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Veterans' Transition Review

I too departed in Dec 12.

Of everything I did, the Career Transition Workshop was exceptional. I attended a rank-specific course (which I would advise anyone to do - too broad otherwise) that gave me a lot of good information.

The worst aspect by far was the overly complicated JPA aspect of resettlement. Shockingly bad in design and execution, it sucked the life from me every time I tried to log activity / leave / courses. The claim system left me utterly despondent and I ended up not claiming for some allowances / mileage because it was so tedious.There is a real need to pull through that part of JPA with a wire brush.

Also - one resettlement clerk on unit was not enough.
 
I am also really interested in you views on a number of developments in this area of Transition. Perhaps in particular with reference to how the MoD helps service leavers out with their use of social media, www, youtube etc. Perhaps I could commend a couple of links to you all for comment.

01. Introduction by DG Pers -- Maj Gen Richard Nugee CBE - YouTube

Transition to civilian life - British Army Website

I have my own views on these but as someone who has yet to Transition they may be jaundiced.
 
ok i'll post re the houseing, but this relates to a jul2010 med discharge

i was informed in the november at the psmb (i knew it was coming a month beforehand anyway) i contacted the council i whished ot relocate to and duely registered on there houseing list (unable ot bid untill i could confirm my status)

once i recieved the paperwork from glasgow i emailed a copy (wiht blanked out parts) to them to confimr the status, i was given a bidding number and proceeded to start placing bids under choice based letting scheme they operate,

3 months before my out date i recieved the paperwork from defence houseing, i sent copies to the council office, and carried on bidding, i liased with my local houseing department (defence housing) and the chosen council weekly from the last month of service, at this last month stage i asked and was granted FTOD extension for 3 months in the hope of being able to move, on my final day of service i recived my notice to quit and forwaded it along to he council

in tandem i also completed forms that allowed defence houseing and the council officer assigned to be my case worker permission to discuss the matter (so theycould confirm thing directly)

as the house i was occupying was needed by the mod my eviction process was started and i was sent the a notice to attend court for a hearing to be conducted in late septmeber (2 days after my 3 months grace expired) i sent a copy to the council case worker and my banding of "need" was changed from bronze to silver, and i carried on bidding, early spetember i recived a call from a local housing authority to offer me the chance to fill out there paperwork with a view to being offerd a tenancy, i did this via email, i emailed bits to all sorts of people as required, i managed to get hte court date canceld wiht defence housing 1 week prior to it being sheduled i also requested that my FTOD be extend again (removals),

1 month after irregular occupancy started i finally moved into the property i was contacted about in september (as it turned out the october half term week)

the problems asside form the not knowing or being able to do anything about the problem (where are we going to live) what do we do about schoolling, how do we stand re supply contracts, how are we going to move (it wasnt certain untill after it was aproved that the ftod would be extended)



i recieved some help from my unit RAO dept in getting the extension sorted out but it was me who dug up the regulations on how to do it and where to send the request (the guy had never heard of doing it before i asked)
and i had the relevant paperwork signed by the famillies officer to get the applications sorted out.

i had a briefing from the local IERO that took 20 minutes on the day i was confirmed as gettng med discharged, i was supposed to get a full brief at a later date but he retired the end of that week and nobody replaced him untill the end of july

various of the army charities contacted me to inform me they existed and might be able to help but on closer inspection most were there purely to help those injured in iraq or afghan.

i spoke to someone at the spva welfare office who told me i could have an appointment wiht a welfare officer in 6 months time because ther ewere more urgent WIA cases that needed dealing with (and in my case that worked out fine)

so dureing this entire process the only person doing anything was me and had i not driven it from the start i would never have gotten anywhere but into a b+b once i had found out the information for myself and was undertaking to get things sorted out i was asked to insrtuct others (senior and junior) to me in what /who /where /how because i was the only person getting anywhere and there were 10 people leaving at the time who hadnt even started ot think about houseing etc, i am glad ot say i did offer each my help and 2 accepted it and we rehoused quickly as well following the process i outlined ot them, i have heard since that at least one of the others was turned out onto the street with a court order and another neded up in an emergency b+b

things are different if your WIA as opposed to injured or ill, theres help available once your out but thats too late to be effective and usefull. i have been told by others things are largely area dependant in terms of what assistence you get locally and a lot of people dont seem to have the gumption to research anything off there own back, so unless the process of spoon feeding info to people in service and not being able to or not wanting to on discharge, leaving the service leaver feeling lost and alone and unable to adjust.

so if that hasnt changed it needs to
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
A point from the employers side of the fence:

I have been sent two CVs in the last two weeks for officers due to leave the service shortly and keen to start work in my area (City). Both came through the mates network rather than as a response to a specific job advert. Both of them gave me a pretty good idea of what they had done in their military careers, and convinced me that they would be quite good blokes to spend an evening in the mess with.

However, neither of them gave me any sort of feel for what they would be able to do for my company beyond the trite "leadership, management, works well under pressure" that you see on almost every CV, military or not.

In one case he had even managed to get some really relevant work placements within my industry and was over the first hurdle of the professional qualifications. He dismissed these in less than a quarter of a page, and spent the remaining 3/4rs explaining what he had done in AFG and staff roles since. Interesting to me, of no interest what so ever to my HR department.

Your CV is absolutely critical, and what I am seeing coming from people who are presumably going through the military career transition programme are so wide of the mark for my area as to be worthless. Find someone in the area you want to work in, buy them a pint and get them to help you make sure your CV is correctly written for your target audience, not the one size fits no-one transition models I am seeing.
 

Bowmore_Assassin

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
I left the Army on 12 December 2012. I was a volunteer on redundancy Tranche 2. I'll answer napiers questions directly, but in general terms my leaving process was complicated by the fact I was serving overseas (not ops and not Germany) which meant that utilising all on offer from a GRT point of view was not easy and indeed not possible. I did manage to use the full GRT time and the IRTG and my first hit on ELCs. I was also fortunate because my 1 and 2ROs were very supportive right from the moment I told them I had volunteered until the moment I left (unlike some I have heard about).

So, to napier's questions which I decided to answer as they give a comprehensive overview IMHO.

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?

Answer - My bosses were excellent and supportive. Not everyone has had the benefit of that.

What courses/training/advice were you offered? Did you have time to make use of them?

Answer - I went on the CTW 2 months beofre I got out - I wish I had done it earlier. Biggest issue was travel from overseas location back to UK - officially not allowed but my boss gave me reason to come back to UK on legitimate business and I tacked CTW and a 3 week course in Manchester Business School onto the back of that. There were other courses I wanted to do but the timeframe did not fit. Also, a couple of courses I booked onto which I could have made were cancelled which was very annoying and disappointing. Because of my location, I was not able to just nip to the Education Centre or Resettlement Centres to take advantage of briefings etc. I have to say the CTW was excellent.


If you did, what did you think was worthwhile and what was not? (Why not?) Did it turn out to be useful?

Answer. CTW was excellent.

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"?

Answer. I think the CTP is fit for purpose. However, on top of this, what I think we really need is some kind of counselling to prepare people for the transition to civdiv. After 26 years service, I have found the adjustment to civvy street hard. Without going all emotional, I miss the life, the sense of purpose, duty and honour, the fun and the adventure. My sister has rightly pointed out I am going through a bereavement - this was not something I was expecting as I had the typical, 'feck it, I'm a soldier, I can hack anything, especially an easy life in civvy street.' I don't have PTSD and I am not aware (bar the typical military attitude and lunacy) that I have any psych type issues but I am definitely going through a transition which is not much fun. No-one tells you about this, it's not even discussed. Life in civdiv is so different and the standards so much lower that it becomes a trial. This needs to be discussed openly and people need to know a bereavement is coming. And families need it too.

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?

Answer. CTP is useful and fit for purpose (bar courses being cancelled). Biggest issue is the paperwork, If was not for the resettlement adviser in Woolwich AEC (thank you) I would have lost the will to live. It is too complex, too repetitve and massivley time consuming. ELCs on the other hand were relatively simple...

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?

Answer. CTW was good, especially interview technique training. I must admit, transition to civdiv has been far more expensive than I thought. The furniture we humped around the world and in and out of storage looked very tired in a new house and most of it needed sorting/replacing – IKEA does not travel well and it may be ok in a quarter but in the real world this is a bit different. Also, if renting you need a wedge of cash to sort that out. Council tax is generally more that CILOCT, as are water bills etc (if you are used to living overseas, stand-by. Living in UK is very expensive).

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?

Answer, see paragraph above. Biggest differences ? Civdiv is mundane. There is no honour. People don't care about you. Jobs are uncertain and definitely not secure. Lack of camaraderie. To be honest I don't much like being a civvy.

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?

Answer - Started researching etc 8 months before I left and secured a job after 6 months. During that 6 months, I spent 30-50% of each day researching, net-working, applying for jobs. The support from my bosses made this possible. It was hard-work, educational and interesting. Occasionally it was frustrating and dis-heartening – civvy companies are impersonal and rude in many cases. Downright ignorant in others. There is little doubt that outside of the commercial defence industry, there is a stereo-typical view of the military and ergo, you must be someone who shouts at people all of the time and you like to kill people. Some of the comments I have heard since starting in civdiv would be comical to most people still serving – out here you wonder what planet some of these people are on. Let’s be clear – your average civvy does not understand the totality what you do as a military individual – all they see is the blokes who go on patrol with Ross Kemp and this is not what most of them want to employ.

What was the attitude of employers towards your military experience - did they see it as a positive or a negative?

Answer - There is little doubt that outside of the commercial defence industry, there is a stereo-typical view of the military and ergo, you must be someone who shouts at people all of the time and you like to kill people. Some of the comments I have heard since starting in civdiv would be comical to most people still serving – out here you just wonder what planet some of these people are on and what they have been watching. Let’s be clear – your average civvy does not understand what you do as a military individual – all they see is the blokes who go on patrol with Ross Kemp and ludicrous movies like the Hurt Locker; this forms their view of the military and this is not what most of them want to employ.

What were the biggest barriers? [e.g. Lack of commercial experience, misconceptions about what Service personnel are like...?]

Answer – Stereotyped views of what soldiers/officers are. Lack of commercial experience. Those were the two reasons, on every occasion (where a company bothered to respond) that stopped me getting interviews/a job.

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?

Answer – Managed to gain a few civ quals over the years so I did not need to rely soley on military stuff.

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?

Answer – Absolutely. I ended up as an operations manager but could easily do the two jobs above me. I did join a company that actively recruits people and then seems to employ them a level or two below where they came from as they want to raise the bar (thats not how they sell it). When I questioned this, they admitted I had the leadership experience etc to go in at Director level but my lack of commercial experience counted against me. Am I in the right job ? I joined them anyway to gain that experience as fast as possible and get some commercial acumen on the CV; either they need to promote me relatively quickly or I’ll move on. Anyway, I am not in this now for a full career with one company. Now I am out I want to do different things and gain different experiences so moving around seems the right thing to do.

Housing

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?

Answer – I intended to stay overseas with the company I currently work for and we were looking to buy overseas. But then they screwed up the visa so I had to return to UK. Currently renting (easy to do but you need plenty of cash to start with), looking at options to buy but might stay with renting as I am not clear yet when I will move….

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?

Answer – Went private so not applicable.

Health

How easy was it to find a GP or a dentist? What were the problems?

Answer - Signed up. Pretty straightforward.

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?

Answer – Carrying injuries and in pain daily. Non-combat related. Mainly wear and tear from military related activity and sport injuries. I’ll be claiming I think…lets see how that goes.

Military charities

Has anyone had any help or advice from military charities, regimental associations etc? Which ones? How useful have they been?

Answer – Not yet but I will contact the RBL (I am a member) when I start putting my injuries claim together.

There are apparently something like 2,000 Forces charities. Would you know where to go if you needed help with something?

Answer – Yes. And Google is your friend !

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?

Answer - Yes. Other than those I know who are carrying serious combat injuries, problems include adjusting to civdiv (anger management), heavy drinking (I know, part of the life in the Army but I am clear the discipline and fitness we have whilst serving keeps those prone to alcoholism away from the knife edge). What could help ? See my earlier paragraph ref counselling for transition.

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?

Answer – Preparing people psychologically to become civvies would make a difference. The Army molds you and cnhanges you to transform yourself and become a soldier - we don't do it the other way round...why not ?

Maybe we could get people in civdiv to become mentors so that everyone leaving has a mentor and this then roles out and becomes self perpetuating. It could be managed by the RBL perhaps ? I think everyone should be actively encouraged to join the RBL anyway so it can then turn itself on its head and become a bigger and better organisation than it is so it is in a position to help everyone, including a follow up service once you are out. There will always be an element who are beyond help but I think we can take care of more people and prepare them better.

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?

Answer – If you have served, you have volunteered to defend this nation and put your life in harms way. The minimum payback for everyone should be what the current maximum GRT etc is now, regardless of length of service. This is a bit like the Jubilee medal saga – time served discriminated against some who should not have been discriminated against. We are all in it together so why not ?

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...]

Answer -

Credit rating system discriminates against military personnel and needs an industry fix.

The medical issues many leave with could be handled so much better if veterans still had access to military medical facilities (GPs in bases in particular and then military wings in the NHS hospitals) – comes at a cost but at the moment the cost is borne by the NHS anyway so it merely becomes a transferal of funding.

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?

Answer – Difficult to answer as I have only been out a short while. Most people respect I have served but they don’t really understand what that actually means.

Any other points you want to make?

Answer - We don’t utilise the veteran population to pressure Government enough because once you are out, you are on your own. We should strongly encourage all vets to join the RBL and the AFPS – both good organisations fundamentally but needing membership to increase dramatically to become more effective. Stuff like this is never discussed with leavers but it should be. We need to start working harder at looking after each other once we are out.
 
Answer – Preparing people psychologically to become civvies would make a difference. The Army molds you and cnhanges you to transform yourself and become a soldier - we don't do it the other way round...why not ?

Maybe we could get people in civdiv to become mentors so that everyone leaving has a mentor and this then roles out and becomes self perpetuating. It could be managed by the RBL perhaps ? I think everyone should be actively encouraged to join the RBL anyway so it can then turn itself on its head and become a bigger and better organisation than it is so it is in a position to help everyone, including a follow up service once you are out. There will always be an element who are beyond help but I think we can take care of more people and prepare them better.

Bowmore, much of what you say is relevant but as you know civvy street takes no prisoners. The best advice I could give anyone is to go back to basic training and keep the gob shut. There is a different ethos in civ but also there are greater opportunities to excel. IE if you don't like a particular job, make the life easy and spend time looking for a better one. Its not like having a shit posting then having to wait 3 years before moving on.
Part of the problem has to be in the majority of cases people leave home , straight into the Army then spend the next however many years entrenched within the Army system. OK the Army generally loves those who embrace the existence fully 24/7 but they are forgotten about as soon as they leave. The resettlement education needs to start much earlier, especially in terms of housing, but it also does no harm whilst serving to have civilian friends perhaps as a common shared sports interest. This in effect needs to be instilled into young soldiers and I certainly cannot see the Army signing up to that idea.
 
Answer – Preparing people psychologically to become civvies would make a difference. The Army molds you and cnhanges you to transform yourself and become a soldier - we don't do it the other way round...why not ?

Maybe we could get people in civdiv to become mentors so that everyone leaving has a mentor and this then roles out and becomes self perpetuating. It could be managed by the RBL perhaps ? I think everyone should be actively encouraged to join the RBL anyway so it can then turn itself on its head and become a bigger and better organisation than it is so it is in a position to help everyone, including a follow up service once you are out. There will always be an element who are beyond help but I think we can take care of more people and prepare them better.

Bowmore, much of what you say is relevant but as you know civvy street takes no prisoners. The best advice I could give anyone is to go back to basic training and keep the gob shut. There is a different ethos in civ but also there are greater opportunities to excel. IE if you don't like a particular job, make the life easy and spend time looking for a better one. Its not like having a shit posting then having to wait 3 years before moving on.
Part of the problem has to be in the majority of cases people leave home , straight into the Army then spend the next however many years entrenched within the Army system. OK the Army generally loves those who embrace the existence fully 24/7 but they are forgotten about as soon as they leave. The resettlement education needs to start much earlier, especially in terms of housing, but it also does no harm whilst serving to have civilian friends perhaps as a common shared sports interest. This in effect needs to be instilled into young soldiers and I certainly cannot see the Army signing up to that idea.

perhaps the JSHAO could produce training material in order to provide service personnel an annual briefing in similar context of that done with other subjects as part of annual training requirements, perhaps invite a civi group to carryout the briefings and answer questions, the access to there briefings is rather limited although generally useful and applicable to pretty much everyone.

the danger of the transitional period being too long is the potential to create to many jaded people in there later years of service, I think that would require a large working group to figure it out
 
Agree absolutely. The Army as much as any organisation needs their pound of flesh. I left nearly 20 years ago after what was deemed the re-org and cut down of manpower like never before (apart from the end of NS). Look how many cuts there have been since then. I can even see the day when the 22yr is reduced exclusions given to the more expensive of trades to train.
The big difficulty for people in the Armed forces is housing. For a young man who joined in 1991 avg price being £50,000 and falling having to leave and buy now into a market that is starting to move upwards again from £200,000. You don't want that on top of a new career.
 
yeah and unless your into wading through a lot of heavy books (a lot still aren't digitised yet) you will need some serious guidance particularly if your were expecting to just rock up to a council office on leaving day and say hi......you need to be doing that at least 12 months in advance of your end date if your not a mega bucks home owner

with the job market many will be trotting off to the dole queue especially if they didn't get transferable qualifications before leaving, particularly true with those on bad conduct discharges (not the ones residing at HMP's) who are disqualified from any help, which ironically is likely to make them more inclined to commit crimes and make there situation worse.
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
How interested are you in the experience of those medically discharged?

If you have some valid points to make, then very.
 

napier

LE
Moderator
Kit Reviewer
Thankyou Napier - will do..What deadline are you working towards?

Hope to have a good preliminary draft by autumn, so the sooner you contribute, the longer we have to follow up. Don't be too miffed if you are not interviewed as I have had around 600 submissions via the website alone.
 

Lorax

Clanker
That is quite a sizeable input. I would be interested to have a look at the methodology adopted for the project. If you are part of Lord Ashcroft's team, do you know how this might be available to interested parties?

Many thanks
 

Jeffrey

Old-Salt
yeah and unless your into wading through a lot of heavy books (a lot still aren't digitised yet) you will need some serious guidance particularly if your were expecting to just rock up to a council office on leaving day and say hi......you need to be doing that at least 12 months in advance of your end date if your not a mega bucks home owner

with the job market many will be trotting off to the dole queue especially if they didn't get transferable qualifications before leaving, particularly true with those on bad conduct discharges (not the ones residing at HMP's) who are disqualified from any help, which ironically is likely to make them more inclined to commit crimes and make there situation worse.
Nanotm's last point here is one that needs to be addressed. Civilian prisoners are rehabilitated, are the facilities in place at MTCC or civilian prisons to rehabilitate Servicemen into civilian life?
 
Hi all,

I have just joined the site but I have been using it for information for quite a while. I wanted to join so that I can share any information I have to help anyone who may need it.


I was a regular for three years with Op Granby, Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan under my belt but my last stint was ten years as a Sponsored Reserve for FTX Logistics Ltd.
In January 2012 I was medically discharged with PTSD and depression which was diagnosed in March 2008. I have had an absolute nightmare time throughout my discharge process and it is still ongoing but I have gained a lot of information along the way.

I was lied to by both the Army and FTX throughout my treatment in the lead up to being discharged. My FTX contract stated that I "would be treated as a regular soldier" which up until the point of discharge I pretty much was. I had the usual crap about not having any information about pensions and resettlement etc before my discharge date with the added bonus of no one having a clue how my pension would be calculated as I wasn't paid by the Army. FTX just said that whatever the Army decided that was what I would get.

When I was finally discharged and de-kitted (it took me several weeks of phone calls and letters to finally get off the JPAC system) and lost my £25,500 pa job, I was told by the army that as I was a Sponsored Reserve, I don't qualify for a pension and I don't qualify for resettlement! When I asked what I was supposed to do for money now I was told to sign on!! Obviously I approached FTX who just gave me any remaining holiday pay and when I asked them it they thought it was fair that I lose my job and get nothing they actually said "life's not fair!" Eventually they said they could no longer discuss my situation and they referred me to their "customer" at Abbey Wood. (the "customer" referred me to the Army Personnel Centre who in turn told me I needed to talk to FTX!!!)

When I was first admitted for treatment I was given loads of forms to fill out, one of which was an AFCS claim form, I queried this at the time because I hadn't been diagnosed with anything at this point and I was told not to worry it could be changed at a later date. Within a few weeks I received a level 13 £5775 award (upgraded to £6000 after the Lord Boyce review) which was very welcome at the time but again I queried it as again it said it was full and final. Again, I was told not to worry.
Four years later, after my discharge, I contacted the AFCS and was told again that the initial payment was full and final (even though level 13 only covers up to a period of 2 years) I challenged this and after a lot of complaining, I was told to submit a Service Termination Review, I was eventually awarded a further £4000 as an "interim" payment which takes me to a level 12 tariff. I have queried why I have been given an interim award and very recently, after letters from my GP, they are currently re-assessing my claim. Also, after being told I would automatically be considered for a War Pension but finding out that I wasn't I now have a War Pension claim in progress.

In the last five years, I have spent a fortune on phone calls, I've written hundreds of letters and emails (all logged) and re-submitted countless forms after just about every military department has lost my files on several occasions. I have been blatantly lied to (I was once given a new contact number by SPVA and spent a week trying to get through only to find out it was the number for Blackpool Pleasure Beach!!!) I have even written to the Prime Minister (I got the reply today actually...they referred my letter to the MoD, that'll go nowhere then!) The stress of the last five years has resulted in the break up of my seven year relationship, trouble with the law (fighting) and I am now over £17000 in debt and I'm getting near to losing my house. I'm on Citalopram, morphine and Zopiclone and don't recognise myself any more! I am disgusted by the attitude of FTX and I'm ashamed of the Army Medical Discharge Process.

I am still awaiting the out come of all of this and will keep you all posted. I would urge any Sponsored Reserve to get conformation of EXACTLY what will happen if you are injured or killed while in green kit. Check your contracts carefully and get anything you are not sure about clarified in writing (DO IT NOW!). In my experience there has been a huge oversight in the drawing up of this Government PFI contract with FTX and the regulations for medical invaliding procedures of Sponsored Reserves are incomplete, vague and pretty much non existent!

Please feel free to PM me if you have any questions or concerns.

Take care guys

Gary
 

Jim_Research

Old-Salt
IMHO, A good review with some sound recommendations. There are many issues that require attention to make transition from military to civilian society as smooth as possible but I am pleased to see the fact that most veterans do well, get jobs and get on is clearly highlighted in this important document.

[Also posted on another thread]
 

elovabloke

ADC
Moderator
How interested are you in the experience of those medically discharged?
I suspect it all feeds in and helps with the exercise. From my own point of view because of what I may soon be doing I am very interested
 
Talk to me....after 22 was like been posted to another planet.... or re-awakening an old thread.
 

Barry_Trotter

Old-Salt
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?


Applied and was accepted for redundancy under Trache 2. 19+ years service so luckily received my immediate pension.

Had full support from my unit and RO.


Did you have time to make use of them?

Yes, and made full use of German Language courses.

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?

I was entitled to the full resettlement package and found the CTP very worthwhile and assisted me with compiling my Lebenslauf (German CV) which was very useful.


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?

On the whole I found the support from the CTP extremely helpful and well organised. As I was planning to stay in Germany, my only small problem was that at the time the Living and working in Germany leaflet was slightly out of date (now updated) and some of the information had changed (Unemployment benefits had been reduced from 2 years to 1year). Anyone wishing to remain in Germany now, need to be aware the German Government are hoping to further reduce benefits to 6 months for all EU migrants i.e. Harz IV.

The most useful was The CTP advisor who specifically dealt with service personnel remaining in Germany.


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?

The biggest difference was navigating the German bureaucratic system. Sometimes it could get very complicated.

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?

The bundesagentur für arbeit in the area where I have settled have no experience in dealing with British ex-servicemen. They hear the words "ex-soldier" and pigeon-hole you as unskilled or only fit for Security work. As I was receiving AG 1 (Unemployment benefit), I had to pay €500 to have my qualifications converted to the German equivalents by the IHK, and a further €100 to have my certificate of Service and Testimonial translated.

The IHK sent me a comprehensive list of all the German courses which I would be required to attend in order to receive the German certificate, so I had to decide which qualifications I wished to have converted. 12 months wasn't enough time to attend all the courses, as the bundesagentur für arbeit would only finance the training until my AG 1 ran out. After that I would be responsible to finance the courses myself, some of which were over €1500. In the end I have 4 German qualifications.


What was the attitude of employers towards your military experience - did they see it as a positive or a negative?

I have not worked in Germany as I am 50+ and considered by many German employers as too old to be gainfully employed. I have many German friends who are in this situation The bundesagentur für arbeit were indifferent to my service.

I have since started applying for jobs in the Netherlands.


What were the biggest barriers? [e.g. Lack of commercial experience, misconceptions about what Service personnel are like...?]

The biggest barriers are the German Job legislation. Most employers will not interview applicants unless they can speak German at minimum B1+ standard. Unless highly skilled migrants will only be employed in a job that no German citizen has applied for. In the German Lebenslauf you have to declare your date of birth, so they immediately know if you are over 50.


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?

The German system does not recognise any qualifications unless they are converted. The majority of Military qualifications have no German equivalents.


In retrospect, did you go into the right job? How long did you stay in the first job? We've heard 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?

As stated above, mostly unskilled or Security. Both are very low paid. They operate a Tariff system here, so most of the job adverts do not state the hourly rate of pay. The minimum wage is around €8,50 per hour and as I fall into tax code 5, after all the deductions I would be working for about €4 per hour. This wouldn't cover my travel expenses.

Housing


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?

Luckily we have our own home and the mortgage is paid.


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?


Accommodation in Germany is becoming scarce due to the current situation. Rented accommodation, prices are rising, again to the current situation. The best option is to have enough money to buy land and self build.


Health

How easy was it to find a GP or a dentist? What were the problems?

No problem, my Dentist is 5 minutes walk from my house, my doctor is in the next village. I would, however advise getting copies of records of Dental treatment form the DDS, as treatment here is very expensive. Unless you can prove 5 consecutive years of treatment you cannot claim assistance with the costs from the private medical insurance companies.


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?



No


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?


I know of a retired serviceman, who because he has his pension paid into a German account is not entitled to Harz IV or assistance with his rent.
 
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