Forces Leavers coming out of the Services will bring a range of technical and vocational ‘hard’ skills for which civilian employers are looking. These could include skills gained in a number of different roles, such as those within engineering, IT, logistics, training, administration or communication.
As well as these vital technical skills, employers also value so-called ‘soft skills’, such as teamwork, communication, time management, adaptability, commitment and leadership.
A recent study commissioned by employers and organisations including Barclays, McDonald’s and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) found that these skills are worth around £88 billion a year to the UK economy, particularly in businesses that rely on ’face-to-face human interaction’.
Ex-military personnel will usually be in a particularly strong position when it comes to these valuable soft skills.
The charity SkillForce has long recognised this fact, drawing on the skills of ex-Forces personnel to inspire young people within schools.
Peter Cross OBE, Chief Executive of SkillForce, said: “Our charity has used the values of ex-Servicemen and women for 10 years to develop skills such as resilience, teamwork, communication and taking responsibility in young people.”
Referring to the study, he added: “This is an important study and a good example of how helping young people build character as well as attain qualifications is important to our economy and, crucially, to the young person’s future success.”
Forces Leavers looking to enter the civilian jobs market should flag up these soft skills alongside any hard skills they will have developed.
Those with a Forces background might think that skills, such as effective communication and the ability to work as part of a team, would be commonplace, but this isn’t always the case. If you can identify your soft skill strengths and provide specific examples of how and when you have used them, make a point of bringing them up at job interviews. Potential employers will definitely value them.