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.

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.

We’re delighted to announce that we’re helping record-breaking numbers of veterans, Service leavers and reservists to find civilian career success.

Last year almost 22,000 clients received expert support and guidance from us, spanning services such as CV advice, networking opportunities, job-seeking support, guidance with applications and much more.

The support we offer can be life-changing. Christopher McFerran served for 12 years in the Royal Air Force and sought help from us when he feared his job was at risk.

He said: “I had started a new job just as the first Covid-19 lockdown came into force and, although I thought I had a good career ahead of me, it quickly became apparent that my company was planning on making big changes. I sought the help of the Forces Employment Charity, as the Employment Advisors I have been assigned to over the years have been fantastic. They have always provided great support and updated me with current and relevant vacancies in my field of expertise and within my geographic area. They have also been great at keeping in contact, even if it was just to see how I was getting on and if I needed any support. They are a fantastic team to have on your side! My new role has made me more relaxed, which my family have noticed – big time. I now have a great opportunity to progress.”

Christopher, like thousands of others, benefitted from our flagship Ex-Forces Employment Programme. It provides veterans with career advice and offers access to thousands of job opportunities from employers who value the skills and attributes that ex-Forces bring to the civilian workforce.

The programme is only made possible thanks to generous funding from partners, such as the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. The charity has recently committed to further funding for the programme, which will ensure many more thousands of members of the RAF community, and beyond, will continue to receive the support they need.

Forces Employment Charity’s Chief Executive, Alistair Halliday, said: “The Ex-Forces Programme is one of our longest-standing initiatives, and it continues to go from strength to strength. We are there to ensure that all members of the Forces community are provided with the support they need to find career success in the civilian world – whatever stage of their career they may be at. We are immensely grateful to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund for their continued support, to enable us to continue our life-changing work for so many who have served in the Royal Air Force.”

Irene Greenwood, RAF Station and External Grants Manager, said: “Partnership working is an essential part of the Fund’s welfare support to the RAF Family, allowing us to get the expert help to the people who need it. The work that the Forces Employment Charity undertakes is crucial and we are thrilled to be able to contribute, helping to meet the changing needs of the entire RAF Family.”

This year, the Forces Employment Charity is marking Remembrance Day by inviting students to take part in our #PoppyPebbles23 project. 2023 marks the third year we’ve run this popular campaign, with previous participants including Garway Primary School in Herefordshire, singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor and blogger Sophie Bradbury-Cox.

The project encourages students to learn about the importance of Remembrance, why the occasion is honoured every year, learn about war memorials and identify what they can do in their local community to mark Remembrance Day.

The pack includes lesson ideas and discussion topics to inspire students to think about their local area and the people around them. Also included in the pack are poems, a list of recommended readings for students, worksheets and activity plans to do in class and at home.

The main activity in the pack is Paint a Poppy. Students are asked to create a design to be painted onto a pebble or use one of the designs included. Once designed the Poppy Pebbles can be painted and put on a war memorial in the local area or used in a class picture!

We want to see everyone’s Poppy Pebbles and there are multiple ways they can be shared with us:
• tweet using the hashtag #PoppyPebbles23
• email the photos to [email protected]


If you would like a copy of our pack, please fill out the form below:



Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and keep your eyes peeled for your Poppy Pebble!

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.

This month, we spoke to three Forces Employment Charity staff members to shed light on the importance of upskilling and training for future employment and to understand the support available for veterans and Service leavers.

What is upskilling?

Upskilling broadly means expanding and improving your knowledge and increasing your skills.

It is best to approach upskilling and training in a targeted way. Decide what you are aiming for – whether it is a specific role or entry into a specific industry – and then target your learning in pursuit of a particular outcome rather than upskilling across a range of areas, which can lead to a shallower understanding of each area.

The benefits of training and upskilling

Many military personnel undervalue themselves and struggle to articulate or translate their military skills to civilian employment. This can cause some of the Armed Forces community to be underemployed, meaning they are not using their skills or experience to optimum potential.

Training and upskilling allow you to make the most of your skills and experience and help you build a sustainable career.

Before committing to courses and paying for qualifications, do your research and find out if you are eligible for financial support to help you pursue your career goals.


There are opportunities for Service leavers and veterans to gain accredited qualifications through ELCAS – the Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Service.

All three military services provide Enhanced Learning Credits, a Ministry of Defence Scheme which gives financial support for qualifications at Level 3 or above for Service leavers and veterans, all listed on the ELCAS website.

Exact details on how much financial support you can claim towards qualifications vary depending on your length of service and if you have registered for ELCs – the full details of which are outlined here. However, broadly speaking, if you served between six to eight years, you could be eligible to make three claims of £1000 per claim. Those who served over eight years could be eligible for £2000 per claim.


To access ELCAS, you must have registered for it whilst in service (most Service personnel are enrolled automatically). You can claim your credits within five years of leaving the military (if you left on or after 1 April 2016). You can read the full eligibility rules here.

It is essential to follow the ELCAS process on the website and allow enough time before the start of your chosen course to claim funding – ELCAS advises a minimum of 25 working days before your course start date/registration date for those in service and slightly longer for veterans as the process is being completed remotely. The Single Service Resettlement Officer might only check this email once or twice weekly. Read the procedure for how to make a claim here.

What’s on offer?

Whether you’re looking for a career change or to upskill, the ELCAS has a range of learning providers, from established universities, further education institutions and private learning providers, with a wide variety of part and full-time courses. You could be looking for a qualification in nursing or finance, law or engineering – courses and qualifications are available across a range of vocations and subjects. You can browse using their advanced search here.

Annette Berry, Employment Lead for the Forces Employment Charity’s Military Women programme, explains that using your Enhanced Learning Credits can help with employability and your future career and can provide an accredited qualification to evidence your knowledge and skills to an employer formally. Enhanced Learning Credits can also help if you’re looking to change career or become self-employed, with accredited qualifications giving you a base to build upon.

The courses are flexible, whether you want to do part or full-time, distance or in-person learning. It is worth considering how you learn best and what learning style will most benefit you. If you struggle with self-motivation whilst working at home, perhaps an in-person course would suit you better. If you’re juggling busy work and family life, a part-time remote course might work best.

A key factor to remember is that you need to be motivated to complete the qualifications – don’t throw away your hard-earned credits on a course or qualification you can’t complete. You have five years after leaving the forces to use your credits, so start planning when and how to use them to benefit you most.

Before committing to a course, it is worth checking with a Forces Employment Charity Employment Consultant, as they have up-to-date knowledge of the careers market, which will help you get into the role or career you’re seeking. They may be able to advise other, cheaper alternatives, freeing up your ELCs for another qualification. Moreover, if you are looking at information technology or tech, first register with TechVets to see what is on offer for free before using your Credits.

For complete and up-to-date information on ELCs and how to claim them, you can contact ELCAS directly on 0330 0564202 or visit their website.

Employment and education grants

Aside from the ELCAS, another way of obtaining financial support to undertake vocational training and education is via the Royal British Legion’s Employment Support Grants. The main eligibility criteria for these grants are that you must be a veteran and your annual salary must be below £22,000. However, some exemptions exist, depending on individuals’ circumstances and outgoings.

Applying for a grant

At the Forces Employment Charity, we can support veterans by building a funding case for an RBL Employment Support Grant. If this interests you, following registration with us, you will be assigned a dedicated Employment Consultant who can advise you.

To build a funding case, your Employment Consultant will ask you to obtain:

  • A quote for the training course or qualification for which you are seeking a grant
  • A supporting letter from an employer – this doesn’t need to be an offer of employment but confirmation that to interview or be hired for a particular role, you would need to have completed the training for which you are seeking a grant. This helps strengthen your case that to gain specific employment or career advancement, you need this training.

Your Employment Advisor will also create a supporting statement explaining your job search, CV, and how this training would benefit your future employment.

All of this will comprise a claim which will be sent to the Royal British Legion (RBL). An RBL caseworker will then assess the claim and refer this to external funders. In some cases, funding can come via multiple funding streams, including the RBL and other charities.

It is essential to note some regional differences in funding. In Scotland, Scottish students don’t pay any university tuition fees, and there is also the SAAS (Student Awards Agency Scotland), which provides student loans and bursaries regardless of military involvement. Moreover, other grant-giving organisations, such as AF Bikers, are worth investigating. Your Employment Consultant can advise you on alternate funding streams where needed.

Success across multiple industries and career paths

Leanne Bonner, a Forces Employment Charity Employment Consultant, explains that she has helped veterans obtain grants for various training and qualifications for careers in the renewable sector, security services, gas engineering, graphic design and HGV driving. She explains how Employment Consultants listen to veterans, understand what they want from their careers, and construct a plan for getting there.

Leanne supported one veteran to gain a grant to start his own leather-carving business. The veteran says, ‘Leanne worked very hard and managed to get my business plan and cash flows all to fit in the required funding template we had to use and thankfully was mostly successful due in most part to Leanne’s perseverance, hard work and her faith in my business idea and products I design and hand make… Leanne kept a cool, professional head and made it happen for me, for which I am truly grateful. I now, at last, have a good workshop set up and am on track with several orders of leather work and have also managed to obtain four retail outlets that would like to stock some of my products.’


If you are interested in information technology careers and looking for free training and upskilling, TechVets is the best place to start. TechVets is a Forces Employment Charity programme which provides a bridge for service leavers, veterans, reservists and their families, allowing them to pursue information technology careers.

TechVets provides free training, much of which can be conducted virtually, enabling veterans to access opportunities that may otherwise be prohibitively expensive or unavailable elsewhere. The programme partners with 20 companies to provide training covering a wide range of areas, including UX and UI design, Digital Marketing and eCommerce, Cyber Security, Data Analytics and much more. Training partners include Google, Splunk, Pega, Immersive Labs and Fortinet.

The importance of upskilling in tech

Roles are becoming increasingly digital, making it critical for the Forces community to keep developing their digital skills, even at a base level. The ability to navigate technology, stay abreast of trends, and have specialist areas of expertise will enable you to stand out when applying for jobs.

Even if you are not looking for a role or career change, upskilling and training can provide life lessons. For example, TechVets offers free training for how to be secure online – skills that apply to your every day, regardless of your career aspirations.

Online community

TechVets also has an online community with over 4,000 members, some of whom have already found tech roles. This network allows members to ask questions, gain advice, connect with like-minded people, and discover others’ pathways into particular careers.

The community offers support by challenging cyber and tech myths and facilitating a space where members can ask critical questions – what certifications do you need? What are the career paths for particular areas of cyber and tech? What salary should you expect? In addition, the community provides pastoral support during difficult periods, such as when changing careers, leaving the military or returning to work []. It also enables members to contact and learn from veterans within the TechVets community who are experienced technology practitioners.

TechVets also provides employment support by connecting members to industry professionals, running industry events, providing a CV distribution service, and providing a platform where members can upskill to reach their target career goals.

What areas are popular or in demand in the current climate?

Deciding where to upskill and what training to do can be a challenge. TechVets’ community can provide advice, and you can browse what TechVets offers following registration.

James Murphy, Director of TechVets, highlights some in-demand areas in the current cyber and tech climate that you might wish to consider.

People management
One of technology’s biggest demands currently is for people who are tech-aware or have tech knowledge and can manage people. Often, individuals don’t want to move into management because they enjoy creative or technical work, which can often be forsaken at management or strategic levels. This has led to a considerable gap within tech, creating a need for candidates who can manage and lead teams. Training and upskilling of so-called ‘soft’ skills would be highly beneficial for individuals interested in leadership and are a considerable asset to tech and cyber organisations.

Cloud knowledge
Cloud knowledge is another key area with high demand for candidates. Many organisations favour storing files and applications on the cloud, as it means they don’t have to manage physical servers to store data – this can all be stored in external cloud servers managed worldwide. It also means that data can be accessed from any device from different locations. The increase in remote working and access has led to an increased requirement for cloud environments and, as such, an increased need for cloud architects and those who understand how to build cloud environments.

Data analysts and data scientists
Data analysts and data scientists are also sought after in today’s climate. The world’s biggest problems are being tackled by data analysts and data scientists, who try to make sense of data to find solutions. Individuals who know how to design, plan and collect vast quantities of data and how to use tools to draw insights and accurate information from data can help inform decision-makers and policy-makers. One prime example of how data was vital in assisting with a worldwide problem was during COVID-19. Findings derived from data were used to help predict virus trends and hot spots and were used to reduce risks. For example, insights from data highlighted which groups were more at risk from the virus. Data was also used to help society return to ‘normal’ after the pandemic.[1]

Despite the rise of generative AI and automation, there is still a need for individuals who can design, build, implement, troubleshoot and maintain computer programmes.

Cyber security
As we do more online, from shopping and banking to storing, processing and transferring confidential data, the risk of cyber-attacks increases. And with technology continually advancing, digital attacks have likewise become more sophisticated. From an organisational perspective, cyber security is integral for keeping intellectual property and confidential information safe and ensuring that its staff and clients are protected. Data breaches can be hugely costly and decrease clients’ trust, negatively impacting business. Consequently, cyber security and individuals who know how to protect online systems and programs are in huge demand.

If you’re a veteran, reservist, service leaver or family member interested in training and upskilling in the information technology and cyber sphere, sign up to TechVets for free today.

What are you waiting for?

Register for free with the Forces Employment Charity to be assigned an Employment Consultant who will support you through your employment journey, from training and upskilling to job-hunting, applications and interviews.


[1], accessed 09/08/23

We’re proud to announce that the Forces Employment Charity has been awarded the Gold Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Award for demonstrating our commitment to helping members of the military and their families.

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards and recognises companies for initiatives such as employing veterans, supporting personnel transitioning out of the Armed Forces into civilian life, and providing flexibility for reservists.

At the Forces Employment Charity, many of our staff are members of the military community, both veterans and spouses. We recognise the contribution that the Armed Forces and their families make to our nation and signed the Armed Forces Covenant to demonstrate our support.

Our commitment to supporting Service leavers, veterans and their families includes:

  • Attendance at all CTP job fairs.
  • Attendance at, and promotion of, Armed Forces Day and Reserves Day.
  • Improving our HR offer to Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers.
  • Chairing the Veterans Employer Advisory Board.
  • Chairing the COBSEO Employment Cluster and feeding our findings to the MoD via the Office for Veterans Affairs.
  • Chairing the COBSEO Subcluster for spousal employment, working closely with all three Family Federations.

Alistair Halliday, the Forces Employment Charity’s chief executive, said: “We are delighted to achieve ERS Gold status. This is a testament to the hard work of all our staff and recognises the charity’s considerable achievements in supporting the Armed Forces community since 1885. We’re fully committed to increasing the support we offer, ensuring veterans and their families receive the assistance they need to reach their full potential and feel successful and fulfilled in their civilian careers.”

Dr Andrew Murrison, Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, said: “I would like to thank all the organisations that have been recognised in this year’s awards. I’m delighted that we have seen so many organisations recognised with a gold award. Their continued support demonstrates the unique benefits and strengths that our Armed Forces community can bring to the workplace.”

Want to read more news stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter here!

The Forces Employment Charity has received a generous grant of £30,000 from the Veterans’ Foundation. The funding will enable us to continue our hugely successful work to provide employment advice, guidance and mentoring to veterans in the west of Scotland through our Ex-Forces Employment Programme.

The Ex-Forces Programme provides regionally based, comprehensive career advice and job opportunities to all ex-military personnel, irrespective of circumstances, rank, length of service, or reason for leaving.

Commenting on the grant, Alistair Halliday, the Forces Employment Charity’s chief executive, said: “The Forces Employment Charity plays a huge role in improving the lives of both veterans and their families. Our dedicated advisors are on hand to ensure our clients have everything they need to maximise their employability, so they can find meaningful and sustainable jobs. Thanks to the generous support of the Veterans’ Foundation, we can help more veterans and their families now than ever before and will continue to do so in the future.”

Founder and CEO of the Veterans’ Foundation, David Shaw, added; “We are delighted to be able to award this grant to the Forces Employment Charity, enabling them to continue to help armed forces veterans and their families. The advice and guidance they provide makes a real difference to those ex-service personnel in the West of Scotland who need help moving into a new career.”

The Veterans’ Foundation will soon have given almost £17 million in grants to over 400 charitable organisations helping those in need in the armed forces community and this is in no small part thanks to the players of the Veterans’ Lottery. If you want to join this incredible success story and provide vital funding for projects supporting ex-service personnel in need while being in with a chance to win an amazing £50,000 every month, sign up today.

Forces Employment Charity to host flagship career event to support women from the Armed Forces community

The Forces Employment Charity will host its flagship Women into Employment event on 5th June, as part of a wider campaign series designed to develop sustainable and fulfilling career opportunities for women from the Armed Forces community.

Chaired by Sky News Anchor Kimberly Leonard, the event will enable participants to hear from future-focused business leaders. Speakers will include representatives from sponsors Centrica, Sky and J.P. Morgan, about the value and merits of hiring talent from the Military community, as well as opportunities for female talent within their organisations.

Attendees will hear first-hand stories from inspirational women like Liz McConaghy, who have successfully transitioned from military to civilian employment.

Additional speakers will also be offering vital tips and advice during sector-specific breakout sessions. These will provide an understanding of different roles, and clear pathways into each industry sector, to help attendees plan the next stage of their career journey.

Breakout sessions include:

  • ‘Women Returners’ to work
  • Getting into the C-Suite
  • Succeed in project management
  • Opportunities in tech
  • Yours’ and others’ wellbeing in the workplace
  • Finding your purpose in the public and third sector
  • Careers tackling climate change
  • Being your own Boss
  • Leading in civilian teams

As well as offering multiple networking opportunities throughout the day, attendees will also be given the chance to take part in a quick-fire pitch to senior business leaders during the final session of the day.


Chloe Mackay, Deputy Chief Executive at the Forces Employment Charity, says: “Women into Employment has grown in popularity, year on year, with the experiences of some attendees having been truly transformational. We are really looking forward to delivering an exceptional programme this year, at what looks set to be our biggest and best event to date.”


It is the third time the charity has hosted the event and the first time the charity has been able to hold the event in person since Covid.


Laura Blair, Head of Centrica’s Ex-Forces Pathway and a veteran herself says: “Centrica is incredibly proud to headline sponsor Women into Employment 2023; the talent and transferable skills that exist right across the Armed Forces community is exceptional, bringing significant value and diversity of experience to businesses across the UK.  In our drive towards Net Zero we are actively engaging with and hiring ex-military; they have an impressive array of attributes that we value enormously.”


For information regarding how to sign up to attend the free event, as well as a pre-event networking evening on May 11th, visit:

The Forces Employment Charity and TechVets are delighted to announce an exciting new partnership with skills innovator Multiverse, designed to transform your career and boost your visibility as a highly-skilled veteran in the workplace.

Together, we’re thrilled to offer our fantastic community the chance to receive up to £35,000 worth of professional development, where you’ll gain essential technical skills building digital & data capabilities and learn how to apply these new skills directly to your role to maximise impact and ROI.

What’s on offer?

To turbocharge your career with fully-funded development, register for one of the incredible programmes here:

NB: Please do not try to apply for any programme via the links above, please speak with [email protected] to ensure you have the correct application link before getting started!

Who can apply?

If you’re part of the veteran community, including families and spouses, and currently in employment, you’re eligible for these fully-funded courses.

How do I apply?

Step 1 – review the eligibility criteria

Review Multiverse’s eligibility guidelines to ensure you meet their criteria.

Step 2 – register your interest in a place

Sign up for yourself, your direct report, or up to ten members of your team here. You’ll be invited to our Spotlight Session to find out more about the courses and help you start your application to join the right programme for you.

Step 3 – discuss time commitment with your manager

Introduce your manager to Multiverse and work with them on a joint success plan to ensure you’re able to carve out ~6 hours/week and have discussed how the programme will fit into your professional development goals.

Step 4 – submit your application by midnight on Wednesday 31 May 2023

Review the application guidelines to ensure you have the right documentation handy, then sign up via the programme links above, choosing ‘Veterans-Multiverse’ as your company name.

You’ll receive the application link once you’ve attended a programme Spotlight Session.

Step 5 – programme starts 26 – 30 June

Candidates will be notified of their application status prior to programme start date.

Not ready to apply?

Multiverse is running an information session for anyone who’d like to find out more:

Thursday 4 May 2023 at 1400 –

If you are part of the veteran community, looking for your next step but don’t yet know how these programmes can support you, register your interest at [email protected] and we’ll be in touch with future opportunities as they develop.

For further information, please get in touch with [email protected] stating your current situation or speak to your Forces Employment Charity advisor.

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