A skilled Armed Forces community
The 2013 Forces in Mind Trust’s Transition Mapping Study defined good transition as being: “one that enables ex-Service personnel to be sufficiently resilient to adapt successfully to civilian life, both now and in the future. This resilience includes financial, psychological, and emotional resilience, and encompasses the ex-Service person and their immediate families.”
The Scottish Veterans Commissioner’s “Positive Futures: Getting Transition Right in Scotland” paper in 2019 developed this thinking by stating ‘good transition’ is about: “ensuring our veterans and their families are sufficiently resilient to adapt successfully to civilian life and are empowered to make informed choices to realise their full potential.”
Most veterans and their families transition well, possessing the necessary qualifications, skills and qualities required to experience a ‘good transition.’ However, a minority require extra support, which the Defence Transition Services (DTS) and Career Transition Partnership (CTP) amongst others can provide.
Much more needs to be done for this goal to be achieved. For example, there still is a requirement to achieve greater consistency in accessing information, and providing quality supporting provision. This extra support also needs to be further embedded early in service, and in preparation for, during, and post transition. It is also clear that the Scottish Government needs to collaborate with the Ministry of Defence in this policy area due to overlapping responsibilities.
Therefore, the planned bespoke Transition Pathway for Scotland is a step in the right direction. However, to assist with making these improvements in a collaborative way, the Scottish Government, along with the UK Government should jointly commission an independent review of existing targeted provision in Scotland aimed at supporting the most vulnerable serving personnel, veterans, and families to experience a ‘good transition.’ The review should look at the Defence Transition Service, Career Transition Partnership, and other support available across public, private and third sectors with a view to answering what works well, what is missing, and what more is required.
Over the course of the next Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government should:
Commission and act on an independent review of existing targeted provision aimed at supporting the most vulnerable serving personnel, and veterans to experience a ‘good transition.’
"I served for five years in the 32nd Regiment Royal Artillery until I was granted an Administrative Discharge on the grounds that I was suffering from PTSD. When I was discharged, I certainly didn’t feel prepared to handle life going forward. When you are in the Army, you do not worry about bills and everything is organised for you. You are told what to do, but, when you come out, it is all up to yourself and your daily life has no structure or organisation. Giving us a heads up for what comes next would be good. Knowing what’s out there – more info about charities and support – list of places and people who can help as once you left you don’t feel part of the MOD anymore.”