Without a doubt, finding a new career after leaving the military can be a daunting task. There are around 2.2 million Armed Forces Veterans in the United Kingdom and every year around 15,000 people leave the military to find civilian jobs.
This week, Steve Blake, Commercial Contracts Manager at Giganet, and former member of the British Army, offers up some top careers advice for military leavers.
Advice for military leavers video
Questions we asked Steve
What did you do before Giganet?
“Prior to working at Giganet, I spent 23 years in the British Army”.
How different is your role at Giganet to your role in the armed forces?
“My role here is massively different to what I am used to. I have been at Giganet for just over a year, I’d like to think that I’m reasonably well bedded in now, but the contrast is quite big.”
How did it feel to leave the forces and look for a civilian job?
“Leaving the forces initially was quite a daunting process to think about, but I’ve managed to transition into my role quite well. I’ve secured a great job with a great company and I’m just really enjoying every day and every challenge this new opportunity brings.”
What was the hardest thing to adjust to?
“I think the hardest thing to adjust to is probably the pace of life, the environment you are in, the people that you work with, and it is a complete polar opposite to being in the military.”
What military training helps you in your job today?
“I think the thing about hiring ex-forces personnel is the fact that we are very adaptable. We bring with us a great work ethic and a great mindset. We’re used to working under quite intense situations and working under duress.”
How has that added value to your current role?
“Yeah, I think the value the ex-forces personnel bring is our adaptability, the fact that we’re posted every two years and we learn a new role and a new environment. The world of being a civvy, is ever evolving and ever changing as well. It can be quite a rapid change. So, I think that mindset and that adaptability that we bring certainly does pay dividends to my current role.”
How did you get your job at Giganet?
“I managed to secure my current role purely by chance, having friends share job adverts via LinkedIn because they knew that I was reaching the end of my career and was looking for that next step out into the civilian world.”
How are Giganet helping veterans find work?
“Giganet’s got a great culture for hiring ex-military personnel. And I myself have been involved in a couple of military recruitment events, specifically targeting certain qualifications. And I think as an organization to enhance on those skill sets will only pay dividends in the future.”
How does this approach to recruitment benefit Giganet?
“I think as an organisation to capitalise on assets that are already trained, already high functioning individuals and bringing them into this organisation, which is rapidly growing across the country, is only a great thing really at the moment.
We’ve got ex-military people filling positions from customer service right the way through to the executive team and a real good mix of experience and caliber that comes with those individuals. And not forgetting as well the wives and partners of serving personnel that are in the organisation as well. So, all encompassing, I’d say Giganet is definitely a military friendly place to be.”
What are your top tips for veterans preparing to enter a civilian role?
“So, for anyone about to leave the forces I’d fully recommend getting on places like LinkedIn and really network hard. The ex-military network on platforms like that are really strong.
I’d say be prepared to accept change, I think as ex-forces or soon to be ex-forces personnel, you’re used to it, it’s the norm. So, embrace it.
This is really another planning exercise for you. Another, role change that you’re used to every two years anyway. So, change is a big thing.
Also, manage your expectations. Civilian street is not the military. You’ve got to curb your swearing for a start, but just the whole environment is completely different. So expect it, be prepared for it, adapt to it, and most of all just enjoy it.
Being outside of uniform is a really great thing. It’s not as scary as everybody thinks, but you’ve just got to be prepared for it. You’ve just got to have the right mindset and you’ve just got to attack it and just go for it, full throttle.”
Want to be part of our team?
With many jobs available and former armed forces personnel working in all areas of our business, we recognise how valuable these highly skilled individuals can be to a growing organisation like Giganet.
If you’re interested in any of our current roles or you’d like to register your CV for our future vacancies, visit our careers page
For anyone searching for more support or advice on careers in tech, you can also follow Steve on LinkedIn where he’s produced a series of blogs charting his own journey.