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TZ News: Coalition asked to support ex-forces with training programmes

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Organisations representing the interests of ex-service personnel have called on the Coalition Government to encourage civilian employers to offer practical support in the form of training programmes and work placements.
A report submitted to the House of Commons today by former Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mike Jackson, who is head trustee of The ForceSelect Foundation, which provides financial support to small services charities, warned that high levels of service leaver unemployment required that urgent action be taken.
The situation is only expected to get worse over the next two years, however, with Government cutbacks forecast to see the number of people leaving the armed forces more than triple from 24,000 a year to 75,000.
The study, which was based on research among the more than 6,000 service leavers registered on the Foundation’s database, was published in partnership with its sister organisation ForceSelect, which specialises in recruitment for this group, and training provider, the Employment and Skills Group.
Jackson said: “In light of the Strategic Defence and Security Review, with an estimated 30,000 incremental personnel set to leave the Armed Forces between now and 2020, careful consideration must be given to the welfare of those who face another challenge – that of adjusting to civilian life.”
This challenge required “consideration of a broad spectrum of care”, which included training, employment, housing, education, healthcare and family welfare, he added.
While some training was already available to help prepare forces personnel for civilian life, the report questioned whether it was relevant to the current jobs market and recommended that closer links be established with employers in order to develop job-specific training programmes. Partnerships with employers should also be set up to help devise career plans and, ideally, provide former service personnel with extended work placements.
But the services themselves likewise had a part of play. For example, it was imperative that employers ensured qualifications were recognised in, and tailored to, the demands of the civilian labour market. Individuals should also be provided with personal development planning sessions that could be referenced and reviewed in line with civilian workplace criteria.

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Jon Kennard

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