Changing jobs is never easy, but for the 15,000 service men and women who leave the armed forces every year, it is particularly difficult as they seek to translate and transfer specific military skills into civilian work requirements.
Many of our veterans have spent most of their working lives in the military. Despite being extremely skilled, the transition to ‘civvy street’ can be tough.
Sadly, after long running wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, many in recent years have been discharged with disabilities or PTSD without a clear sense of where to go next. Veterans without civilian work experience can struggle to know where their transferable skills can take them.
In total there are 2.4 million veterans in our country, many who have faced these sorts of difficulties, but fortunately there is help available.
Last year, at Government level, a new ministerial position was created just for service people and veterans - overseeing the Government’s work with charities and the Careers Transition Partnership that connects veterans with employers such as Barclays, Jaguar and the NHS.
There are also numerous charities working to support our veterans. I was lucky to be able to talk to the Lincolnshire team at The Royal British Legion recently. They are the largest Armed Forces charity in the country and while they are best known for selling poppies to mark Remembrance Day, they actually provide year-round help and career support for our veterans here in Stamford and across the county. Working alongside our local veteran’s employment charity, RFEA, they provide grants for veterans who wish to start a business and can also help with job applications.
I have spoken often about our area’s long and proud military past, but I am also conscious we remain equally focused on our military present. This week I was honoured to have been elected by other MPs as Vice Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Veterans, and I look forward to working with colleagues from all political parties to stand up for those who served in uniform.
We all have a part to play in recognising our servicemen and women, but if you can, go one step further to help your community by hiring a hero.