards Institute ; Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity - choose your location ; Benefits and Money Advice Service - The Royal British Legion.

Networking and Resettlement Support Centres have notice boards with info; local addresses, phone numbers, Skills for Life, local council contacts, voluntary advice networks, local CAB info, local council tax rates, lists of essentials for living in the community. These centres can be found on the High Street run by contractors to get people back to work or settle them down. In your scenario, service-leavers and supporters would co-operate to keep costs down and resettlement success rates up. One cannot believe that service leavers are incapable of reading information and making informed decisions with a bit of support. The central idea is that the co-operative, without contracting anything out to companies, concentrates efforts and funding directly towards the service leaver. Charities like Shelter, CAB, CAB Benefits and Money Advisors funded by the RAF Benevolent fund, the RBL, and other charities, often visit to lecture and hold advice sessions. These people are already paid.
 
Prob 1. MONEY. Without it and a regular income you have NOTHING
Prob2. HOUSING. Without it and linked to Prob1 you have NOTHING

Civ div does not and never has given a flying **** about Afghanistan, Iraq, Falklands, NI you name it. If you leave in good health then consider it a bonus so you can start afresh.
Oh 1 more thing, If you promised your wife a rosy life before you got married then be prepared to hit the divorce courts.

Sorry to paint a bleak view but that is what it is like in the world today. Start thinking sensibly NOW and just remember that all these people who print leaflets to "help" you, do so to make money and once they have done so the info on them is probably already outdated.
 
Have to agree with Tytus on this one.

The whole ressetlement process appears to "Big you up" into civvy street. The reality is you are nothing, you are just another person in the system.

Soon as you realsie that you are not owed anything for your service, life in civvies is quite a breeze.
 

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