Resettlement experiences

I've started this thread to hopefully allow those of you that have been through resettlement and who are now employed... or otherwise, as civilians, to post your experiences, tips, financial advice, pitfall avoiders etc.  your advice would be appreciated I'm sure :)
I was told that something like 75% of people leaving change their jobs within 15 months. I did.

Accept that you are going through an enormous change and don't resist the process.
I'm going to move this to 2 (UK) Civ Div forum as it is more appropriate there I think.
I accept that Prodigal but the mechanics of actually going through the forces resettlement package are what I think could be useful.


Book Reviewer
Many years since I did it, but having seen many others go through it, would recommend:


b) take all that is offered - do a course in something of another

c) Don't undersell yourself, but on the other hand don't expect to walk into a job with similar/better pay and perks - there aren't that many :(
I left in Nov 01. As I hadn't done 5 years I had the minimum support available (a job finders workshop...)
Didn't really find it that useful.

What I did find was that it's really true: - Its not what you know, it's who you know (and how well you can blag...)

I managed to land a job in IT support by knowing how to switch a computer on and knowing a bit of techy jargon. Obviously it depends how supportive your new employer is when they find out you know nil.

I agree with the above, never undersell yourself.


I left the mob just over two years ago, after a long 18 years in green. My first taste of resettlement was the CTW at Tidworth. As I arrived on the course I thought that I was just another institutuionalised squaddie about to go out there. However the trainer who ran the course was a real star. He spent three days (successfully) convincing all on the course that we had real and transferable skills to bring to the table in a civvy job.
The main point that I would like to make is that a lot of really good people in the forces have very valuable skills that can be transferred outside, where few people have had the opportunity that we have had to develop these skills so quickly.
As for the support and training that I got, I think that it was invaluable. Really helped me change my mindset. BUT this must be tempered by a desire to change and also the ability to change.
First rule is look at yourself, what can I do, what do I want to do, how do I achieve it.
Then get out there and sell yourself to the lucky employer who is going to make you an offer. As with all things the more you put into the experiance the more you will get out of it (i.e. job offer, salary, type of position that you want).


All above is sound advice.  On my resettlement course they said that 85% of all jobs going are unadvertised.  They also said that your links with the service are the best network you will ever have.

  • My job was not advertised
  • It was offered by someone I had served with 6 years previously ( network)
  • My cap badge has a civvy street Rv in a London pub where we all swap notes.... the network continues.

The resettlement package is good value, take everything you can: I didn't and now regret it.

You capbadge and mess is still a valuable asset long after  you leave.  It may seem like a jump into the void but never forget the ERV and your lost comms procedure.
You capbadge and mess is still a valuable asset long after  you leave.  It may seem like a jump into the void but never forget the ERV and your lost comms procedure.
Sound advice. Your service in the mil will be a better starting point than any CV. I walked out of the army (MD'd) and straight into a civvy job on the strength of my "little red book" and some buckshee certificates I had from the resettlement centre in Aldershot, even though I hadn't got the faintest idea what I was doing! (The skill that you pick up in the mob of bullsh1tting your way through any situation will serve you well!).

6 years later, I own a business in the field for which I trained on resettlement. You will be amazed how far a bit of "pull up the sandbag" banter gets you with prospective clients as well. The ex squaddies that are in positions to dish out work want to "keep it in the family" and the civvies just love to hear about it.

The one thing I will say to watch out for is unscrupulous employers taking the p1ss out of the inbuilt syndrome that we have when we leave to blindly follow orders. My first boss soon realised that I was the only one that didn't complain about being made to do overtime, getting sent around like an idiot on a Friday afternoon  and doing all the sh1tty jobs. It took me about a year to "adjust" to being a civvie and realising that your boss is not the OC and you CAN tell him to f*ck off!
I never took advantage of resettlement and as a result fell flat on my council gritter after about fourteen months.

1, if a civvy tells you he will be somewhere at a certain time, don't bank on it
2, ORG tells truths about bosses taking advantage of the typical Squaddie nature.
3, No need to be frightened of authority any more, no one will jail you for giving the gaffer a gob full or quietly sticking your nut on him ;D
4, Ensure you get paid, When you leave the forces the only person who ensures you get paid on time every time is you! everyone is out to stiff you and take you for a ride
5, you have to buy your own clothes, ooops sorry you do in the Army too

Resettlement shouldn't just be about training to be a computer engineer or alarm fitter it should also help you to adjust from the way in which you have been conditioned for so long
Ref para 3 above and ORG's final sentence...........yes, you could tell your employer to f**k off, or even stick your nut on him.........but both instances will lead to a charge of Gross Misconduct and instant dismissal (and I mean instant - escorted off the premises and dropping the keys to your company car at reception), so if you don't care about working there anymore, go ahead - but don't forget, civvies have their own networking system as well, and word will get round...............

Everything else is spot on. I would add that if you can add value to your offering, like an additional skill which might not be directly connected to your main job, that's good too. For example, military personnel usually make good trainers - bullsh***ing with confidence, used to talking in front of people, good at banter, it all helps!!! If you can get a trainers qualification to add to your other basic skill set, it opens other doors to you. I mean NVQ assessor/internal verifier, or the good old military qualification is good - an additional civvy equivalent is also good.
Incidentally, I would add that the quality of management in many civvy firms is generally quite poor. I advise you to anticipate that, keep your contempt and derision to yourself - the gist of MDN's post is accurate. It can benefit you to keep quiet - it won't be long until people notice how much better you are than your line manager. Your line manager will also notice it too, will inevitably feel threatened, so be prepared to be dumped on and given a hard time. Keep quiet and after a while, ask for promotion/a move or another job - your good reputation will go with you.
yes, you could tell your employer to f**k off, or even stick your nut on him.........but both instances will lead to a charge of Gross Misconduct and instant dismissal (and I mean instant - escorted off the premises and dropping the keys to your company car at reception), so if you don't care about working there anymore, go ahead - but don't forget, civvies have their own networking system as well, and word will get round
You didn't get my point.

Civvies are protected by laws. Employers can not break those laws (i.e. enforced overtime, dangerous working practices etc). If your employer tries to make you (as mine did), then you are quite within your rights to tell them to fcuk off.

You then sit there and PRAY that they fire you for it, just so you can sue the cnuts ;D
Aaaaahhh!! I understand now!!

Thta's a good point about knowing your legal rights. I know there's a lot more known about statutory requirements regarding Health and Safety amongst military folk, but does anyone know if your rights under Employment Law are made known to people in Resettlement?


This is an edited post from the AMS forum, but it gives the gist of my thoughts!

At your 15 year point:

1.  Start your resettlement now. (This annoys COs)

2.  Remember as a Cbt Med Tech,you have a trade that is worth very little in Civilian Strasse, therefore get it upgraded to  
Paramadic if you wish to carry on the motion when you get out.

3.  Get a NVQ 4 in Management (Sgts and above) or NVQ 3 (Cpls) about now. Look at Higher education now and get your learning credits.

4.  Start any house purchases now, as it gives me the fear, the number of soldiers who don't have their own homes when they leave, (£45,500 wont buy you a house)

5.  Do not waste your resettlement course, even if it is just Bee keeping, (Sorry Dave), make sure you use the service, I know people who have just poo pooed it!

6. Get your PDR going (Stop booing out there at the back) it is invaluble, wish I had one to fall back on.

7.  Look at college courses to help if you want to be a Bee Keeper for example!

8.  If you wait til your last two years it is to late, cos the two years is in reality about 2 months! (Feels like it)

9.  Have a good Dining out of the Mess! But dont expect 'mates' to come when you invite them!

10. All the above is what I found out the hard way! So please take it or leave it! Advice is free and like opinions, we all have some!

11. Make sure your CTP advisor is not a to$$er. (V important)

12. Dont be too gutted when your P45 turns up.

13. Apply for atleast 5 jobs from each job paper you look at! (Every time.)

14. Do not believe the CTW brief - that as a WO, Civ Div is gagging for you- it is not! They pi$$ in their pants when you mention you are an ex Sgt Major- so dont!

15. Ensure your CV doesnt mention the Army, civvyieze all military experiences, so they can understand it!

16. My going away interview with my CO was in the Admin corridor, as he rushed to his Mess tea and toast- he wished me well after 22 years!

17. Have a Recce of any interview locations and get the personell depts phone number in case your late!

18. Always ask for feed back on why you didnt get the job, they wont say "Well, Sid from Accounts was always going to get the job, but we had to advertise it!"

19.Give the TA a sniff, just to keep some dosh coming in!- keeps the wolves from the dugout!
QMan...para 16 above..... that's utterly disgraceful.  I don't doubt you, but sadly it shows how some CO's view their troops nowadays.  22 yrs is a long time and warrants more than a casual comment in the passing.  Name him and the unit on ARRSE when you leave.
Getting out and 'resettling' it comes to us all, you must however differentiate between 'getting out' and 'resettling'.  

Before you accept your 'little red book' see what Chairman Mao (in the form of the CO) his written in it. Mine was a complete load of bolux, so I asked for it to be rewritten. Back it went to the Coy Clerk (for I am sure that is who writes them out) and it was redone to my satisfaction. Having said that no one has ever asked to see it since.

Resettlement course, can't recall to much about that as it was, rather wisely, held in the back room of a pub!  ;D The tutor struggled through to about 11am and then it was liquid lunch time. Never have used the qualification I got out of that either- but it looks bloody good on my CV.

As I have been in the antipodes for the past few years I can draw the comparrrison between getting out of the Army and emigrating. If you have heard the colonials droning on about whinging Poms I will tell you just who they are.
Whinging Poms are the are people who come south on a whim without any preparation or planning, they are the ones who constantly whine about how good it was in UK and how its not the same as UK and you can't get 'real' Bisto or Marmite or the Conflakes are different (I have a Pom mate and she is always going on about these things!!) - well they are NOT in UK and those who don't ever get that message are the ones who struggle and eventually go back to whence they came.

Don't get out to join CivDiv on a whim, prep and plan NOW, also start to develop you contacts NOW, as has been said in this thread before its not what you know etc......................

You can 'get out' and become a UK version of a unsettled, culturely shocked, whinging Pom and live your life looking over your shoulder saying how much better it was in the mob or 'resettle', look forward and sieze every opportunity you can.

Lastly go and find the Corps/ Army Slang thread on this site (under Aviation) look at all the words and phrases that you use every day, on the day you get out - consign them to your minds history books. You don't know how much you will laugh when you see the things you used to say years later.  ;D ;D ;D


Apply for every job, My first offer was as a security guard. Shitty job and crap pay but at least it would have kept the wolves from the door. As it turned out The day I got the job offer I also had a job interview with a cable company. When I turned up it was with a guy who's brother I served with in the mob. After a coffee and doughnut, I got asked if I could start on Monday and the contract arrived in the post the next day.

10 years later, I am now a Systems Design Engineer working on rail projects for a big multinational company.

It took 5 years to reach equilibrium with my Army pay but now I am on a very good salery.

Make the most of your resettlement, be prepared to take the first job you get offered, you can always keep looking. Civvyize your CV so they understand what you are capable of. Get a mate outside to look at your CV to help you civilianise it if you can.


Great post above.

Once you get a job, $hitty as it maybe, its a job and you can learn to deal with civvies. I was aked was I ready for Civvy street? I am, but Civvy st isn't ready for me!

Most of my interviews came once I got my first job!


I went on the CV writing course at Tidworth armed with what I thought was a pretty good CV.

The lady there was quite ruthless in tweaking it until it was perfect, I'm entirely greateful to her.

A few Infantry guys turned up with nothing and had to start from scratch, so left at the end of the day with only a 50% tweaked CV.  When the women asked them if they could pad it out with transferable skills one of them said, "well, I can kill tanks".  He thought he was hilarious, but he was wasting his own and our time.

Once you think you've got a perfect CV, give it to as many civvy mates as you can and ask them what they think.  If they tell you that this sounds wrong or this info is irrelevant, take it on board and learn from it, you'll soon have a finely polished CV.

Go to all the Employment fairs you can and take a/m CV with you on decent paper.  Be wary of people not recruiting but just selling resettlement courses, they're wasting your time.

Prepare a 2 minute sales pitch about yourself so you can tell potential employers what you can do for them and what you are looking for. Practise this in front of friends/family so that it sounds natural and not robotic, first impressions count.

Get yourself on the internet, the world is at your fingertips.

If you're reading this, you're already party to the biggest store of information in the world.  Search for every single employment agency nationally and local to where you want to settle. Send them your polished CV and register with all the online agencies.

Register with RFEA ( subject to conditions, they are a good resource for employers wanting ex Bill Oddies for work and it's not all drivers and fork lift operators, there are some good OS opportunities.

Don't sell yourself short.  I joined straight from school and did nearly 15 years before I decided to call it a day.  I hadn't a clue about what to expect when I left and that goes for a lot of employers.  They expect people to turn up late, take a sicky or be unreliable because at the end of the day, they generally don't dish out extras. They would look to you who is someone who is always prompt, does what they say they will do, is always well turned out and will be a benefit to any company. lf you keep this up, you could well be in line for rapid promotion, it happened for me, but be good at knowing when to tow the line, having a "can do or wilco" attitude can make you unpopular with your colleagues and bosses tend to take advantage of it.

Sorry about the rushed format, I thought I'd just brain dump thought's from my experience.  If anyone would like advice on resettlement, please PM me and I'll help if I can.

Good luck to anyone trying this and keep your chin up, it will be a stressful time, but with the right attitude the MD of ICI better watch his job, coz it's got your name on it!

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