Transition Story: making your military skills work for you

The skills and knowledge you gain throughout your military career are of enormous value to business. This is the resounding message coming from organisations like Virgin Money, who now actively recruit former service personnel in recognition of their skill sets and the value they add to their business.

Richard Garman is a perfect example of a former officer who is utilising his experience and skills gained in the forces, to make an impact in his post military life. Richard joined Virgin Money in Newcastle as a Project Manager in Mortgages and Savings – a stark contrast to his post as an officer in charge of physical training at the CTC Lympstone.

Before making the transition, Ex Royal Marine Richard, served in Somalia, the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. “I look back at my time in the Marines with very fond memories and a tinge of sadness, but I wanted to be with my family”, he says.

Transitioning into civilian work isn’t always a straightforward process. The adjustment can present a whole series of hurdles, and if like Richard, you spent your entire adult life (or a great deal of it) in the armed forces, the prospect of leaving that regimented setting can be unnerving.

You may ask yourself questions like ‘Will my experience and skill set even translate to hiring managers? Will I understand the workplace lingo?’ and ‘What am I expected to wear?’

The business culture often differs from that of the Services but this ‘experience gap’ is very much acknowledged by many organisations like Virgin Money, who now work with the Officers’ Association (OA) to develop programmes that are able to bridge this gap and ensure a smoother transition for new recruits like Richard.

“It is not just about explaining military skills and experience”, says Peter Liddle, Business Development Manager for the OA. “We work with employers like Virgin Money to help them translate the potential former officers can deliver to their business for minimal effort.”

The OA ran a joint Financial Services Insight Event with Virgin Money in Newcastle back in May 2016. Offering coherent information and advice, the event showcased a handful of speakers to inspire confidence in service leavers to consider financial services as a career option.

With his military skills and knowledge put to good use in his new role, Richard is now happily settled in Newcastle with his wife and young son.


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Read more about Richard Garman’s transition experience and how Virgin Money supports service leavers

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