As members of the Royal Air Force, each Service Person will inevitably return to civilian life at some point, whether at the end of their formal engagement, or due to family obligations, health or unforeseen circumstances. If this is you, it is never too soon to prepare for this major change in your life. Time spent considering all the factors well in advance of discharge makes planning for your return to civilian society and commencing a civilian career far less stressful. It will also allow you time to make sensible provisions and exploit every opportunity that Service life offers to improve yourself.
The process of Transition - your journey
From the moment you join, you will be preparing for life after the Armed Forces. Transition is the through-career preparation of all service personnel to make a successful return to civilian life. This takes the form of information being made available to all Service people and their families in order to;
increase their awareness of the challenges they will face so that they can successfully navigate a return to civilian society
highlight opportunities to develop themselves whilst still in service
plan their future taking account of changing circumstances, and
ensure that the basic requirements for a successful future are regularly checked.
The key elements of a successful transition are: Health, Housing, Finance, Employment, Education, and Welfare. If you are well prepared in these areas, your transition to civilian life will be much smoother. Information will be made available to you in order to increase your overall awareness, which will help equip you to make and maintain personal or family contingency plans as you progress through your military career. Although information will be available to all service personnel, it is YOUR responsibility to make the best use of it to help in YOUR journey towards life after the Armed Forces.
Transition is something that you do for yourself with the information that is made available to you. It precedes Resettlement, which occurs in the last two years of service, based on entitlement.
These web pages are intended to assist you in planning and taking forward your transition, whatever stage you may be at, by providing useful links to other web pages. This should be used alongside the RAF policy for Transition.
On leaving the RAF, the Service leaver, and dependants where applicable, will need to de-register and transfer from Defence Medical Services (DMS) in order to register with a civilian GP practice. Service leavers are eligible for temporary registration with an NHS GP practice during the transition process should they not be able to readily access a DMS medical centre. However all Service leavers must complete the DMS de-registration process in order to ensure transfer of their medical history and care to the NHS
NHS registration. Guidance on Service leavers registering with GP and Dental Practices is obtainable from DMS medical and dental practices. SL should be able to find a suitable NHS GP practice using the appropriate regional NHS Service locator via the internet. A comprehensive healthcare guide is also found on the CTP website: www.ctp.org.uk.
English NHS Services Search http://www.nhs.uk/service-search
Welsh NHS Services Search http://www.nhsdirect.wales.nhs.uk/localservices
Scottish NHS Services Search http://www.nhs24.com/FindLocal
NI NHS Services Search http://servicefinder.hscni.net/
CTP - https://www.ctp.org.uk/
Private Healthcare - http://www.privatehealth.co.uk/
On leaving the RAF entitlement to Service accommodation ceases and it becomes the responsibility of the individual to arrange their own accommodation. A housing brief on possible options is available from the CTP as part of the resettlement process and via their website. Additional advice can be obtained through the Joint Service Housing Advice Organisation (JSHAO) which provides specialist housing information and advice to all Service Personnel (and their dependants) in order to encourage them to consider their civilian housing options and to assist in their transition to civilian life. The JSHAO is set up to provide Service personnel and their families with information and advice on the increasingly complex range of civilian housing options. The JSHAO provides a focal point for housing information and advice to all Service personnel and their families in particular those about to return to civilian life, and to ex-service personnel who are still in service families’ accommodation.
JSHAO - https://www.gov.uk/housing-for-service-personnel-and-families
Finance undoubtedly plays a big part in the majority of life decisions we make. For this reason all SP are advised to seek independent financial advice to meet their specific needs. In addition to Independent Financial Advisors (IFAs), who may charge a fee for their services, there are a number of other free agencies that can be utilised such as MoneyForce and the Money Advice Service. The CTP delivers a separate finance brief as part of the resettlement package. Pension forecasts can be obtained from DBS on request. External help and advice on military pensions can be obtained through the Forces Pensions Society.
The majority of Service leavers will enter, or be looking to enter, further employment on leaving the Service. The primary means of support to the Service leaver is given through the Resettlement process. When an individual makes the decision to leave the RAF, or comes to the end of their career, they should make sure that they contact their Unit Resettlement and Education Co-ordinators (REC) or Regional Resettlement Advisor (RRA) to find out about the range of support available to them and the means of registering and accessing the Career Transition Partnership (CTP). With the registration process complete, client details are automatically transferred over to the CTP, and the resettlement process begins, usually with the booking of a three day Career Transition Workshop (CTW). This workshop provides clients with the framework for making a successful transition from the Armed Forces to civilian employment, and introduces them to the full range of support on offer.
Current MOD policy limits the level of resettlement support to Early Service Leavers, i.e. those with less than 4 years service, however recognising that they may be at a disadvantage in the labour market and often do not know how to access the support that is available to them the Future Horizons Programme has been developed to improve resettlement provision.
SORTED! is an employability initiative involving some existing Service Charities delivered through an online web based portal which can be accessed via the internet. The charities have agreed to look at integrating their employability services under this single brand to provide easier access and more effective help for the Forces community (including spouses/partners and dependents).
22 (Trg) Gp is responsible for the delivery of individual training and education for the RAF encompassing both personal and professional development commencing at the start of Phase 1 training and running all the way through career including assisting a SP transitioning into civilian life at the end of their service. Individuals are also supported with personal development through the ability to access Standard and Enhanced Learning credits. Local/unit T&E staff should be able to advise on all aspects of personal and professional development.
Education of Dependent Children
The Children’s Education Advisory Service (CEAS) is a Tri-Service organisation funded by the MOD. It provides information and support to Service families and eligible MOD civilians on all aspects of the education of their children in the UK and overseas.
There are a number avenues of welfare support which change as Service leavers make the transition from Service to Veteran detailed below. If Line Managers or Chain of Command have concerns about a Service leaver during their transition process they should bring this to the attention of unit HR/welfare staff so that support can be provided at the earliest opportunity. The Service leaver may engage directly with any of these agencies and/or unit HR/welfare staff if they require additional support.
Veterans Welfare Service (VWS). On leaving the RAF the principal means recommended for welfare support is through DBS Veterans-UK. Veterans-UK are able to provide advice and support on many topics with established links to other Government Departments and Service charities.
SSAFA. The RAF has an established contract with SSAFA to provide a Personal Support & Social Work Service to its personnel to give SP and families comprehensive and confidential support and help them to cope with these problems in conjunction with unit welfare staff. The service is delivered by a team of Social Workers and Personal and Family Support Workers with a special focus on services for adults, but including children, young people and their families.
HIVE information support. HIVE is an information network available to all members of the Service community. It serves both married and single personnel, together with their families and dependants employed by the Services. Service personnel, families and dependants can visit the RAF Community Support website to find out the nearest HIVE and details of the local HIVE Blog.
Veterans-UK - http://www.veterans-uk.info/
SSAFA - https://www.ssafa.org.uk/
HIVE - https://www.raf.mod.uk/community/support/raf-hive-information-service/