Careers in the forces

I had an interesting conversation with an old friend of mine who works in the defence industry. I was asking about how the forces deal with issues related to careers. I’ve noticed that lots of the careers literature in North America discusses the role of careers work in supporting the resettlement of armed forces personnel, but that there is a lot less discussion of this in the UK. It had occured to me that there were a few issues relating the interface between the forces and careers work, but in conversation a number more occured to me.

Here is a brief list of issues that I think might be worthy of further examination.

  • The nature of the careers information and supporting interventions that the forces provide to schools and other places that they recruit from.
  • The process of talent management once people are recruited into the armed forces. In particular as people start to move further up the chain of command and further away from the front line. What kind of training, CPD, HR and careers interventions do the forces use to help identify, direct and manage talent?
  • The process of resettlement and transition back into civilian life.
  • How the armed forces and other employers manage tension between the dual career and dual identity that those in the territorial forces need to maintain.

It seems to me that there are a lot of interesting issues that the world of career development might have something to contribute to. If anyone can point me towards any research or contacts in this area I’d be very interested to follow this up further.



  1. Jobcentres used to provide a resettlement service to forces personnel who had completed nine or more years. I went on a regular basis to RAF Newton back in the 1980s.RANT: I am getting very tired of "Why don’t we do this, that or the other?" when service used to be there and is no longer.

  2. It might be good to have a list of "Good things that the careers service used to do that the government should think about funding again".Hazel do you fancy drawing it up?

  3. I can think of a number of people who would be better at it than I could be – I was never a careers person! Employment adviser in a Jobcentre for most of my time and then on YTS and Training Access Points. However, I’ll start the ball rolling on LinkedIn and see what happens from there.

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