UK Armed Forces :Heightened Readiness for Resettlement: The Course of Change

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Photo Credit: © Crown Copyright 2014 OGL

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Transition to Transformation

This is a true story. A story of four people leaving the Armed Forces.

One person with only two months to go after a lifelong career in the Infantry. Another infantry man eighteen months out; the third was spitting fire, enraged at the betrayal of the military covenant.  The fourth person was looking forward to the challenge of resettlement but needed guidance on what steps she should take.

They had one thing in common: – the all-consuming involvement with the ‘job’, – and as a result – they hadn’t put themselves first, had not delved deeply into their personal thoughts and feelings, had not adjusted to the challenge of life after leaving.

Three days later that mind-set had changed for good; the process of transition had started to move to one of gradual but sure transformation.

Day One – ‘Me’ Time

‘In civvies but still in uniform’ is the best way to describe the first introductory moments of Wednesday morning.  Everyone ‘buttoned-up’, casually dressed but wearing a strictly military mind-set.  As time passed so did the formality, as first one.  Then everyone began to share experiences and relax. This was helped involvement in the career navigation cycle a technique that interconnects personal and career development.  The cycle begins with you letting go and looking forward, evaluating and establishing your skills and talents as marketable properties.  The next phase is to apply the personal aspects to career opportunities.  This begins with exploring different opportunities, deciding what you want to do then taking positive action.

Remember where Day One started?  These comments came at close of play:

“Day One provided the opportunity to understand my strengths and abilities. The time allowed full exploitation, understanding and analysis of who I am and what I can offer”  

And another:

“An uplifting and confidence boosting day -Genuinely persuasive and encouraging.”

Day Two – Options & Oysters

Having highlighted personal strengths and attributes, the focus on Day Two switched to how those talents can be applied to explore and embrace options that have the potential to shape a whole new future; a future that provides personal and financial satisfaction to you, your partner and family.


A stimulating choice of career opportunities are examined including the most popular ways of going into business for yourself, shared by people who have set up and are running their own small businesses. A wide range of options were on the table for consideration to open minds to what is ‘out there’ and achievable for members of the armed forces.  Additionally, understanding the importance and value of creating your own network of contacts, and being involved in business networking, was stressed along with uncomplicated advice on how to go about it. Realise the world really is your oyster.

Comments on Day Two:

“Good structure – the morning was used well to tease out my individual thoughts, beliefs and values.”

“Good exploration of networking, very valuable activity.  The exploration of values gave me clarity.”

Day Three – Pulling the threads together

The last day began with a pause for reflection and a question: ‘What does success mean to you?”  The result was not the same as you’d expect on Day One.  Day One would be ‘Get a job’, ‘Pay the mortgage.’

All these reactions are immediate ‘top of mind’ responses.   By Day Three the thinking was wider and deeper, involving what people would desire for a more fulfilling future, ideas that included partners, family and friends vital considerations for a successful second life.

Remember the infantry officer who was ‘spitting fire’?  On Day One, he questioned why he was in the room and on the course at all. He had a wife and baby and needed a job – any job – he saw a future of commuting up to London on the morning train.  Done.  That would be his only option, his only choice. No question.

Day Three.  He’d decided that all his life he wanted to work in the outdoors, be his own boss and learn the skills to build a solid future for this family.  He’d decided to train as a thatcher. Okay, he may not do it – but that’s not the point – he is now controlling the options – not being controlled.

One last word…

“The ‘Heightened Readiness for Resettlement Programme’ is an excellent and highly relevant course designed to help anyone transition from the military to civilian life. Totally complementary to what was offered to me, it really added value to my preparations for ‘Civvy Street’. The skilled facilitators and the personal attention given to me was just what I needed to guide me on the road to a new career”.


Lt Colonel – RA

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