Veterans' Transition Review

Discussion in 'Transition & Veterans Research' started by napier, Feb 5, 2013.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    Veterans' Transition Review

    An independent review has been set up to look at the whole area of service personnel making the transition from the Forces to civilian life. As part of that, this sub forum has been set up to to engage with people who are going through or have been through the transition, to help us understand from the user's perspective what works and what doesn't, where the gaps are, what if anything needs to change, and so on. At this stage we are interested in capturing thoughts and perceptions. If anything useful comes of this (and yes, we are doing far more than just sticking a forum on ARRSE) at a later stage we may set up surveys to drill down into detail. These may require you to let us know a bit of your service history (it will be completely in confidence), e.g. how long in the Services, what branch, rank and job on leaving, how long ago you left. The review is tri-service and as this is predominantly an Army website I will be linking threads to Rum Ration, PPRUNE, Once a Marine, e-Goat, etc. to draw some of our cousins in to contribute. I understand that in doing this I'm sticking my head above the parapet for all you snipers out there, but this is an important review and ARRSE is potentially a very good source of useful info so please contribute in a positive way. If you wish to approach the review directly, you can go to Welcome to the Veterans' Transition Review website

    To prompt discussion, I'd like to throw a few questions out there:

    Preparation and advice

    Thinking back to the day you announced you were leaving (or were told you were leaving), what was the process like from that point? What courses/training/advice were you offered? Did you have time to make use of them?
    If you did, what did you think was worthwhile and what was not? (Why not?) Did it turn out to be useful?
    Can you think of anything that, looking back, you think "I wish someone had given me some advice about that" or I wish there had been a session on that"?
    We're you eligible for the full resettlement package, with access to the Career Transition Partnership? What did that consist of? How useful did you find it?
    Which bits were the most useful, and which were irrelevant? Were there any gaps which in hindsight you would have found it useful to have advice on?
    When you finally left, what were the biggest differences in life? Did you find them hard to get used to? Did they become a problem?

    Getting a job

    How easy or difficult did you find it to get your first job after you left? Was it through the CTP or another route? Was it through connections of your own or did you apply in the usual way?
    What was the attitude of employers towards your military experience - did they see it as a positive or a negative?
    What were the biggest barriers? [e.g. Lack of commercial experience, misconceptions about what Service personnel are like...?]
    Did you have qualifications from the Forces that employs recognised? Did anyone have qualifications or experience that would have enabled you to do a civilian job you had applied for, but which the employer didn't recognise?
    In retrospect, did you go into the right job? How long did you stay in the first job? We've head that people leaving the Forces quite often underestimate what they could do outside, or employers underestimate them, so they start off in jobs that are below what they could really do. Is there any truth in that?


    When you left, did you have somewhere to live lined up? Did you already have your own home? If you had been in quarters, how easy was it to find somewhere?
    Did anyone have any trouble getting accommodation? Were the authorities any help? Did it make any difference to them that you had been in the Forces?


    How easy was it to find a GP or a dentist? What were the problems?
    Did anyone have a health problem resulting from their Service that still needed attention? How was that dealt with once you left? Did the GP know/help?

    Military charities

    Has anyone had any help or advice from military charities, regimental associations etc? Which ones? How useful have they been?
    There are apparently something like 2,000 Forces charities. Would you know where to go if you needed help with something?

    Other people

    Does anyone know of people who have had a tough time since leaving (obviously don't name names). What problems have they had? What would have helped, if anything?
    You often hear that a high proportion of the prison population, or the homeless, are ex-military people. What do you think when you hear that - do you think it's something to do with the system, and that more could be done by the Government or the Forces to stop it happening, or do you tend to think that these people would probably have ended up in trouble anyway and the Forces aren't really responsible?
    At the moment, as you know, the longer you serve the more help you get to make the transition. Is that right? There is a bit of a debate going on at the moment about this: some argue that the longer serving people usually do quite well, while the ones who really need help (and are more likely to end up in trouble with the law) are the Early Service Leavers who have nothing much to go back to but get very little in terms of resettlement help. What do you think about that? Of the resources available, should more be devoted to Early Service Leavers or saved for those who have given more time to the Services?

    Final points

    As you probably know, the point of the Armed Forces Covenant is to try and ensure that Service personnel and former personnel are not disadvantaged as a result of hang been in the Forces. Other than the stuff above, can you think of any ways in which you or people you served with have been disadvantaged? What could be done to make sure that doesn't happen in future? [e.g. Credit, mortgages, mobile phone contracts, schools, health care...]
    Overall, do you oh think being in the Forces has helped you get on in life since you left, or has it been a hindrance?
    Any other points you want to make?

    Thanks very much.
  2. Having been a regular (18+ yrs), FTRS (FC 6+ yrs) and NRPS (7+ yrs) with gaps in between, are you purely interested in the experience of regular to civvy or the wider transition experience?
  3. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    With the increasing use of reserves and the flexibility envisaged by the upcoming NEM I think all experiences are relevant. We are grouping our initial research around 4 main pillars: Education, Employment, Health and Housing - plus a catch-all of welfare. At this stage the funnel is pretty wide - we'll refine later once we have zeroed in on the key issues.
  4. Bowmore_Assassin

    Bowmore_Assassin LE Moderator Book Reviewer


    I left on Ph 2 redundancy in Dec 12 as a volunteer.

    I will happily answer all of your questions but I am assuming the same ones are asked on the website ? Writing an essay on ARRSE is not where I want to be !

    Posted from the ARRSE Mobile app (iOS or Android)
  5. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    The website is not particularly interactive, although it does allow you to post comments. If possible, I'd ask people to post on here where possible in order to kick off a few discussions which I can then split off into separate threads.
  6. Bad CO

    Bad CO LE Admin Reviews Editor Gallery Guru

    I signed off just before Xmas so am currently enjoying the benefits of the full resettlement package. So far key observations are:

    • Actually getting confirmation on JPA that my PVR had been approved involved a surprisingly large amount of effort. This included numerous phone calls and emails between myself, the admin team here and APC
    • Getting access to a stage 2 resettlement interview at the AEC also involved more work than I was expecting.
    • The CTW I attended was very good and I'm looking forward to some of the other events.
  7. 1. Leaving on Options for change

    The unit I was attached to (2 Sigs) provided excellent admin & financial advice on redundancy packages, you could pop in any-time as they had staff set aside to answer all queries those on redundancy may have had. They ran the redundancy calculator which could even tell you which was the best date to leave for pension or lump sum reasons or the median point which helped tremendously. I received an OK resettlement briefing at Catterick, was handed a list of resettlement courses but few of them were even remotely suitable and those that were suitable were fully subscribed. On looking back I think a briefing on housing availability and the employment situation in the area I'd decided to settle in would have been a good thing as it could have enabled me to better target those employers I may have had a chance of being employed by.

    The hardest things to get used to were trying to find out information for myself, learning how to use the job centre and what it could/would do for you. Finding a doctor was easy, finding a dentist not so easy.

    I got my first interview before I left and it was with Group 4 as a Custody Officer. I passed the psychometric testing with the highest score out of 50 applicants on the day, was interviewed by a tiffy who'd left on the first phase of redundancy who told me I'd been accepted, got measured for uniform and 3 weeks later got told I had been found not suitable. I later got told by a mate who did get selected but turned it down that I was better qualified for the interviewers job as fleet manager and he'd feared I'd take his job over because of my qualifications and experience!

    I got another chance with Thysen Engineering as their engineering manager near Pontefract. On my interview with the board (undertaken in a massive boardroom with the biggest table I've ever seen with three men opposite me) one of the directors actually questioned my knowledge of engineering saying that "the army doesn't need engineers as it just runs through the woods wearing combats and shooting guns"! I came 2nd out of 5 and only because the guy that got the job could better demonstrate the managing of budgets, having just come from a budgeting (not engineering) job.

    My first job came after 6 months and hundreds of applications, most of which weren't acknowledged, and came through the RFEA office in Hull and was for inspecting Toyota's being shipped out of Grimsby. Both of us (the other guy was also REME) were made redundant about 10 months later as we had virtually stopped the damage to cars on port of exit so they moved the jobs to port(s) of entry.

    I got my next job 7 months later through the job centre but resigned to go to a much better paid job (3 months) which again came through the job centre. Again I resigned from this job to move to a better paid job (Leconfield) and resigned from this one for the same reasons about 10 months later. I resigned from this job (Prison Service) to go on FTRS (FC) which was about 6 years after redundancy from the army.

    Looking at the jobs I applied for, jobs I was interviewed for and jobs I was employed at I'd say initially I considered jobs I knew I could do based on my experience(s) over 18 years in the army. It seemed to me however that if you got through the sift and were lucky enough to be interviewed, it was difficult to crack the "you can't have done that in the army" mentality. In the Hull area it was also (certainly at the time) difficult to gain employment in the fields best suited to my quals & exp if you couldn't demonstrate employment in another local company in similar work and would always lose out to people who could.

    Housing wasn't a problem as I'd planned ahead and bought my own house, moving my family into it when Options was first announced and seeing the writing on the wall.

    In the 3 years or so I was employed by the Prison Service I was never made aware of any ex servicemen other than many of my fellow prison officers. If there is a significant ex service personnel population in prisons then maybe that is something the Home Office (or whatever it is called this week) could pay SSAFA to get engaged with on welfare, housing, benefits and employment on release.

    2. Leaving after 6 years FTRS (FC).

    When I went on FTRS in 1999 there was no entitlement or provision for resettlement on leaving. Once I learned through the grapevine that all our IPT officers (inc the DIPTL) at Wilton were all leaving and, not surprisingly had gained employment with related employers, I looked into the resettlement qualifying criteria and wrote to HQ Land asking why there was no provision for FTRS (FC) that fulfilled the same criteria as regular soldiers. After a few weeks I received a letter informing me that as I had raised the issue it had been looked at and the decision was that those meeting the appropriate criteria could attend the 3 day workshop. I know of others who have also attended since, but no-one as far as I'm aware has qualified for courses.

    On my return to civvy street I went to the local job centre to register as unemployed and for my NI stamp. They refused to accept I had been employed on a contract which had ended and insisted I had made myself un-employed so I could not get unemployment benefit and did not even qualify for free school meals for my youngest child.

    Luckily enough before I left FTRS I had applied for an NRPS post that had just been created and then received a telephone call the second week of unemployment asking me to come up to 51 Bde for an interview the following week which I did and was offered the job! I sold my house and re-located the family after getting through my probation year at my own expense as there was no provision for re-location expenses for NRPS.

    3. Leaving after 7 years NRPS

    NRPS has no entitlement to resettlement, despite the potential for people to be employed for 20 years. This can create problems for those serving so long as there are people who do not/cannot plan for their future on leaving and need/want to carry on working. Obviously with the demise of NRPS this will disappear but there are significant numbers that, at the moment at least, have many years in and many still to serve.

    As people on here may be well aware, I was (eventually) medically discharged after 7 years following a serious leg injury sustained at work. I received no help or advice from my unit, was not recorded on WISMIS, and was basically ignored for 3 years until my medical discharge. I thought at the time the lack of advice and consideration was a personal thing and was quite depressed by the way I'd been treated but since my leaving both military and civilian staff who have left for pastures new have been treated in a similar fashion (apart from those who had ingratiated themselves with the unit CoC that is).

    As my wife, and to a limited amount myself, are involved with SSAFA I can say that many ex-service personnel in my local area use them as the support of first choice. The Black Watch Association are excellent at supporting their veterans and bereaved families and the REME Welfare staff at Arborfield have been very supportive to me and other bereaved families.

    There are unfortunately many ex service personnel who abuse the support SSAFA provides, partly because they are "blaggers" and partly because SSAFA are a non-judgemental organisation and therefore try to help everyone despite years of welfare support to certain individuals.

    Whereas I think the info on the SPVA website has improved markedly in the last few years I do believe it can be better. Below is a link from their site which provides tremendous info on organisations and associations and is an example of good info provision:

    Ex Service Organisations and Registered Charities
    • Like Like x 2
  8. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    Thanks ES & BCO for your candour. Does anyone have a view on the wide variety of service providers out there (charity, local govt, NHS. etc.)?
  9. Apart from my comments about SSAFA my only other personal views on Charity & Welfare supporting agencies is the excellent support & advice from The Royal British Legion (Scotland) I received during my battles against SPVA about my AFCS application and War Pensions.

    The Pensions and Welfare Officer (NR) based at the HQ in Edinburgh is approachable, knowledgeable and supported me excellently at my 1st Tier Tribunal (and they were very fair too, particularly as they found in my favour :), but I'd say that even if they didn't). He still takes my calls on my War Pension battles and is very supportive.

    The Royal British Legion in England however didn't even bother their arrse to offer advice or assistance to questions I asked them regarding case histories on NISHL apart from a "speak to RBL(S) and here's their email address comment. NISHL claims are almost bound to fail due to a change in legislation designed to limit the number of claims. In effect if your claim is rejected, the legislation allows you to challenge the decision at Tribunal but the Tribunal does not have the authority to find in your favour against the legislation! Absolutely barking, particularly as the MoD use only a part of the audiology testing available to make an assessment of your hearing which is conducted by non-audiologists!

    I found the process for applying for DLA quite confusing and the DWP staff very unhelpful to say the least. Having filled in the form and submitted it I found it was rejected as it had become superseded by the time it got to an assessor! I then filled out the new on-line form and that got rejected. I talked to the DWP about in on the phone as this was all new to me and they took all my info down and promptly rejected my application again so, fuming by this time, I went to my first Tribunal. The Tribunal was very well managed and found unanimously in my favour :)clap:). I learned a very important lesson whilst sat in the waiting room before my case was heard though; I was the only one their with NO representation. Afterwards I went on to find out there was a great number of organisations out there are who are available to either represent you at Tribunal or support you and that IS important.

    Edited to add:

    I really must get my priorities right. When posting the above I missed the Brazil goal and only just caught Frank Lampards winner :boogie:
  10. napier

    napier LE Moderator Reviewer

    ES, thanks for your contribution to the VTR website.
  11. Ladies and Gents. Can you please help Napier out?

    If you do, I'll post my story. You may fall asleep, but hey ho.
  12. Served 15 yrs REME left options 3 as WO2.

    Since, been employed , been self employed , run a business broad scope of things

    Do your OWN research. Don't expect some jonny educator to have experience. Take everything you can get and more. British Army background is seen by many organisations as a great training background. At least you will not be a sickie drain.

    Decision: What do I like or not like doing? If you have never been in an office job and enjoyed it you will not enjoy it in civ street. I saw many people try to move into "administration" jobs only to see them turn manic in a few weeks. If you are a hands on man then get a hands on job.

    If you cannot do something, do not be afraid to say so. I'm not saying don't have a can-do attitude but if you screw up in civ life then you will not get any points for trying. If you have any faults then know them and get them addressed when you are still in. I know of several cases of alchos who tried to keep it up on the outside, all of them ended in tears.

    Training is far more important for private companies, not knocking the NVQ system but the only people it impresses are public concern NVQ assessors. Always always be prepared to learn new skills, even if it costs you to do so.

    I think we all know the answer to that one, start when you are in your 20s. You will not get on a council list, you will either not get a mortgage when you are 40 or you will have to slave to get it paid off. If you want to spend your life in a rental place with some dodgy landlord then up to you.

    Family reliance.
    Mrs Barnowl collapsed with a MI when I had been a 6 day Civvy. She got better after a bit but basically expect the unexpected. Don't expect the Mrs to support you later, it is well known that women get iller than men in their 40s onward.

    Doctor no problem, just book an appointment to see your local GP. He will get your medical records and advise you of what a health hazzard you are to yourself. Dentist, try to get one who will take on Denplan patients, make sure you get all the work done in the mouth whilst you are still serving and with a bit of luck your Dental surgeon will be able to recommend you someone in your new area. If you just rock up at a dental practice you will be charged a fortune.

    Service attitude.
    Remember when you were a recruit and you were told to keep your mouth shut? Do it in Civ div because there are people out to **** you and there is no mess to have a quiet word in. Don't put yourself in the firing line. You can be sacked for swearing at someone or in the wrong earshot.

    Today there is practically none, unless you have been seriously injured. Be fair, if you have your health when you leave think about the plight of someone blinded or an amputee. If you really need assistance then make sure you have offered to help first. That way your particular plight will become known and you will not be a stranger to the system.

    Loads more I'm sure but this should give you a start in your next phase of life.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. It took longer than I had imagined to get a job, or more applications at any rate. I was offered two jobs before the end of my resettlement but with a family to support I became anxious towards the end when I may (in different circumstances) have had a gap in earnings to plug from savings. I was genuinely surprised at how many companies just did not respond to applications.

    The point above by T_Barnowl re: workplace language is very valid. It is wider than swearing - inappropriate language in the civilian world may be completely fine in the Army so it may come as a shock to find yourself on the wrong end of a disciplinary hearing.

    CTP was good for CV writing and it sets you up well enough but, as you will be for the rest of your life, you are on your own for the mostpart
  14. I'll give my 2p. I left in 1989 but am in a small way able to offer some work experience for service leavers. I have been trying to get someone in the MOD's outplacement organisation and got no where. I have been by ex military outplacement organisation that the outsourced service provided by whoever the MOD has given the contract to are useless. Thus far I agree having had no response or acknowledgement of my communications.
  15. You must be nearing retirement by now? Don't you think you have flogged a dead horse for long enough?