A veteran is anybody who has served in the UK Armed
Forces. Of the 20,000 servicemen and servicewomen who leave the
Armed Forces each year in the UK, the majority make a successful
transition to civilian life. However, a significant minority
experience challenging problems. In better understanding their
Blake Stevenson estimated that there
were 189,000 veterans of working age in Scotland and
that approximately 28,000 or 15% were unemployed.
They form a varied group consisting of males, females,
different ages and different lengths of service in the Armed
Problems finding employment appear to particularly affect
early service leavers - i.e. those who left before completion of
four years service or were compulsorily
Among the veterans who exhibit difficulties making the
transition into civilian life, their barriers can
Limited awareness of supports available to them.
Lack of knowledge around how to explain their skills and
qualities in way that civilian employers can understand.
Few transferable skills or qualifications.
Low income, financial insecurity and fear of losing
Limited financial management skills - e.g. paying bills and
managing household finances, which can lead to debt
Mental health conditions, which can remain undiagnosed for
many years. Both mental and physical conditions can be exacerbated
by veterans' own perception of their conditions - i.e. that they
are unable to work and an active lifestyle might make their
Increased risks amongst some veterans of: substance abuse;
social isolation; homelessness; and criminal activity.
In relation to employers, there appears to be a lack of
knowledge among employers on how to locate and identify
ex-servicemen seeking employment. Employers can also have little
understanding of the attributes and approach to work that veterans
Policies and Interventions
The Armed Forces Covenant is a
pledge made by the government to ensure that the armed forces are
not disadvantaged as a result of their service. Since the covenant
was published in May 2011, the government, the devolved
administrations and partner charities have worked together to
deliver on the following types of actions:
Twice doubling Council Tax Relief.
Doubling the Families Welfare Grant.
Launching a financial awareness and training website -
MoneyForce - for service personnel and their
Launching the Corporate Covenant to foster
stronger relationships between the armed forces community and
businesses and charitable organisations.
At local authority area level, Community Covenants have been
launched supported by a £30 million Community Covenant Grant
Scheme. The aim of the community covenant is to encourage local
communities to support the service community in their area and
promote understanding and awareness among the public of issues
affecting the armed forces community. Community Covenants can and
do differ from local area to local area - and details on Scotland's
Community Covenants can be found
On employability, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Career Transition Support is
provided for service leavers who have served a minimum of 6 years.
It is available for the two years before leaving and the two years
after leaving. Support includes:
A resettlement grant
Career transition workshop
Access to career consultant advice - includes employment
advice, networking advice, sourcing vacancies and marketing of
service leavers ot employers
Advice on resettlement training
Access to the CTP job search engine 'Right Job'
For early service leavers (less than four years), there is
no MOD transition support but the Regular Forces Employment
Association, Officers Association and Officers Association Scotland
provide employment consultant service to all service leavers
regardless of the length of time they have served and date of
discharge. The white Ensign Association provides employment
services for serving or former personnel.
Specialist services targeted at veterans are also available from a
wide range of organisations that include Veterans Scotland, Poppy
Scotland, Jobcentre Plus and SAMH. Many of these organisations
support the Citizens Advice Scotland Armed Services Advice
Interventions need to be tailored to the needs of each veteran but
in broad terms good practice suggests the need for:
Early assessment of potential barriers.
Support with managing physical disability or mental health
condition through: modifying beliefs about the degree to which
their conditions affect their ability to be active; and helping
them to learn how to better manage pain and discomfort.
Work in partnership with other support services - e.g.
housing, health, social work, financial inclusion.
CV and interview training so that ex-servicemen can promote
themselves in ways employers understand.
Supported employment services.