From the RAF to the Army and Navy Club

Ashley Stevenson used the OA’s employment services to leave the RAF and pursue a portfolio career.

Ashley joined the RAF in 1976, and left in 2013 as an Air Commodore. He had a full active career in the RAF, training to become a Harrier pilot and later becoming a Qualified Weapons Instructor and Harrier display pilot. He commanded Number 3 (Fighter) Squadron and led the first Joint Force Harrier air operations from HMS Illustrious during the Sierra Leone Crisis in 2000. Ashley went on to serve as the first NATO Commander of Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan, with a population of over 35,000 people and 400 aircraft. He also served as Commandant of the RAF College Cranwell, and as the UK Air Component Commander for the Middle East and Afghanistan.

On leaving the Armed Forces, Ashley sought the more flexible approach to work that a portfolio career could provide. This would give him the opportunity to apply his skills and experiences gained in the RAF across different disciplines.

As part of his preparations for starting a new career, Ashley registered with the OA. He had a career consultation with Clive Lowe, an OA Career Consultant, who gave tailored advice and CV support. Ashley also attended an OA employment event and signed up to the weekly newsletter.

The latest addition to Ashley’s portfolio is as a part-time military consultant for the Army & Navy Club, a position he successfully competed for after seeing it advertised in the weekly OA Executive Job List email. The role dovetails conveniently with his other commitments and interests, principally as a Defence Aerospace consultant, focusing on future capability project management and supporting bid proposals. In addition, Ashley finds time to serve as an RAF Volunteer Reserve pilot on an Air Experience Flight.

Ashley said: “The OA provided good support during my transition. I still regularly check the Executive Jobs board and read the email newsletters to keep up-to-date with the latest opportunities and careers advice.”

He found the skills gained as a senior officer beneficial to being a consultant. Commercial clients value his experience in project management, working with people from different backgrounds and completing tasks to a high standard under tight deadlines.

When Ashley was asked what advice he would give to Service leavers, he said: “Don’t leave it too late. Where possible, research and determine your intended future career path at least a year before you finally make the transition.”


Find out more

If you’re an officer transitioning from the Armed Forces, or a former officer looking to switch civilian careers, why not book a one-to-one consultation with one of our Careers Consultants – Book a consultation by calling 0117 906 3580 or via the OA Employment App. You must be registered with OA to access this service.