In the first of our series of stories from veterans to mark Remembrance Day, former Royal Marine, Simon talks about his work at Prospects where he has inspired more than 400 people to develop their potential since he joined in 2012. Simon is a personal adviser for the government’s Work Programme, supporting people who have been out of work for more than 12 months. The people he works with are claiming work-related benefits and most recently Simon has been supporting those claiming Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
As a veteran, Simon bring a wealth of experience, but more importantly he brings insights into the barriers faced by ex-servicemen and women now facing civilian life. The Armed Forces provide training and support for their personnel when they are discharged, provision is provided by the Career Transition Partnership (CTP). However, many left the services before the formation of the CTP and are unaware of support available to them.
Leaving the life they have known can also be a very challenging time for individuals. Not every veteran has a secure network of family and friends or someone to turn to, as they did within service. Veterans can face the loss of comradery, personal status, regularity of timings and a career that would have been their main focus while they served.
Simon comments: “Being a veteran isn’t something that people will know, unless you disclose it to them and or offer up the information. It will not always be evident to those that you meet in civvy street and you are unlikely to be marked as being different from other people who are long term unemployed. It is not always distinguished within services or individuals that veterans may come in to contact with after leaving service; the job centre, local governments, prospective employers. However, being a veteran can add to the difficulties and issues you face if you come across an individual that does not understand you as an individual and your experiences. Many ex-service personnel find when they return to civvy street, they feel as if they don’t belong, and do not speak the same language as civilians, veterans are often used to using their service language and acronyms and this can be very different within the Navy, Army, RAF and Royal Marines.”
Simon continues: “Being in the services is all encompassing, your routine and direction are often very fixed, when you leave you lose your home, your friends and your way of life, some people find the adjustment is often too great. As former Royal Marine I can relate to it because I have lived and been through similar difficulties, having been out of work for almost a year after being medically discharged myself.”
Simon is involved in developing an organisation called ExFor+ CIC. A CIC is a community interest company, which sits in the middle ground between a business and a charity. ExFor+ CIC works with and employs veterans within voluntary roles moving to paid employment after a period of probation. Veterans are supported and encouraged to progress at their own pace into other employment opportunities, self employment or education. ExFor+ CIC is working with Prospects to provide mentoring, coaching, training and employment through their government contracts including the work programme and work choice programmes.
Nick Bell, Prospects Chief Executive is proud to support Simon’s work. Nick comments: “As someone with family members who served in the forces I know how difficult it can be for some people to make the transition into life on civvy street. I am delighted that Prospects play a crucial role in helping many people make this transition more easily, and that we are able to support Simon in the development of the EXFOR+ Community Interest Company, which will help strengthen that support even further.'
ExFor+ CIC has increased the definition of “veteran” to include anyone who has served the United Kingdom within the uniformed public services (police, fire and ambulance services) as well professionals working within the NHS and coastguard. Supported by Prospects, ExFor+ CIC aims to remove many of the difficulties veterans face moving from a uniformed life. ExFor+ CIC is supported by two of the UK’s largest armed forces charities and will work towards better resettlement and veteran employability.
Prospects delivers the government’s Work Programme across the South West, supporting people who are long term unemployed back into meaningful work. Visit www.gettingthesouthwestworking.co.uk for more information or contact Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Notes to Editor
The Prospects Group provides tailored education, employment, training and care products and services for people at all stages of life. Each year Prospects inspires more than 500,000 people to develop their potential and transform their lives. More than 1,400 professional and skilled colleagues provide practical support to the local communities they are based in across the UK and internationally. Prospects is one of the largest employee owned companies in the UK. It is also a Leader in Diversity and ranked in the top 100 index by the National Centre for Diversity.
Alona de Havilland
07790 803882 or 01823 362804
Senior Communications Manager
020 8315 1023 or 07901 922211