Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) has awarded £115,122 to the Officers’ Association, to identify the transition challenges and barriers that all ranks of Service leavers aged 50 plus face when entering civilian employment.  This is the first time the specific challenges that older Service leavers encounter on the transition pathway will be examined.

Spanning a year, the project will take a tri-Service approach and cover all ranks. The research will be carried out by the Centre for Research into the Older Workforce who specialise in research into employability of the older population.

A mixed methods approach will be used including focus groups and surveys of both Service leavers and employers. In addition, a wide range of stakeholders will be consulted including government departments and Armed Forces charities.

The study will also explore the impact for Service leavers from an employer’s perspective and identify areas of best practice where organisations are supporting this group of potential employees.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind, said: “It has become a rarity for a Service person to leave the Armed Forces and not seek some form of employment, regardless of their age.  In wider society, demographics and economics suggest that many people will be working throughout their later years. It is vital that when leaving the Armed Forces, at whatever age, that future employment is accessible, suitable and fulfilling.  That act of transition is successful for the majority of Service leavers, but there is a minority who have a more challenging experience.

“It is the mission of Forces in Mind Trust to enable a successful and sustainable transition for all ex-Service personnel.  For this project, our links to, for example, the Centre for Ageing Better, other Cobseo employment charities and Government Departments, make us well placed to ensure that the evidence produced will enable policymakers and service providers to support older Service leavers as they transition into civilian employment.”

Lee Holloway, Chief Executive Officer, Officers’ Association, said: “There are known barriers to employment for those aged 50 plus, and so this research project gives us an opportunity to define and document those that exist for Service leavers.  Given the investment made in the training of Service leavers, combined with their experience and leadership qualities, we want to ensure there is a level playing field for this key segment of our Armed Forces when they seek out civilian employment opportunities.”


Note to Editor:  Ray Lock and Liz Stevens are available for interview. To arrange please contact Tina McKay, Communications Officer at FiMT on or on 07956 101132 or 0207 901 8916.

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Liz Stevens, Head of the Officers’ Association Employment Services, said: “This is a great opportunity to get a better understanding of how best to support those leaving the Services who are aged 50 plus and their specific needs. It will also enable us to work more effectively with employers to maximise the great experience and skills this group can bring to their organisations.”

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships. All work is published in open access and hosted on the Forces in Mind Trust Research Centre’s Veterans and Families Research Hub. A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

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Who we have helped:

Twitter: @FiMTrust

About the Mental Health Research Programme:

About the Officers’ Association (the OA):

  • As the only Tri-Service charity working with the officer corps, we support former officer and their families, their widows/widowers and dependants by providing advice and financial help, where needed, to enable them to live independently and overcome financial challenges. Last year we supported 1,107 cases in Benevolence.
  • In 2017 a total of £1,369K was awarded by the OA in grants to people in need.
  • We work with serving, reservist and former officers to help them achieve a sustainable and fulfilling career in civilian employment. Last year we supported 4,782 Service personnel with OA Employment Services.
  • The OA delivers tailored workshops, webinars and symposia, all supported by our online content: blogs, career tips and case studies. Last year we delivered over 20,600 webinar views to Service leavers, 780 career consultations and 600 plus officer job seekers attended our networking events.
  • The OA provides insight and research that helps the military charity sector to understand the changing needs of the officer community. Our research also helps us to offer a wider range of services and to collaborate with other military charities to provide the most needed services within the sector.
  • To download our reports: visit:
  • We have a dedicated team of 130 volunteers, the OA’s Honorary Representatives. They visit those who need support, often in their own homes, and work alongside our permanent staff to seek the best possible outcomes. Where possible, the same staff will continue to support people through their journey with us.
  • The OA was founded in 1920 as a charity in recognition of the desperate circumstances many officers found themselves in following demobilisation after the First World War.

Visit for further information on the OA.

For more information please contact:

Francesca Dobson Suarez on the behalf of the Officers’ Association

Tel: 0207 622 9529