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Veteran skills in a modern Civil Service

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Inclusion, Life Chances, Social mobility, Veterans

"I was given the opportunity and encouragement to showcase my transferable skills built up from my military career"

As 2020 opened its doors, the Going Forward into Employment scheme expanded to begin providing Life Chance opportunities for veterans and their partners/spouses. 

Whilst many veterans have successfully made the transition to civilian employment, a significant number have struggled to find meaningful employment.  Research tells us that of the approximately 1.1 million ex-service community, there is a significant proportion of service leavers who do not manage to gain employment and are less likely to be in full or part-time work than the general population.

Our scheme seeks to address this inequality by providing Civil Service opportunities which allow ex-service personnel to bring their skills to the civilian jobs market. This also improves the Civil Service, which benefits from their experience and a more diverse workforce. It shows our commitment to making the Civil Service a great place to work for veterans.

“The experiences and training received during service is World Class”

Accustomed to operating in the most complex of environments, service leavers have unrivalled experience and excellent transferable skills that are both vital and highly valued in an organisation that aims to be truly representative of the people it serves.

With over 14,000 service leavers every year, we are able to support our veterans through life chance opportunities as they face the battle of transitioning to life as a civilian.

One of our first recruits via the scheme was keen to share his experiences and help us translate his skills.

Joining the Army as a Private. Ron worked through the ranks and served during operations in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan. Transitioning to civilian life, he faced the challenge of getting employers to understand his military skills.

Ron told us how during his GFiE interview, he was given the opportunity and encouragement to showcase transferable skills built up from his military career.

Ron spent some time with us, expanding and reflecting on his skills and how they transpose across to his current ‘customer facing’ role in the Civil Service:


The frequent changes in environment, location and nature of deployment in the military means you need to be able to adapt many times a day, and adapting to the needs of different customers is not so dissimilar. The requirement to flex between roles for the collective good of the team mirrors across from Army life to the Civil Service.

Critical thinking

The need to take potentially life-changing actions in critical situations is a specialist skill. That ability to quickly assess a situation and make a decision on the available evidence is similar to my current role - making decisions which can have significant impacts on customers and their family’s lives is not a light decision to make.


Dealing with vulnerable people and the situations they find themselves in requires sensitivity and empathy. Although the front line has a different meaning in the military than the Civil Service, compassion is the same in any language.

Organisation & Time Management

Success is often down to being at the right place, at the right time, with the right people. It’s about being fully organised and knowing what the plan is.  Leading and supporting your team, whether that be troops on deployment or effectively managing and organising your work diaries and caseloads, is something that has stayed with me. 

“Although the jobs are very different, the skills that are learnt and developed in the military are very similar and easily transferable to the Civil Service”

It doesn’t end there though, this just scratches the surface of some of the qualities we as an employer can benefit from.  Deloitte’s first in a series of One Million Futures reports, with input from over 300 organisations, reveals which specific areas people with a military background perform well in.  We recognise many of these skills as Civil Servants.

As a scheme we are proud to be providing these opportunities and helping the Civil Service benefit from such diverse skills.  We work closely with partners to source candidates and support the transition, and you can read more about these relationships in a future blog.

If you have any roles that you want to consider filling with a life chance candidate, want to help support us or just want to know more about the scheme, contact us at

We are looking forward to hearing from you.

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