The Future Horizons Programme (FHP), a pilot project based at Catterick Garrison supporting Early Service Leavers (ESLs), had an incredible 99% take-up in its first year.

An evaluation report of the programme urges the MoD to consider the viability of adopting the FHP model across all three branches of the Armed Forces; continuation and analysis including research into the needs and vulnerabilities of this cohort and explore ways of the use of different technologies and interfaces to communicate with ESLs should be explored further.

ESLs are servicemen and women who have been discharged from the Armed Forces, either compulsorily or at their own request, before completing an initial four years of service.  They are not currently automatically entitled to resettlement support. During the year-long period of evaluation, FHP has engaged with 777 ESLs from the Infantry Training Centre, Catterick.

After the initial six months over 60% of the ESLs were in employment or training and 90% of ESLs engaged in the programme said they would recommend it to others. This figure compares very favourably to other government funded employment schemes.

“It gave me a push in the right direction; I would have literally nothing if it wasn’t for Future Horizons.” Said Scott Carniegie, an ESL who was medically discharged after two years in the Army. “I have a way to go but I know the support is there and I can ask for help and advice anytime.”

FHP’s primary aim is to help ESLs into sustainable employment and the programme offers a range of training support and opportunities. Much of this support was delivered by Specialist Employment Consultants, with a diverse mixture of partner organisations, both military and civilian, providing bespoke services to ESLs requiring additional input.

James, whose name has been changed, explains: “I wish I could turn back time, it has been a really difficult life change leaving the Army as it was my whole life.  However, I have started to pick myself up with the amazing support of Future Horizons and I couldn’t have got to where I am without them”.

“The programme organised for me to attend a residential course at college, picking me up from home on the Monday and dropping me back every Wednesday.  They then helped me to get an apprenticeship and out into the workforce.  I really believe that every ESL should have access to the Future Horizons Programme.” James now has a full time job in a warehouse and credits Future Horizons for his achievement.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust commented: “The aim of the Forces in Mind Trust is to support successful, sustainable transition into civilian life. We know the ESL cohort is particularly vulnerable to unsuccessful transition, and we now have an excellent piece of evidence that supports the case for ESLs’ transitional support and points the way towards how it can best be delivered”.

Darren Bickerstaffe, the FHP’s Programme Manager, said: “We always knew there was a need, and the Future Horizons pilot at Catterick has enabled data and experiences to be collected to build the case for rolling this method of ESL resettlement help out further”.

To read the Future Horizons Programme report please click this link.



For further information please contact Talia Cohen on 020 7284 6957 or or visit

About FHP
The Future Horizons Programme is backed by the MoD and is run by a consortium of ex-service charities, and welfare, and back to work organisations. The consortium members encompass market leaders from the commercial, public and wider third sector organisations, with a proven ability to deliver for young people who are vulnerable or within the welfare to work sector.

Consortium members
RFEA The Forces Employment Charity, The Royal British Legion,  Royal British Legion Industries, Groundwork, The Prince’s Trust, Poppy Scotland, The Officers’ Association, Officers’ Association Scotland, Right Management, The Poppy Factory, The Shaw Trust, Reed, Tomorrow’s People, AF&V, Manpower, Niace, The Warrior Programme

Remount, Remploy, Skillforce, Skill, Forces in Mind, The Big Lottery Fund, The Foundation for Prince William and Prince Harry

About The Forces in Mind Trust

The concept of the Forces in Mind Trust arose from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (BIG), COBSEO (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.

In addition to COBSEO Members, key supporting charities are: The Mental Health Foundation, Centre for Mental Health and Shaw Trust.

As well as Future Horizons, FiMT is also funding:

SSAFA FH Mentoring
The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA) Forces Help provides practical help and assistance to anyone who is serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force. Their network of volunteers and staff give experienced, non-judgmental advice. They also provide practical services that cover a range of social, family and financial issues.

FiMT’s Research Projects:
In order to help improve the understanding of transition and the welfare support available to members of the Armed forces, veterans and their families, FiMT is currently funding two major research projects:

  • Transition mapping: mapping the whole transition process and identifying any gaps in understanding the mental health of veterans.
  • Mental Health Review: a report to review the research evidence to date surrounding the mental health of serving and ex-Service military personnel in the UK

The findings of these projects will be published in  2013.
The information gathered from the research projects will shape the potential for further study, by building up knowledge, evidence and information. The research will make a direct contribution towards improving support provided to members of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.