This has been an extraordinary time as the Coronavirus has begun to take hold in the UK. The Governments are working hard to try and help us all contain it and whatever else you do, please follow the clear advice they have given: stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
For those of you who are in the middle of the resettlement process and that daunting transition journey from the Military into Civvy Street this will be an unsettling time. The economy has effectively been put on hold and so most potential employers will not be looking to hire people for now. But that does not mean that you should stop thinking and planning about what you want to do when things start to return to normal.
Please use this time well, as I believe Services Leavers and veterans may benefit from an improved understanding across the wider population of the skills and talent they have to offer. Employers and educational institutions are going to get a better feel for Service Leavers’ and veterans’ capabilities as they watch the Military add real value in this crisis.
You will have seen the Military helping the NHS, using their planning and logistic skills to organise the distribution of critical PPE and other items and helping to build the giant field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients at the SECC in Glasgow. Civilians and employers are seeing first-hand on their own TV screens, the value and expertise you bring to the workplace.
Use this time positively to focus on those organisations who will need your skills and work on your CVs to get them properly focused. Do not forget that CTP is still there virtually – so do use their on-line resources. Preparation is key so that you can launch with confidence and drive when the situation improves. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) also provide career information, advice and guidance to veterans and their families, and are continuing to offer support via telephone, or online. Their dedicated Armed Forces & Veterans Page can be accessed here.
The Scottish Government and SDS are working to ensure their PACE (Partnership Action for Continuing Employment) service offer is responsive to the emerging situation with updates posted to SDS’s website. For PACE support, individuals and employers can call the helpline on 0800 917 8000 or visit redundancyscotland.co.uk
And for those of you who are fit and well and now settled into your new civilian lives, I would encourage you to step up to the plate and volunteer to help in this crisis. Here is a great opportunity for you to show to your neighbours that veterans have so much to offer and we are a force for good. You will also know of those veterans who will need support and so by volunteering, you can help ensure they are not forgotten. You can sign up via the Ready Scotland website here.
Whatever else, please do observe the Governments’ guidelines during this critical period: stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. And to all of you – stay safe.