FORMER service personnel in Greater Manchester who have found the transition from the military to the civilian world particularly challenging will soon be able to access specialised employment support so they can get back into work.

The new Ex-Military Skills for Employment programme, which has been made possible by grant funding from The Royal British Legion, aims to break the cycle for vulnerable veterans who feel ready to get into work with civilian employers but have struggled to secure or retain employment for any length of time due to challenging personal circumstances.

It will be available for early service leavers and veterans that have suffered a physical or mental injury, have developed substance misuse issues, possess a criminal record or have experienced homelessness.

Groundwork MSSTT has significant experience in helping vulnerable members of society back into work through its Blue Sky programme for ex-offenders and have already supported a small number of veterans as part of this initiative. The funding from The Royal British Legion will allow them to work with a number of local veteran charity partners and employers to generate transitional employment opportunities that veterans can use when applying for future permanent positions. In addition, the programme will offer intensive mentoring, support and training to build skills and confidence and provide an understanding of essential workplace behaviours.

Blue Sky and employment programme manager at Groundwork MSSTT, Venetia Knight said: “We are really excited to be kick-starting this new project which will enable us to support vulnerable veterans living in Greater Manchester to be able to achieve the independence and security of a new career, for both themselves and their families.

“Most people achieve a successful transition into civilian life after a military career; however for some people the physical or mental injuries they have sustained following combat or the real social isolation some veterans experience in the civilian world following the security, camaraderie and routine of a life in the armed forces can make securing a stable and settled career particularly challenging.

“With the funding from The Royal British Legion, and the support of specialist charities and local employers, we are looking forward to being able to make positive change to the long term futures of some of our more vulnerable veterans following their life in service.”

Alison Bunn, area manager for the Royal British Legion, said: “Skills for Employment from Groundwork MSSTT is a great example of a practical programme which will help to make that journey go more smoothly for veterans who can often find it hard to adjust to life after Service. It fills a gap in current services in this area by providing that direct link with an employer through work placement. Giving veterans this experience enables them to enhance their CVs and can also help them to understand the transferable skills they already have from their career in the Services. All of this can build confidence and experience which will help them to move towards sustained employment in the future.”

The aim of the programme is for veterans to progress into sustained employment and gain long-lasting positive changes in their personal circumstances as a result of having a regular salary and routine, the opportunity to learn new skills, increased social interaction and improvements in confidence and feelings of self-worth.