Ministry of Defence: Leaving the UK Services


The Ministry of Defence (the Department) needs to recruit around 20,000 men and women each year to the Armed Forces. The Department draws its workforce from a broad section of society including from areas of high unemployment and people with few qualifications. Recruits are required to adapt to military life and ethos and, where it is essential, give up a few of the freedoms they enjoyed as civilians. In order to equip personnel with the necessary skills and attitudes for the full spectrum of military operations including war fighting, the Services instill a culture of discipline; reliance on others; and acceptance of orders. Although Armed Forces personnel can have a long, fulfilling career, the majority of them will leave the Armed Forces at least 25 years before the current national retirement age and will need and wish to pursue a full second career.

The Department believes that “a robust and effective system of resettlement provision is a fundamental pillar of personnel support and a tangible manifestation of the Armed Forces’ commitment to be an employer of first choice”. Such provision should allow military personnel to serve secure in the knowledge that they will receive assistance to prepare them for life and future employment when they leave the Services. Of course, much of the ultimate responsibility for a successful return to civilian life rests with the individual Service Leaver who needs to exploit the opportunities offered by the Department’s resettlement provision.

Full Reference

NAO, 2007. Leaving the Services, [online] Available at: <https://www.nao.org.uk/report/leaving-the-services/>.