“If you want something, no matter what you do, it’s never going to be handed to you on a plate”.
Luke Hoare is a fellow veteran who once served with the Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and earlier this week, he expressed how important it is to work hard in order to succeed in the transition from soldier to civilian.
“I left the Army in 2009, so my experience of the transition may be different compared to what veterans are going through today. During my transition from soldier to civilian, I worked hard for very little and it took a long time to get here”.
Following Luke’s termination from the Army, he completed two apprenticeships and that left me wondering if Luke did these apprenticeships through the Ministry of Defence’s Resettlement Program.
“No, a lot of it was off my own back. It just goes to show that you don’t gain a lot from joining the Army as a junior entry through the Harrogate Army Foundation College (AFC). The Resettlement Program teaches you how to write a CV and that’s probably about it”.
I too joined the Army as a junior soldier through the Army Foundation College and I was only entitled to two years of Enhanced Learning Credits.
Was that the same for you?
“I think it was but I never used the Enhanced Learning Credits believe it or not”.
Who did you do your apprenticeships with?
“It was with a manufacturing engineering firm which was actually a food processing place. I did Mechanical Electronics and Electronic Engineering with them and I used my qualifications from being a Warrior driver. I didn’t know how to use the tools properly but it sparked some interest with that line of work. An employer said ‘having them qualifications will save you a year of college’“.
“I completed a four-year engineering course where I became an Electronics Engineer but then I decided that I wanted to push on and become an installer rather than just carrying out maintenance. So I went on another five-year course which was hard graft, I spent one day a week at college while learning on the job”.
“I’ve been trusted to work on my own within the firm for a few years now but recently, a colleague and I have started our own business”.
“We started our new business in February 2017 by the name of
LC. Invictus Electrical”.
What does your business specialise in?
“We are predominantly domestic electricians working mainly with other tradesmen and kitchen installers. Everything electrical within a house is second nature to us but we also carry out industrial and commercial work. We are approved contractors operating out of Andover in North Hampshire, although we are keen to cover West Sussex, Surrey, Wiltshire and Hampshire”.
Do you have intentions of employing veterans in the future?
“It appeals to me to employ veterans in the future because veterans have a good work ethic”.
What did you find most difficult about the transition from soldier to civilian?
“In a weird way, I had to completely isolate myself from the mindset and change the way we would usually go about our daily business. Some traits that we have in the Armed Forces don’t work so well in Civvy Street”.
“In the military, you are taught to ask questions but sometimes that doesn’t go down so well with civilians. They sometimes feel that you are asking questions just to be awkward”.
“I’ve actually ended up rejoining the Reserves anyway”.
What was it that swayed you to join the Reserves?
“To be honest, I saw the pay incentive. I realised that for twenty to thirty days a year, there was actually some quite substantial money to be made. I found the more I went back to the Reserves the more I enjoyed it. It’s quite nice because you can go as much or as little as you like, it’s so much more orientated to my lifestyle now”.
“I think the Reserves would appeal to a lot of our guys and girls for a bit of extra cash and a bit of the old. There are so many ex-regulars serving in the Reserves now”.
If you could give one piece of advice to a veteran planning to leave the Armed Forces, what would you say?
“If you want something, no matter what you do, it’s never going to be handed to you on a plate. You have to go and get it, that’s the bottom line. Unfortunately, there are people out there who want to see you fail. If you want something and if you try hard enough, you will get there. Hard work pays”.
“If you continue your values which you are taught in the Armed Forces, it sets you in a good place to excel. Something that is difficult is that we are quite extreme with our banter but there is a point where we need to learn where to cap it. Sometimes it’s just better to be the grey man every now and then because not everyone agrees with your views on life”.
“The key thing is to not always rely on your resettlement because it’s not always going to get you what you need. If you want something, go and get it. No one is going to give it to you on a plate, unfortunately” – Luke Hoare.
The key point that I have taken away from Luke’s experience is that the transition from soldier to civilian requires time and hard work. To get to where you want to be in ‘civvy street’ you need to work hard with consistency because no one will give you the life you want for free.
If it was easy, everyone would do it.
Luke would like to add that if there any veterans or personnel leaving the Armed Forces who are interested in becoming an Electronics Engineer then he is more than happy to talk to them about it.
Thank you for reading this week’s blog.
Jamie and featured veteran, Luke Hoare.
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