Posted on March 8, 2018
Why is transition from the military so stark? You are coming to the end of your Military career, The Career Transition Partnership do some great training on preparation of CV’s and courses around interviews. There is funding available to do trade and skills courses or additional education courses. All great and useful preparation, but it doesn’t quite fully prepare us for the wrench from the Military Family.
The Basic Training we went through took around 6 weeks. During that training, we were “broken down to our component parts” and rebuilt as our forces needed us. It is short period 6 weeks, and yet it changes us for life. I often hear the comment, “I am not a Civvy, I’m ex-Military.”
From the people I have supported in making the transition, I often hear stories about the issues they face integrating into their new workplace. The anecdotes are often funny because it is a shared experience, but there is an underlying issue; Transition needs to be about so much more than career change.
The softer issues are just as important and may well increase the statistics around successful transition. Small things like engaging with the NHS and 3rd sector support organisations, understanding options on housing, and sorting out finances are just some of the issues that are not fully addressed within the transition process.
While the Military tenet of “Adapt, Improvise, Overcome” remains strong within those that leave, some do have issues around the softer aspects of transition, and I suspect that this is the major reason for it feeling such a “culture shock” upon departure.
So, is there something we can do to further support the transition? Can we in some way provide a Phased approach to Transition? Identifying why we are so different as part of that process is, I suggest, a very good start to the migration, and then, in the weeks leading up to departure, provide specific Life Skills training on soft aspects.
I am not suggesting that we undo the Basic Training, but supporting people in recognising broader issues that they will face has surely got to ensure a more seamless move into civilian life.
Can you think of how this might be achieved within the current budgetary and operational constraints?