A new report says that people leaving the Armed Forces should be given more help when transitioning into the Scottish job market.
Scottish Veterans Commissioner Charlie Wallace has called for earlier and longer-term support for what one Scottish minister says can be a “traumatic” experience for personnel leaving the military.
The report by Mr Wallace, entitled ‘Positive Futures’, recommended a fresh transition model to ensure relevant education and training is available for personnel to gain recognised qualifications while asking them to “take responsibility” for their own transitions.
“They need to ‘own it’, fully engage in it and embrace the support on offer,” the report reads, adding that a greater support network in the civilian world is required alongside “re-examined” funding for current efforts.
Mr Wallace, a retired Colonel, told Forces News: “It looks to the MOD, as the organisation responsible for our servicemen and women who are in service now and their families, don’t forget, to make sure that they are prepared for life after service.
“This world is changing quite rapidly, and the relationship of the employee – the soldier, sailor around them – and the MOD, the employer, is going to change.
“We need to understand that so that we can give these people the best uplift possible as they go into civvy street.”
For those leaving the services, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) currently offers Regular Armed Forces leavers resettlement support through the Career Transition Partnership, accessible two years prior to their discharge date and for two years post discharge.
Defence Transition Services also aim to prepare families for the most likely challenges during the transition.
The report recommends a closer working relationship to help those looking to support post-service careers, alongside formal, civilian recognition of qualifications gained in the military.
Graeme Dey MSP, Scottish Veterans Minister, said veterans need to be given “a longer run-in” to the “best possible job” from the moment they have indicated their plans to leave the services.
Mr Dey added that the experience of leaving the military and transitioning into normal life can be “traumatic” for some.
The Scottish Veterans Commissioner went on to say work to prepare forces families for a military exit must be matched by Scottish preparations to “receive” them.
“It’s about welcoming the 1,400 or so veterans who come back to Scotland after service with open arms and grabbing the talents and skills that they have,” he added.
An MOD spokesperson said: “We are committed to supporting all Armed Forces leavers successfully transition to civilian life which is why we offer specialised support through the Defence Transition Services and Career Transition Partnership.
“We are currently developing a life skills package for service personnel and their families which will help them prepare for this transition from the beginning of their service career.”