Defence and armed forces – guidance

Information for service leavers

The Career Transition Partnership helps people leaving the services to find new careers and jobs, along with a range of further support services.

The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) comprises the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and recruitment specialists Right Management and provides a resettlement service to eligible service leavers.

This is designed to help personnel leaving the armed forces to make a successful transition to civilian employment in a suitable second career, which is appropriate to their skills, knowledge, experience and aspirations.

Resettlement provision

Provision of resettlement starts up to 2 years before an individual is due to leave the armed forces. This provision is graduated and depends upon how long the service leaver has been serving in the armed forces.

Resettlement is delivered in three tiers:

  • 1st line at unit level: the service leaver makes initial contact with a resettlement information staff officer, who will provide information on what is available, give administrative support and direct the service leaver to the help and assistance he/she can receive within the system
  • 2nd line: the next level up, provided by the single services on a regional basis through a service resettlement adviser to give advice and guidance on the resettlement package which will best suit the service leaver
  • 3rd line: this compromises tri-service support provided under the CTP


Everyone on the trained strength is eligible to see a first and second line officer for information and advice on resettlement at any time during their careers. To be eligible for 3rd line services under the CTP, there are 2 levels of entry depending upon the length of service.

  1. Those who have completed 4 years or more service are entitled to an employment support programme (ESP)
  2. Those who have completed 6 years or more are entitled to the full service

Service leavers who have completed 6 years or more are also eligible for an amount of time, known as graduated resettlement time (GRT) which can be used to undertake resettlement activities. This is 4 weeks for those have 6 years but rises to 7 weeks for those who have completed 16 years or more. They are also eligible for a grant, the individual resettlement training costs grant, which can be used towards meeting the costs of training during resettlement. They will also receive travel and subsistence support for resettlement activities taken as part of GRT.

All service leavers also have access to briefs on housing advice, provided by the Joint Service Housing Advice Organisation (JSHAO).

Employment support programme

The employment support programme (ESP) service is available through the CTP to service leavers who have completed 4 years service, from 6 months before discharge up until 2 years post discharge.

Each service leaver is assigned an individual career consultant from either the Regular Forces Employment Association (RFEA), or, in the case of an officer, the Officer Association (OA). The consultant will provide detailed advice on the types of service which the individual may be suitable for in the region to which they intend to relocate.

The service leaver will also have access to a comprehensive database of jobs, many of which are available exclusively to service leavers, and the consultant will help them in making contact with prospective employers. The consultant will also give advice on other regional matters such as schooling, housing and so forth. Because the RFEA and OA have charitable status, an ex-service person can also go to them after 2 years post discharge and receive the services for the rest of their working lives.

Full resettlement service

The full service is available through the CTP for those service leavers who have completed 6 years service or more and commences up to 2 years before discharge until 2 year post discharge.

The services provided include:

  • allocation of a personal career consultant, with unlimited face-to-face contact
  • various workshops, which will assist a service leaver in producing a CV, researching the job market, preparing for an interview and responding to job adverts. There are also options which give guidance to those service leavers who intend to retire
  • access to training so that transferable skills which service leavers develop during their time in the armed forces can lead to equivalent civilian qualifications
  • access to the ESP

Resettlement training

Training may be undertaken internally at a specialist training centre for military personnel (the Resettlement Training Centre (RTC), Aldershot), where a range of training courses are on offer. The centre has management studies, engineering and building trades departments.

The management studies department offers courses for potential bursars, potential police officers, project managers, facilities managers and so forth. The engineering department offers courses on security, health and safety, electrical installation, IT and so forth. The building trades department offers courses in bricklaying, carpentry and joinery, painting and decorating, plumbing, plastering, dry lining, texturing and tiling. All are excellent value for money and almost all can be paid for from service leavers’ IRTC grant. Many lead to civilian-recognised qualifications.

Service leavers may also undertake training through a network of external, civilian training organisations, known as preferred suppliers which are audited by the RTC Aldershot to ensure value for money.

Medical discharges

A range of special services are available for medical discharges. They are all entitled to the IRTC grant, GRT and CTP services, irrespective of the length of time that they have served, including if they are discharged while under training. There is also a fast-track programme for them because the length of time between being informed of the decision to discharge and discharge itself is often quite short. For those who are not able to undertake resettlement services because of their medical condition, it is possible to defer resettlement for up to 2 years after discharge and, in extreme cases, resettlement provision may be transferred to the spouse of the the service leaver.

Early service leavers

Personnel who are discharged while under training, or those personnel who are discharged compulsorily, are eligible for a reduced resettlement provision.

These personnel, known as early service leavers, are often discharged at very short notice and so are directed or signposted to the help and guidance that they can receive from other government departments and ex-service welfare organisations and charities. All early service leavers will be given a comprehensive resettlement brief and a detailed one-to-one interview by an officer, or someone with equivalent status, at unit level.

During this interview issues specific to the individual will be explored and he or she will be put in touch with the Department of Work and Pensions, though its Jobcentre Plus offices, which will be able to provide help for finding a job.

Contact will also be made on behalf of the early service leaver with the Joint Service Housing Advice Organsiation or the Single Persons Accommodation Centre for the ex-services, if there are accommodation issues involved, and/or the ex-service charities where appropriate.

For those who are identified as requiring further help while in service, they may be referred to a service resettlement advisor or to a specialist CTP consultant for a one-off interview for further guidance.