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 situation:
- In 2009,
Blake Stevenson estimated that there were 189,000 veterans of
working age in Scotland and that approximately 28,000 or 15%
- 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 discharged.
Among the veterans who exhibit difficulties making the
transition into civilian life, their barriers can include:
- 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 problems.
- Physical disabilities.
- 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 conditions
- 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
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 families.
- 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
- A resettlement grant
- Resettlement time
- 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.