Reskilling for civvy street: how to build on what you’ve learned in the military

There’s no getting around the fact that leaving the military to forge a new life for yourself as a civilian can be tough. After acclimatising to the structure and routine of the armed forces, where many of your decisions are made for you and you have a clear career path to follow, it can be hard to adjust to the autonomy associated with other types of work. However, there’s no need to panic if you’re preparing to exit the military. Through your roles in the armed services, you will have picked up an array of skills that could enable you to kick start your new career and so, with some careful planning, you shouldn’t struggle to succeed on civvy street. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

Decide where your strengths and passions lie

The first thing to do is identify your existing skills. There are hundreds of jobs in the armed forces, ranging from frontline soldiers to logistic supply specialists, communication systems engineers, intelligence operatives and medics. When you’re honing in on the best possible future career path, think about all the knowledge and experience you have acquired through your work. Perhaps you’re used to leading teams of people, you’re adept at formulating strategies or you have advanced technical or medical skills. Far from being redundant when you leave your uniform behind, these abilities could prove crucial when you’re seeking work. Think about where your passions lie too. Building on your existing skills will take time and effort, so it’s important that you focus on an area that you find rewarding and enjoyable.

Find the best possible courses  

Once you’ve identified the area you want to specialise in, it’s time to find suitable courses. As a first port of call, you can check out the resettlement training options provided by the military. There are specialist centres that offer courses in everything from engineering and building trades to health and safety, management studies and IT. In addition, if you want to enhance your medical skills, you can investigate the courses run by training providers such as Manone Medical Services. Options like First Person on Scene or Medicine in Remote Areas can be ideal for ex-military personnel who are used to working under pressure in a range of settings.

Bear in mind that you may be eligible for government grants to help you cover the costs of your chosen courses. You can find out more about your funding options online.

Prepare for a period of adjustment

As long as you focus on the right areas and find the best courses, you stand a good chance of successfully reskilling and of forging a new career on civvy street. However, it’s important to prepare yourself for a period of adjustment. It can take time to get used to your new situation and you should expect periods of doubt and uncertainty along the way. It will take perseverance and determination if you’re to achieve your aims and make the most of your new life outside the armed forces.

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