Moving on from the Armed forces can be a daunting prospect. The culture differences are huge and the thought of moving onto something completely new is tough.

For me the culture shock of leaving the Armed forces back in 2016 was equally as hard as the culture shock when joining and I only served 4 years so for more seasoned veterans, this transition can be a real task. However, it doesn’t have to be daunting – I made it difficult for myself by not taking advantage of the incredible opportunities available to me via the re-settlement schemes.

Some of my colleagues however, did, and had some incredibly positive experiences. One option to consider is looking at ex-forces schemes that many companies have on offer. One of these companies is FDM and this is how an old colleague found his experience:

“…when I decided to sign off, I didn’t really have a set plan of what to do. I was looking at some trade jobs from gas engineers to plumbers and electricians. I decided instead to try and use some of the experience I’d built up since the army and university to try and go into a more analytical job. I decided to look at FDM as they had an ex-forces scheme, and their client base was very varied with a lot of blue-chip companies. They had a Business Analyst course which I was quite interested in. I went to an insight evening, then did their assessment centre around 6 months before my last day in the Armed forces. They have an ex-forces scheme aimed at becoming PMs/Scrum masters, but I was more interested in the roles where there was less management and more varied thing every day. I started my course, and it took a good few months to complete the training and get a client. I interviewed for HSBC for a job down in London and thankfully passed which I then started. I’ve been there since, completing over 2 years as an FDM consultant then transitioning into a permanent role with HSBC, working with a great team.

This is a great example of how you can use ex-forces schemes to retrain and set yourself up on a new career trajectory. From gas and electric to project management, there are tonnes of opportunities available – you just have to put in the graft to find them!

One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give is to just put yourself out there. Have a big think about what your passions are, and what you want out of a career. For me, finding a sector that constantly challenged me was key to finding my next role and recruitment was exactly that. For you that could be working with your hands, be outside, managing projects etc. Attend every course, workshop and expo that is available to you. Your termination notice is a year so take your time and enjoy the ride!

Since joining the Royal Signals, I’ve always had an interest in technology and that hasn’t changed –  I’m now delivering technology talent into the IT and defence sectors focussing on software engineering, infrastructure, and DevOps. The landscape is constantly changing (even more so since COVID) and the demand for qualified candidates has gone through the roof! This in turn has led to salaries increasing at a frantic rate as companies are trying to secure the hottest talent (more on this is a future article!).  The companies I partner with develop systems that are essential to our everyday lives (whether that be defence of cyber security) so it makes sense that demand is increasing year on year. That is what makes this industry so exciting though – the constant progression and change! It’s what the industry is about and is a fantastic career path for anyone who loves to learn.

If you have any questions leaving the forces or about finding roles within technology, please feel free to give me a call on 07384 682 203.

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