Navigating education transitions and career paths

Helping students adapt to new environments and find their career paths


For many young people, navigating the educational landscape and planning for their future career can be a challenging journey. But, when you add the complexity of being part of a military family the challenges can become even more daunting. Ruby, a resilient and determined 18 year old provides us with a glimpse into her experiences as a military child and how she has found support and guidance through dedicated support from the Forces Employment Charity.

A life of movement

Growing up in a military family means a life of constant change. Ruby’s father’s career in the military led to a childhood characterised by frequent relocations across various countries. “I have lived all over the place as my dad is in the military. I have been to seven or eight schools in my lifetime in different countries,” Ruby shares. This lifestyle exposed Ruby to a range of cultures and experiences, but it also brought about unique challenges in terms of education and transition.

“Cyprus was the best one!” Ruby says. During her time in Cyprus, she attended a small school in Akrotiri, a British Overseas Territory on the island. Despite the geographical distance from other military bases, Ruby found a sense of camaraderie among her peers. “We were all in the same boat. And we all got there at the same time. Because it was such a small school, it was a lot easier to make friends. We all understood each other,” Ruby recalls.

The educational journey

Changes and adaptations have marked Ruby’s educational journey. “I have been to three or four primary schools and two/three secondary schools,” she states. These transitions and her family’s unique circumstances brought about the need for specialised support.

Kelly, Education and Skills Liaison, has been instrumental in Ruby’s journey. She points out the challenges Ruby faced as a military family member seeking consistency in her education. Kelly goes on to shed even more light on the need for comprehensive transition support for military children and young people, like Ruby. “There is now a progression mentor at Ruby’s college, I got in contact and now Ruby has someone to talk to if anything is on her mind. But it took us intervening to really get moving. The real heartache is that we had to intervene. The support should have been there before.”

Military transitions and career aspirations

Kelly’s involvement with Ruby began when she registered for support with the EM3 Veterans and Families programme. Ruby’s situation requires a lengthy commute to her college due to the type of courses she wants to continue pursuing. “Since moving, I need to travel quite far to get to college, a train, a ferry and a bus!”

The journey wasn’t just about the physical commute but also about finding the right educational path. Ruby started off with BTECs, which differ from A levels, but when she moved colleges around her only did A levels. Her determination to follow her desired career and not jump around too much required strategic planning. “The right solution was to keep her at her current college, but now there is just that financial implication that’s not been budgeted for,” Kelly remarks.

Empowering aspirations

Kelly’s role extended beyond logistical support. She assisted Ruby in creating a strong CV, exploring university options that aligned with her interests in law and psychology, and investigating potential summer placements to enhance her skill set. The support also addressed the mental and emotional challenges Ruby faced. “Kelly has been incredibly helpful. She’s helped me with research and pointed me in the right direction, so I’m not worrying about a million things at once. She’s helped me break things down step by step and is so supportive with everything,” Ruby acknowledges.

Ruby’s advice

Ruby’s advice to other young people facing similar situations is clear: “Even if you are only thinking about registering and not sure about it, go for it anyway because the Forces Employment Charity is so helpful in many ways. Anybody could do with someone who helps ease their worries or thoughts and anything they have – academics or job opportunities.”

Ruby’s journey underscores the importance of tailored support for military families as they navigate educational transitions and career aspirations. With the right resources, mentorship, and determination, young individuals like Ruby can overcome challenges and reach their full potential.

Whether you’ve decided on your dream job or you haven’t got the first idea what you want to do (yet) we can help. From creating CVs to interview coaching and university applications to linking with mentors our team is here to support you. For more information and to register for the EM3 Veterans and Families Programme click here.

The EM3 Veterans and Families programme is part funded by the European Social Fund.

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