Jenna Richardson (pictured right), Armed Forces Employers Liaison at the Forces Employment Charity, takes a closer look at our corporate mentoring service, exploring the benefits and experience for both mentor and mentee.

At the Forces Employment Charity, we are uniquely positioned to offer long-standing expertise with a modern approach to recruitment. Using our specialist knowledge to bridge the gap between military life and civilian employment, we provide service leavers, veterans, reservists and families with life-changing support as well as job opportunities and training.

We work with employers who truly understand the values that veterans can bring to their organisations and have been responsible for veterans joining a range of sectors. These sectors include maritime, oil and gas, transport, engineering specialisms, communications and more.

When organisations are passionate about supporting the ex-Forces community but don’t have any current vacancies, their employees can join our corporate mentoring service. This service has proved to be incredibly rewarding for both mentors and mentees. Connecting experienced professionals with mentees who are eager to learn and grow in their careers.

Through the online mentoring hub within MyForcesEmployment, veterans and family members can contact a professional who has volunteered their time to share their insights and expertise. Our goal is to match mentees with mentors already working in their desired industry. This gives the people we are supporting unique insight into their chosen field. It also gives mentors the opportunity to talk about their passion and share their enthusiasm with an engaged audience.

Empowering mentors and mentees

The Forces Employment Charity corporate mentoring service has no set time frames for either session length or number of sessions required. Our team recommends six meetings over three months, but we don’t dictate when these need to be or put a time limit on how long the relationship can last. These areas and other logistical considerations, such as locations for meetings, are determined by the mentor and mentees, who have complete autonomy over the relationship.

We’ve found that this approach empowers both mentor and mentee, giving them the freedom to determine their preferred approach to mentoring. It also ensures that neither party feels any pressure to stick to a specific timetable. More often than not, the logistics of the arrangement depend on the nature of the conversation and the time required to cover the subject area. If the mentee and the mentor feel they need to go beyond the recommended six sessions, they can.

A conversation between two people

Unfortunately, potential mentors often lack confidence and don’t realise how valuable they, and their experiences within their industry, truly are. This is partly because mentoring is often seen as teaching or tutoring, but the reality is it is often just a conversation between two people.

Mentoring is ultimately an opportunity for the mentee to essentially pick the mentor’s brains, hear about their experience and get tips and guidance. This doesn’t have to be a formal process with a list of outcomes; the reality is mentees are happy to just meet up and talk. As long as both parties approach meetings with openness and enthusiasm, the conversation will flow. When mentors go back and forth in an engaged conversation, they realise how much they know about a subject. How valuable the information that may seem like second nature to them actually is to someone looking to get into the industry.

As an organisation, the Forces Employment Charity provides:

  • Consultations with an employment advisor
  • Job matching and vacancies
  • Advice on training
  • Interview techniques
  • Employee events
  • CV reviews and support

All these services and more will be provided to mentees by our experienced employment advisors. This means that mentors don’t need to be specialists in these areas; our advisors will concentrate on them. Mentors just need to be enthusiastic about their industry and share stories from within it. This is where they can add value and provide context and a better understanding of the area of employment the mentee is interested in. These stories and experiences contextualise the industry for mentees, boosting their understanding and, ultimately, their confidence.

Benefits for mentees

Receiving this reassurance and boost in confidence is one of the many benefits our corporate mentoring programme offers mentees. Talking to someone already in their selected industry is also a great way to highlight the transferrable skills veterans have.

Often veterans struggle to see how their experience in the Armed Forces makes them ideal employees. Communication skills are an excellent example of this. In the military, veterans will have coordinated operations and exercises, relaying crucial information in a clear and concise manner. When making the transition into civilian life, it can be difficult to appreciate how valuable these skills are and how much they can be applied to civilian employment. However, talking to a mentor about their day-to-day experiences at work often highlights scenarios where these skills would come into play; for example, a mentor might talk through project management tasks which depend on clear communication.

When a mentor breaks down a working day in this way, mentees are more likely to identify the large range of transferrable skills they have. It starts to become clear how important attributes such as a strong work ethic and the ability to work in a team are. In the military, teamwork is a necessity, and veterans understand the importance of working seamlessly with others. Once the practicalities of civilian life are revealed during a conversation with a mentor, the importance of this skill and others begin to become clear.

Not only does this mean these conversations can support the interview technique work our employment advisors will be undertaking, but it can also help relieve the anxiety going into a new working environment often brings. Mentees will feel more prepared and have their confidence boosted by the understanding they have of the transferrable skills they will bring to their new workplace.

The impact of practical advice from someone already working within an industry can never be underestimated. Having a mentor gives mentees the ability to ask specific questions and gain an understanding they wouldn’t get from someone outside of the sector. For example, if a mentee is looking to work within healthcare, the NHS is a vast organisation that may seem complicated from the perspective of someone who has never worked within it. To overcome this, we have mentors specialising within different parts of the Health Service to ensure that mentees have direct access to individuals who can give them tailored advice about departments and the best route for them.

In addition to clarifying information on sectors that seem daunting, mentees also benefit from mentors revealing opportunities they might not otherwise know about. In the cyber security and construction industries, for example, there are many different opportunities that a veteran might be unaware of. These include roles and career paths that could make the best use of the technical knowledge and abilities they gained when working in the Armed Forces. In the cyber security industry, this could include roles such as project manager, threat and risk management, data analyst and programmer. For construction, mentees could discover they are highly qualified to become civil engineers, architectural technicians, surveyors and more. The mentorship programme can identify opportunities like this in these sectors and others.

Benefits for mentors

The relationship between mentor and mentee is a lasting connection that makes a meaningful impact. A mentor’s knowledge and experience can help change the lives of the clients and families the Forces Employment Charity supports. It is incredibly rewarding to help someone overcome challenges and reach their goal. The positive impact of knowing that they have made such a difference in someone’s life stays with our mentors and often makes a difference to their own mental health and wellbeing.

It is a mutually beneficial relationship that can also help mentors develop their own skills in leadership, communication and coaching. The ability to hold one-to-one conversations outside of the working environment and with someone who is not a member of their own team or organisation is a valuable learning experience with less pressure than the scenario they might be used to at work. As the relationship develops and mentors see which pieces of advice or methods of communication benefit mentees, they begin to take these learnings and apply them in their working life, enhancing their approach to reviews and catch-ups with their own teams at work.

There are also a number of Corporate Social Responsibility benefits to mentoring programmes. With more and more businesses looking for ways to encourage employees to give back, mentoring creates opportunities to provide evidence of volunteering, impacting both the mentor and the organisation they work for.

Many of the mentors we currently work with are looking for a way to connect with the Armed Forces community, often because they, or someone in their life, has served. Mentoring with and families is a great way to learn about the Armed Forces community and the challenges they face. This knowledge can then be taken back to the employer and enhance any veteran support programmes that may be in place.

Outside of the relationship between mentor and mentee and the Armed Forces community, the Forces Employment Charity also makes an effort to connect mentors leading to a wide network of professionals who share enthusiasm for mentorship. This links mentors with valuable corporate relationships and networking opportunities that could have a wider impact on their own career development as well as creating relationships that could directly benefit the organisation they work for.

Former clients who want to give back

Whilst mentors do not need to have any prior experience with Forces Employment Charity, many of our mentors are former clients who want to give others the opportunity to access the support that made such a difference to their own lives. Many were mentored themselves and know firsthand how impactful the experience can be.

Former clients who go on to mentor have a unique connection to mentees as they have such a shared history. Not only do they understand the challenges of military life, but they have also been a veteran looking to forge a new career path. They have been in the same position as the mentee sitting opposite them and know firsthand how difficult it can be to adapt to civilian life and find employment.

This shared experience and an understanding of the sector the mentee is looking to get into creates a strong bond which gives both parties the ability to have an honest conversation about their experiences. Creating a relationship that will undoubtedly impact each other’s lives.

Our advisors never stop being available to clients, even if they haven’t spoken to them for a number of years. Therefore, former clients who are considering becoming a mentor can always reach out to the advisor who supported them to discuss mentorship and how to become part of the corporate mentorship programme.

Supporting families

Life within the Armed Forces community has a big impact on not just those serving but those around them. The Forces Employment Charity supports families, spouses and partners with a number of challenges, including;

  • Living in relatively isolated locations
  • Defining what a ‘‘normal’ life is
  • Getting back onto the employment ladder
  • Coping with a sudden return to civilian life
  • The need to build confidence
  • Childcare issues
  • Frequent moves

These challenges, especially frequently moving house, often mean that family members have undertaken a number of roles in short lengths of time. This can lead to extensive skills in a number of areas, but it can also, unfortunately, lead to the spouse, partner or family member feeling overwhelmed when it comes to deciding on a future career.

Our mentorship programme links spouses and partners who are looking to make a career change with industry professionals who can help them identify where their skills lay and why these skills and attributes will be appealing to specific sectors. Mentors can therefore help families make informed decisions about their next career move.

The process

The Forces Employment Charity undertakes a lot of behind-the-scenes work to ensure that the combination of mentor and mentee will be beneficial to both parties. Before connecting individuals, our team speaks to every party, including the mentor’s employer, to determine their specific goals and objectives. As well as the mentor’s background, expertise, and why they are passionate about their industry.

From here, mentors are activated in the Forces Employment Charity mentoring hub. Once their application is approved, their mentor profile will become visible and potential mentees can search for and find mentors on the Hub. Once connected, the mentors and mentees agree on when to hold their first conversation, which kicks off a series of meetings where mentors can share their valuable insights and help mentees navigate their career paths.

Ultimately, both parties need to think about what they want to get from mentoring. For mentees, this could be improved confidence, understanding of a specific sector, or hearing from someone who understands their industry. For mentors, it can be the positive impact of supporting someone on a new career path, developing coaching skills or connecting with the Armed Forces community. To get the most out of this experience, both parties need to be open to feedback and willing to invest time and effort.

Whether you are looking to be mentored or become a mentor, the truth is you’ve got nothing to lose by trying mentoring. There is, however, an awful lot to gain.

If you’re interested in becoming a member, complete our mentoring application. If you’d like to be paired with a mentor, register with us to talk to an advisor and get access to our online community.

This Green Careers Week (6-10th November 2023) we are spotlighting Centrica, who are leading the way in hiring, training and promoting sustainable roles, across the Armed Forces community through the Ex-Forces Pathway. Read on to learn how.


As a FTSE 100 Energy Services and Solutions company, Centrica wants to create a more inclusive and sustainable future that supports our people, communities, and our customers, uniting all towards a common purpose. And for our planet, we have bold goals to fight climate change, lead the UK’s drive towards Net Zero and kickstart the hydrogen economy. Whilst these ambitions provide great opportunities for us all, we know they’ll also be challenging. We’ll need to create thousands of high-quality, inclusive, green jobs to deliver our purpose and allow society to live sustainably, simply, and affordably.

To do this, it’s crucial we engage with and tap into diversity of experience, a wide range of talent and inspirational leadership; Centrica and its Ex-Forces Pathway knows all of this exists in spades right across the Armed Forces community. That’s why we set up our Forces Pathway in April 2022, with the initial aim of hiring a Net Zero Battalion. We want to engage and attract individuals from right across the Armed Forces community; Service Leavers, Veterans, Reservists, Military Spouses and Partners – junior to senior hire. We know the market for recruiting ex-forces has become increasingly competitive, and Centrica wants to use our extensive heritage of delivering world-class training alongside dedicated support to bring on board the talent required to deliver our Net Zero plans. So far, we’ve hired over 210 talented individuals from the Armed Forces community, with roles ranging from Smart Energy Apprentice, Offshore Supervisor, Project Manager, Heating Sales Advisor, newly qualified Gas Engineer, to Regional Director British Gas Zero. We’re also a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant and this year, we heard our application for the 2023 Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award has been successful, which we’re delighted about.

Our Forces Pathway directly supports Centrica’s People and Planet goals. As an Energy company we know we have a huge opportunity to tap into the talent of underrepresented groups to help us deliver a greener and more inclusive future. For example, our Forces Pathway is supporting the hiring of apprentices, while removing roadblocks for under-represented groups. We want to play our part in creating engaged teams within Centrica that reflect the full diversity of the communities our business serves; and if we can support every colleague to be themselves, this ultimately benefits our customers and communities.

Centrica Forces Pathway also works with military charities that specialise in supporting the transition to life after service, as well as service and regimental associations and ex-forces networks. Indeed, we were thrilled to be the Headline Sponsor of Forces Employment Charity’s annual Women into Employment event this year!

Via our continued partnership with organisations like the Forces Employment Charity, Centrica will continue to shine a light on the Armed Forces community, celebrating and championing their vast and varied talents – now and in the future.

“As a Veteran in Centrica, I feel valued, empowered, and inspired. I have found my new home and I couldn’t be happier.”

Claire Charlesworth, ex-Royal Logistics Officer now a Net Zero Commercial Analyst

Mentoring at the Forces Employment Charity

Here at the Forces Employment Charity we have created a mentoring programme that has transformed lives for the better. This National Mentoring Day we are sharing feedback from our mentors and mentees.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a collaborative relationship between two people, the purpose of which is to support the growth and career development of a mentee. By providing mentees a formal or informal space to talk through aspirations mentoring can dramatically transform career trajectories. Through confidence-building exercises, goal-setting and feedback, the mentor/mentee relationship can create a path to a brighter future.

Mentee feedback

For me a mentor is someone who selflessly gives up their time, to share their knowledge and expertise in order to empower others. My Forces Employment Mentor has done that for me, helping me as I continuously work towards being the best version of myself.


I would highly recommend this mentoring programme to all veterans. Not only did I gain invaluable experience and support from my mentor, transferring my military skills into civilian terminology for my CV, Sarah also helped me to realise my full potential and boost my confidence. Through her sound advice for my interview and top tips, I managed to secure my dream job!


I was made redundant at the start of the pandemic and after 6 months, was really despondent about the lack of reply from applications for jobs. RFEA gave me some fresh wind in my sails and helped focus me in how to utilise my skills to get employed. The mentoring service was outstanding, matching a similar personality to me as a mentor to use as a sounding board and mentor until I found a role that suited me.


Had a fantastic experience with my mentor in getting different perspectives on the job market and, most valuable of all, great tips and advice on networking through Linked-in. Realising that Linked-in could be used in such an effective way was an eye-opener.


The mentoring programme has been fulfilling and successful. Since getting on the programme I have experienced higher job satisfaction and I consider it more meaningful. I have benefitted from growing my personal network outside my colleagues. My mentor has helped me achieve my career goals so I would strongly recommend to any ex-servicemen or women to get on the programme.


I found the Forces Employment Charity mentoring programme to be very helpful as it gave me access to an ‘industry insider’ to be able to ask questions and bounce ideas off of. The job searching and interview advice I received was invaluable and I have recently received a job offer from a large FinTech company as a result. I would definitely recommend the program to others.


I would thoroughly recommend signing up for a mentor. My mentor Deano has a wealth of experience from civi street. He has been a mentor multiple times before and knows how to make best use of the sessions, with a clear goal for each call. He gave useful suggestions to tweak my CV and we conducted interview rehearsals where he provided valuable instruction. Having been unemployed for 3 months, his guidance paid dividends far more quickly than I was expecting. Many thanks!


I was made redundant at the start of the pandemic and after 6 months, was really despondent about the lack of reply from applications for jobs. RFEA gave me some fresh wind in my sails and helped focus me in how to utilise my skills to get employed. The mentoring service was outstanding, matching a similar personality to me as a mentor to use as a sounding board and mentor until I found a role that suited me.


It has helped build my confidence with identifying the skills I actual have and how to tailor same with the advertised roles. I have also received pointers on how to prepare for interviews for specific jobs. My Mentor has had an open-door policy which enables me to benefit from guidance as soon as an opportunity is available for which I intend to apply.


Mentor feedback

I absolutely love being a part of the veteran mentoring programme, the relationships that are created through the programme are amazing and the best part is hearing all the incredible stories of how this has positively impacted veterans.

Sophie Endean – Salesforce mentor 

Mentoring with Forces Employment is a very rewarding experience. It has provided me with the opportunity to meet some amazing veterans who have taught me a lot. With Forces Employment I have had the chance to help others achieve their goals and overcome fears, which I find to be a very special feeling. I am grateful to all of my mentees for allowing me to support them and for their commitment to working together.

Elisa Buckley – Zendesk mentor

The opportunity to support, guide and advise mentees through the Forces Employment Charity mentoring programme is one I am extremely proud to be a part of and continue my involvement with.

Rupert – Seeking out Solutions

The extraordinary thing about being a mentor is understanding that it is a two way thing. I love that I can share my experience and thoughts with others knowing that what we chat about is helping them. However, I am constantly delighted in what my mentees teach me. It’s so uplifting to listen and learn from others. So the reason why I love mentoring in the Salesforce Military Programme is that I know I can help others, but am excited to know that they help me too.

Deano – Salesforce mentor 

I’m now working with my second mentee through Forces Employment Charity via the Salesforce Military programme. Honestly think I get more out of it than my mentees do! Forces Employment Charity works with people who have left the Armed Forces, but are struggling to find work for various reasons. Although the stories from my mentees have been pretty harrowing (I confess to having tears pouring down my face when one of my mentees told me their story) – the two lovely people I have been working with are just awesome. Their strength of character, willingness to push themselves into new situations, and general organization skills have made it pretty easy, honestly, to help them find work. My first mentee was delighted to find work within a month of us starting out as a team. We still keep in touch to discuss any issues relating to working life. My second mentee is job hunting but is also working on extending her community support. And building her self-confidence. Their ability to overcome difficult situations with just a bit of guidance from me has boosted their confidence and put a big smile on my face every time I speak with them.

Lea Thompson, Salesforce Mentor 

The drive, determination to succeed and commitment shown by the mentees I’ve had the pleasure of working with, gives me the motivation to come back over and over again. I love the way our conversations often start out with a specific focus, (i.e. can you help me rewrite my CV,) and end up going deeper on personal development. It’s humbling how veterans hold my views in high regard and tell me how much value they place on our time together.

Ryan Soper-Powell – Zendesk

In need of support?

If you are a Service leaver, veteran, reservist, or family member register with us to receive free employment support, including mentoring, at any stage in your career.

We spoke to Alana Surgenor (pictured right), our Employment Consultant based in Northern Ireland, about the challenges of job hunting and her tips on how to stay motivated.

What are the possible difficulties or setbacks people can face whilst job hunting?

Job hunting can be difficult for a variety of reasons, which can vary depending on the job market at any given time.

In today’s climate, the long-term effects of COVID-19 on the job market are still emerging. During the pandemic, when there were many redundancies and changes within organisations, job-seekers were keener to move to any job, to ensure that they had a job. Consequently, many job-seekers were less targeted or specific in their job search because they needed employment. Now, a couple of years on, individuals are prioritising satisfaction in their work, and so are making their job search and applications more targeted to specific industries and roles. This has resulted in a crowded and competitive job market. In order to secure a job, you need to stand out.

Standing out and selling yourself on paper can be difficult. Set time aside to build your CV and target it to the roles you want to apply for, and if you’re stuck, our employment advisors are on hand to provide CV support.

Another difficulty some job seekers face is panic applying, particularly if they are out of work or desperate to leave their current role. Alana explains how panic applying, or applying to a multitude of roles as quickly as possible in the hope it helps you find a job sooner, can actually be to your detriment. Rushing through applications can result in you not doing yourself justice, and if you’re looking to stand out, a considered and targeted application is much more likely to make an employer notice you.

The best thing to do is to slow down. Look at the job description of each role you’re interested in and consider whether you meet the essential criteria. Take your time to target the role and the industry by doing your research and tailoring each application you make.

If you are finding that you are feeling panicked and stressed about finding a new job, seek the support of a Forces Employment Charity Employment Consultant to talk through your fears and to make a plan for your job search.

There may be other types of work that you haven’t considered, such as temporary roles or fixed-term contracts. These can still be beneficial, not only tiding you over whilst you search for a permanent job (if that is your aim) but also these roles can help broaden your job search and help you to gain more experience and upskill over a condensed period.

Coping with rejection

It can be demoralizing to receive rejections, or sometimes no response at all, from your applications. It is natural to lose motivation, and rejection can be a knock to your confidence.

However difficult, it can be helpful to remind yourself that a job rejection is not personal and that you would have been one of many applicants for the role. Everyone receives rejection at some point, and it can be useful at times to remember you’re not alone in this experience. Talking to friends, family, or your employment consultant can be helpful in sharing your feelings about rejection, hearing other people’s similar setbacks and processing it.

Some people find the mindset of ‘it wasn’t meant to be’ helpful, and that what is right for you is out there, just around the corner. Sometimes rejections occur because the role was given to someone internally, or someone with more experience in a certain area – things that are out of your control.

If you haven’t heard back from an organisation following your application and the date they said they would respond to applicants, then it can help to follow up with them; even if it is a rejection, at least hearing it from the employer can give you some closure, allowing you to move on to other jobs.

You can ask the employer for feedback, which may help you understand why you weren’t successful and what, if anything, you could do differently for future applications. If you reflect and know that you did everything you could, then it may be that the particular role wasn’t for you right now. If you realise retrospectively that there were some gaps in your preparation then this can be turned into a learning experience, which can be utilized in future applications and interviews, and can help increase your confidence.

If you’re struggling with rejection and motivation, the best thing you can do is take a break. Take a day or so away from trawling job boards and writing applications. Job hunting can feel draining and relentless when you’re in the midst of it, so taking a step back can help you to refocus and gather yourself, and remind yourself of all the things you can do and the goal you’re working towards.

A key thing to remember is to be kind to yourself. Next month, on 13 November is World Kindness Day, and a facet of this is treating yourself with kindness, especially when you’re having a difficult time. This is also applicable when you’re dealing with rejection or struggling with job hunting. Bupa provides a helpful list of ways to be kind to yourself, which includes:

  • Talking kindly to yourself as you would to a close friend – if you don’t get the job, try not to berate yourself. Be kind and supportive of yourself. Know that this wasn’t the job for you, learn from it, and when you’re ready, move forward.
  • Look after yourself physically – exercise, eat well, sleep well. All of these essential basics can help to make you feel good about yourself and make you better equipped to deal with difficult situations.
  • Take time doing things you enjoy, such as hobbies, interests, spending time with family and friends – even when you’re busy job searching, keep making time to do enjoyable things. Not only will it give you alternative focus and a break from job hunting, enabling you to come back to job hunting feeling refreshed, but it can also help provide a wider perspective. Whilst job hunting is important, there are other important things in your life too, which you should continue to devote time to.

How to maintain motivation and make job searching more manageable

It is easy for job searching to become all-consuming. However constantly looking for jobs can lead to burnout and fatigue, and there comes a point where all jobs start to blur into one. At this point, you’re unlikely to be productive.

To make the process more manageable, take breaks and implement structure by setting yourself a schedule. For example, you could plan to spend your morning researching jobs or on an application, then go for a walk or meet a friend. Having an alternate focus can also be helpful when in the midst of job hunting, as a way to distract yourself. This could include taking up a hobby that is completely separate from your search, such as exercising, joining a class or group, or learning a new skill.

Another option for some clients is to get involved in volunteering opportunities. You could volunteer your time to work in the community or to give back as a way to distract and upskill whilst you are job searching. Alternatively, you could get involved in volunteer or charitable schemes. The latter can be helpful for Service leavers who need to leave the military or are medically discharged, and require some structure and additional support as they adjust back to civilian life. If this is something that you feel could be beneficial to you, speak to your Employment Consultant.

How do you recommend job-seekers conduct their search?

When looking for your next role it is useful to look ahead and consider your short and long-term goals. What role would you like to be in? What steps do you need to take to get there? Consider how your next move can help progress you towards this goal, and whether you would also need to do some education or training to complement this. You can find out more about training and upskilling, and the support the Forces Employment Charity provides for this here.

Whittling down what you would like to do not only helps make your job search more targeted but also makes each application easier to write, as you will have similar information and examples to provide about yourself for similar kinds of roles. A Forces Employment Charity employment consultant can also help with this; they can be your sounding board, talk things through with you and make some suggestions, which can help to clarify your thoughts.

Employment consultants will also work to manage your expectations and have realistic conversations about the kinds of roles you could land now, and any training or upskilling you may need to do.

Alana explains how some Service leavers can become disheartened if they move into a job post-military that they don’t like, and how it is rare that someone will leave the military and step immediately into the perfect job for them. It can take time to find the role, industry and organisation that works for you – and our consultants are on hand to help you make positive changes, so your work life is fulfilling and enjoyable. Nothing, Alana explains, is set. You don’t need to stay anywhere for the rest of your life, and each new experience can help you learn more about what you do (and don’t) want. Having a mindset like this can help stave off any panic or stress, and putting a plan in place can help have more control over your job search and next steps.

In your role as Employment Consultant, how do you support people who are struggling with their motivation?

Alana explains how her role and the support she offers for clients is wide-ranging. She looks over CVs and application forms, and schedules in calls with clients to help research organisations. She touches base with her clients a couple of times a month, so they are aware that she is still there to support and advise on any issues or questions they may have.

Alana also tries to be realistic with clients about the length of their job search and the time they will need to dedicate to job hunting, to give themselves the best chance. She pays attention to the mindset of clients; some clients who seek her support are frantically searching for a job, and say they will ‘do anything’. Alana works with them to define what roles the client would actually be interested in doing – it is rare that an individual will actually do anything. Often taking more time to consider what you want, rather than jumping at any opportunity, will lead you to a role that is more satisfying and suits you longer term.

One veteran Alana supported was working in the Middle East when he became stranded there during the COVID-19 pandemic and was unable to return home for 18 months due to travel restrictions. He was away from his family and it was a difficult time for him. Alana spoke to him every couple of weeks, so they could talk about business, the job market, and potential opportunities, so the client had another connection to his home.

The client explained how ‘Alana provided an invaluable framework and sounding board throughout the entire process, was impartial and always offered pragmatic solutions and ideas based on seasoned experience. It cannot be stated what an invaluable role model Alana has been for me over the past year.’

The client’s knowledge of the industry, his proactiveness, and his support and insight from Alana enabled him to find a job as soon as he landed home in January 2023.

In need of support?

If you are a Service leaver, veteran, reservist, or family member register with us to receive free employment support at any stage in your career.

Developing opportunities for the whole Armed Forces Community

The Forces Employment Charity’s Careers in Professional Services event saw the ‘Big 4’ come together on 27 September 2023 to welcome Service leavers, reservists, veterans and military family members at PwC UK’s embankment offices in central London. The event welcomed 147 delegates and included a full day of presentations, workshops, exhibition stands and networking drinks. Joining them were leaders from PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG, as well as a stand from disaster response charity REACT, brought together to showcase the breadth of roles and opportunities available to the Armed Forces community
This event is an example of how we are working with companies from across industry to encourage “ruthless collaboration” as requested by Johnny Mercer at Veterans Work to improve military pathways into a variety of sectors.

Here’s what various delegates had to say on LinkedIn:

“Fantastic day. Debunked the myths behind the sector and showed how the military skills map across to opportunities in the Big 4. Great panellists and very well put together by Forces Employment Charity.”
“A fantastic day. I was blown away by the information I received throughout the day and having the ability to meet and make contacts with people from the Big 4 was invaluable. Also meeting the FEC and chatting to them and realising that not only can you help me but you can also help my kids as they transition out of Uni life. Great day all round and thank you.”
“A fantastic event that actually provided tangible outputs and tools that could optimise any transition. TY.”
“It was impressive to see the Big 4 collaborating for the benefit of the Armed Forces community. Gems of advice on interview technique, LinkedIn crash courses (pick me up Algorithm!) and headshots. Recommend the next iteration to anyone leaving.”

So, what were the benefits of attending Careers in Professional Services?

1. Exploring the Big 4: Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC military programmes and pathways.

2. Demystifying the sector and discovering the wide range of roles available. Hearing directly from recruiters about how to tailor CVs for applications.

3. Informative workshops where recruiters shared tips for your interview preparation.

4. The opportunity to network with hiring managers, recruiters and military community representatives from these companies.

5. A LinkedIn profile picture for each delegate.


Forces Employment Charity Director of Executive Services, John Cunningham, said:

“We were so pleased to be able to bring the Big 4 together along with other companies to offer Service Leavers, veterans and spouses a better understanding of the sector and an insight into the opportunities that it provides. The event was a huge success, and we look forward to more brilliant collaboration in the future!”

Venue hosts PwC’s Managing Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Marissa Thomas, spoke at the event and adds:

“At PwC, we are proud to have taken the lead in hosting the first of the FEC’s ‘Big 4’ Careers in Professional Services events. We are guided by our purpose – to build trust in society and solve important problems – and I hope that this is both exciting and highly relatable to those from the Armed Forces community. We look forward to welcoming new joiners and supporting them in their transition”.

Want to hear more?

Sign up for our mailing list, where we will announce other events in our flagship ‘Careers in’ series as and when they are available, plus much more, such as LinkedIn workshops and other insight days.

Or complete our online form to have a conversation with one of our Executive Career Consultants.

Find out how Kearney became Army veteran, Isabella Baldwin’s next career stop in management consultancy! Read Isabella’s story with a view to attending its next Military Leavers Recruitment event from 6.00-8.30 pm on 5 October in London.

I’ve always been an all-or-nothing kind of person. An Army career was everything I wanted, but one bad tumble down a ski slope ruined my career plans for good. Instead, I fought my way into the Army Reserves, exploiting every medical loophole possible and commissioned into the infantry. I’d found my people. I loved my work. I loved leading soldiers. I even loved mission planning. The final nail in the coffin of my Regular transfer came in the winter of 2021 and, for the first time in my life, I came up against a wall I couldn’t smash through on determination alone.

So what next?

What do you do when you’ve pinned everything on a career that, through reasons beyond your control, is barred to you? Reconciling myself to the fact that perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing – with deployment opportunities winding down and slim chances of getting my boots dusty – I began looking for a new challenge.

A few people I’d worked with in my civilian job recommended I investigate management consulting. Initial research looked promising – long hours, sure. But when you’re on the right team, who cares? I know one of the things I enjoyed most about service was working alongside people who shared the same level of ambition, team spirit and will to win. Management consulting promised exactly that. I swiftly realised that getting your foot in the door was tough without being a recent graduate or clutching an MBA, but I persevered with coffee dates and registered with Forces Employment.

Serendipitously, the Kearney event landed in my inbox right when I was comparing business schools. I went along to the event and was struck by the team – how closely knit they were. How they were passionate about the work. I was intrigued by the strategic enormity of the project they were working on and I felt that same gut feeling of excitement I had almost a decade earlier as a high-schooler applying to join the Army.

Preparation for interview

I felt happy shock at reading my invitation to interview email. My experience with Kearney as an applicant was excellent from the get-go. I was given a crash course in case interview prep (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and buddied up with a fellow applicant. I knew I had found the right career, but more importantly, I knew I wanted it to be with Kearney.

Join Kearney’s next event on 5 October 2023

Kearney Middle East and Africa (MEA) are back in London to recruit more high-quality candidates for Associate (post-MBA candidates) and Senior Business Analyst (pre-MBA) roles with their Aerospace, Defence and Security Practice based in Dubai.

Register today for the Military Leavers Recruitment event 

  • When: Thursday 5 October 2023 from 6.00 – 8.30  pm
  • Where: The Cavalry and Guards’ Club, London

About Kearney

Kearney is a top global management consulting firm of 3,600 people, based in 40 countries around the world. We serve more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500 with curiosity, boldness, generosity, solidarity, passion, and genuine commitment to client success. In the middle east we operate a unique collaborative model that links consultant and project teams to full-time security and defence advisors, with a broader global network of subject matter experts providing insights from leading countries. We work with all the major GCC defence players as their trusted advisers, across the defence and security spectrum from strategy and policy through operations to enablers.

The EM3 Armed Forces Veterans and Families Programme, part-funded by the European Social Fund, supports veterans, military families and young people into civilian employment across the M3 region.

This innovative programme builds upon the talented skills of the military community, with a focus on high-growth industries, including digital business, sustainable construction, low carbon, and gaming. The programme delivers upskilling and training opportunities for the whole military family.

The programme provides the opportunity to work alongside the education sector. For the first time, we support young people aged 16 – 24, through partnerships with schools, colleges, and universities. The team has enhanced career opportunities for over 200 Service children.


Forces Employment Charity’s Education and Skills Liaison, Kelly Wales, says:

“Young people from military families need the opportunity to talk to someone who understands and can empathise. Attending many different schools means that children from military families miss opportunities focused on careers. As advisors, we can provide these children with continuous career support and a toolkit to empower them to take ownership of their future.”

Get to know more about Kelly Wales.

Over the year, the team has supported 27 schools and colleges across Hampshire and Surrey. They deliver employability workshops and mock interview days, plus attend career fairs.

Working with key partners, including the Service Children’s Progression (SCiP) Alliance, Naval Children’s Charity, Scotty’s Little Soldiers, and single Service welfare services, all contribute towards the programme’s success.


Nicole Bridgman, SO2 Garrison Community Support Officer at Aldershot Garrison, says:

“I see your role as an integral part to supporting Service families. The specialist work that you are doing in supporting ALONGSIDE the working group is not only essential but is working. The young people are relating to you, and that means that they have that buy-in. Without this input, these Service children would not be given that chance to change their behaviours and would continue to feel unheard and let down by the system. Having your knowledge and wide range of contacts has not only benefited the young persons but also Aldershot Garrison. I have enjoyed working in collaboration with you and Forces Employment Charity, I hope that we can continue this working relationship.”  


Since the programme’s launch, 114 employers have signed up to support our community. Collaboration includes webinars, employability workshops, and career fairs. We thank each employer for their support.

If you would like to support our young beneficiaries to develop their employability skills and increase their life chances, please get in touch with our team at [email protected].

Veterans Work: Access took place earlier this year, a collaborative conference between Deloitte, Forces Employment Charity, and Forces in Mind Trust. With the Right Honourable Johnny Mercer MP, Minister for Veterans Affairs, making the opening address, over 100 delegates attended.

John Cunningham, Director of Executive Services at the Forces Employment Charity, shares more about the conference and how it busted some myths about veterans and Service leavers…

The conference, several months in the planning, focussed on de-bunking long-standing stereotypes about the lack of diversity amongst those veterans working in the Financial and Professional Services sector. It also represented a call to action for policymakers, government officials, industry employers, MOD, and charities in attendance. To do more to ensure that the sector is genuinely accessible to all service leavers, veterans, and their families

Some of the myths that were debunked, in large part through the presentation of some fantastic case studies of veterans currently working in the sector, are outlined below:


Myth: Employment in the sector is limited to those with specific demographic characteristics such as rank, education, and socio-economic background

The reality is that evidence from the case studies and veterans at the conference demonstrated true diversity amongst those enjoying successful careers in Financial and Professional Services.

Myth: Employment opportunities are limited to London

The reality is the sector has numerous firms with HQs and offices across the UK.

Myth: Applicants for employment need specific qualifications and experience

In reality, many veterans and Service leavers already have fantastic aptitude and valuable transferrable skills from their time in the military.

Myth: You need connections

The reality is that the sector welcomes diversity of thought and experience; it strives for that diversity in its recruitment. Many firms run programmes and internships to open up opportunities for veterans and Service leavers.


The well-known broadcaster and newsreader, Kate Silverton, skilfully hosted and compered the conference. She encouraged fantastic contributions from the floor, asked challenging questions herself, and held panellists to account fearlessly.

Kate is no newcomer to Veterans Work, having previously hosted the 2021 series of podcasts. She is one of a long list of celebrities and veterans who have supported the Veterans Work initiative by appearing in numerous short films, podcasts, and previous conferences since 2016 when the collaboration published their report:

Veterans Work: Recognising the potential of ex-service personnel


As suggested by Johnny Mercer, the event fired all those in attendance with enthusiasm to “ruthlessly collaborate” in continuing to advocate and ensure that the Financial and Professional Services sector is genuinely open for business for all veterans, Service leavers, and their spouses or partners.

Do you want to access this unique talent pool? Register with us today to promote your vacancies.


We are less than one week away from Careers in Professional Services, military veteran, Emma Jude talks to us about what life is like for her to work for PwC — one of the companies that sit within what’s known as the ‘Big 4’. You will meet all four companies and others if you are registered to attend this year’s event on 27 September 2023.

Emma is a senior manager within the Defence and Home Affairs Enterprise Transformation Consulting team at PwC. She is the day-to-day lead on a variety of consulting projects, helping Defence clients to transform aspects of their organisation. While her projects are very varied, she often supports teams who are delivering programme and change management services.

What was your background before joining PwC?

I left the British Army in 2021 after 11 years of service. I left as a Major, having just completed sub-unit command with 1st Military Working Dog Regiment. My original technical trade in the Army was a Veterinary Officer, however I spent most of my time in Staff and Command (rather than clinical) roles.

What made you consider a career in professional services?

I loved problem-solving and wanted to work broadly across Defence and other government sectors.

Why did you choose PwC specifically?

I was able to speak to a lot of individuals at PwC before I joined. I was really impressed with how collegiate, passionate and knowledgeable PwC-ers were. It was definitely the people and purpose of the organisation that made me want to work here after leaving the Forces – and I haven’t been disappointed. I love working here!

How do you feel your skills from the Armed Forces community converted across to your role?

There were so many ‘soft’ skills I had developed in the Army that helped me transition into my role in PwC. For instance, the leadership and management training I was given by the Army, and the experience I had in leading teams was invaluable. My experiences of moving roles regularly in the Army and having to quickly get to grips with new ‘briefs’ also enabled me to be comfortable with uncertainty and new situations. The way we are trained to break problems down in the Army, not least through our operational estimate process, has also been really helpful.

What are your positives to the role and working for your employer?

I love the variety of my work within PwC. I feel energised by working with motivated teams and clients who have a strong purpose in what they want to deliver. PwC has allowed me to complete a wide range of both internal and external training programmes, which has helped me to rapidly develop as a consultant.

Did you experience any challenges?

I still miss the Army culture and people, but by working in Defence consulting I am able to work with serving individuals and MOD civil servants, which is great. It also took a bit of adjustment to go from owning problems to advising on them. I have overcome this by challenging myself to really think about where I can add most value to clients based on my skills and experience.

What tips would you share with anyone considering a role within the Big 4

Network, network, network. This will ensure you understand what the role(s) you are looking at entail (including travel requirements etc), and will help you pick up the terminology you need to transfer your skills and experience into ‘civvy speak’.

Back yourself! The people we are, and the situations we have been exposed to in the Forces, allows us to adapt and be successful in a variety of business environments.

Would you welcome a conversation with an employment advisor?

Contact us at the Forces Employment Charity where a member of the team will be in touch with you.

I loved my time in the Army. I loved the people, I loved the job, and I loved the sense of purpose. But once I began doubting the overall output and direction of the organisation, I questioned whether it was something I wanted to dedicate my life to. I surveyed the years ahead, and saw the long, slow career progression stretching out into the far distance… And for what? Old for my rank owing to a career before the military, I reached an inflection point: it was time for a change.

But a change in what direction? There followed six months or so of fairly intensive reflection and pestering friends of friends for coffee chats, until I settled on management consulting. This resulted from doing a couple of practice case studies at an insight day – and enjoying them. When I was put in touch with an ex-Guardsman at Kearney Middle East, it seemed like the golden ticket: management consulting at a top global firm, in a fascinating, low-tax part of the world, with a heavy defence focus. It ticked every box for me and after nearly eight years in the Army, I took the plunge.

Just over six months later in September 2022, I found myself representing Kearney at an insight event co-hosted by the Forces Employment Charity at the Cavalry and Guards Club in London. The aim: to extend that same “golden ticket” to UK Armed Forces veterans for a role with Kearney’s MEA Aerospace, Defence, and Security practice, based in Dubai.

About Kearney

Kearney is a top global management consulting firm of 3,600 people, based in 40 countries around the world. We serve more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500 with curiosity, boldness, generosity, solidarity, passion, and genuine commitment to client success. In the middle east we operate a unique collaborative model that links consultant and project teams to full-time security and defence advisors, with a broader global network of subject matter experts providing insights from leading countries. We work with all the major GCC defence players as their trusted advisers, across the defence and security spectrum from strategy and policy through operations to enablers.

What we offer

We are hoping to recruit individuals into consulting roles at the Senior Analyst/ Associate level, and offer an attractive package: first, a pivot into a prestigious and intellectually stimulating career as a management consultant with a top global firm; second, the opportunity to continue to work in the defence industry and apply the knowledge and experience gained in the military, whilst developing a new set of skills; and third, the chance to live in a fun, buzzing, and low-tax part of the world that is undergoing a regional transformation unprecedented in its scope and ambition.

Would you like to know more?

If you are currently serving with or have recently left the Forces, have a track record of professional and academic excellence, and are interested in applying for a role with Kearney Middle East, keep an eye on our Executive jobs board for the latest opportunities.


And stay tuned for future events.

Want to hear about our programmes, partnerships, events and ways that we could support you?