Returning to civilian life can be a daunting transition, but one you will succeed in should you know what support and resources are available, and where to find them.

Finding the right support for your requirements

The UK job market can seem overwhelming at first, especially if you are unsure how your skills will transfer. First and foremost, you should read our guide on service person’s transferable skills so you can consider what your next steps should be.

Some ex-military personnel can face the unfortunate situation of not having a support network upon returning to civilian life. In this case it can seem difficult to make the necessary steps towards a smooth transition. As such, you should not feel apprehensive about accessing the services made available to you.

Whatever it is you need, there are a growing number of vital services made especially for veterans making the transition, such as yourself. We have compiled these into a clear list below:

Education and Training

Depending on your role within the forces, you may have received specialist training transferable to specific jobs on the outside. This includes roles within IT, engineering, mechanics and more.

If you didn’t receive specialist training or did but want to pursue a different career path, you might want to consider options for further education and training. Many veterans report that studying after leaving helps with the transition to civilian life. This is because studying provides the opportunity to attend classes and study groups and meet new people alongside giving you a goal and purpose of achieving a qualification to work towards.

There are so many opportunities out there, including apprenticeships, the Open University, college or night courses. Alongside these choices, there are also specific programmes for ex-military personnel within companies.

These include the likes of Barclays After Programme which provides workshops and a Military Talent Scheme, Deloitte’s Military Transition and Talent Programme, BP’s Military Placement Programme and more.

Resettlement and Housing

Unfortunately, for those ex-military personnel without a close support network, housing is a critical issue. Additionally, there may be a lot of factors to consider, such as family, schools and affordability.

You may be looking to relocate, stay within your current area, find a house to rent or a house to buy. Whatever it may be, it is essential to find somewhere that is going to tick all of the boxes and assist your transition to civilian life.

The Joint Services Housing Advice Office (JSHAO) carries out briefing at military locations throughout the year. These briefings provide guidance on the housing options available and can point you in the right direction for further assistance. If you are registered for resettlement, attending these briefings is classed as a duty.

You can find out more and book a place on the programme here.

If you are struggling to afford or find appropriate housing there are a range of essential charities there to assist you:

Help and Support

The growth of vital mental health resources and support is a demonstration of the needs of those leaving the military. It is important to remember that you are not alone, and there are many people and organisations that can help you. Additionally, there is no shame in asking for help when you need it.

There is an extensive system of local services run by the NHS that will support you, be that just needing a conversation or intensive care. To read about accessing these resources, head to our dedicated ex-military mental health page.

Alongside the NHS support services there are a growing number of charities concerned with ex-military personnel accessing essential support. Below is a list of some national charities who offer a variety of assistance to those who have left the service:

  • Mind is a mental health charity that offers advice and guidance to anyone who is experiencing mental health problems.
  • Combat Stress has helped former service personnel with mental health for almost a century. They provide online and over-the-phone services.

The Royal British Legion is the largest Armed Forces charity. They provide a range of services to help and support ex-military personnel in whatever capacity. Additionally, this support is not contingent on transitioning out of the service; they offer support to veterans throughout their lives.