Former Warrant Officer to Prison Officer - and Hollywood extra

Carl Salmond is a former Warrant Officer 1st Class with the 1st Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment. He left the Army in 2008 after 22 years of exemplary military service. He has since gained extensive experience as a security consultant, managing and leading close protection and surveillance teams and facilitating and delivering security training courses. Since leaving the Army, Carl has also starred alongside Hollywood stars, taking on extra roles through a military casting agency and is about to begin a new career as a Prison Officer. 

During his military transition Carl struggled for the first 18-months, particularly managing his finances and said a support service like Veterans’ Gateway would have been beneficial to him and his family. 

Carl joined the Army at 16 after first being inspired at 13, seeing the portrayal of the Royal Marines and the Paratroopers through the media during the Falklands War. His final posting, after more than 20 years’ Service, was in Sennybridge Training Camp in Wales, where he was Regimental Sergeant Major and Operations Officer. He oversaw training, welfare and discipline of up to 900 men coordinating pre-deployment training and acted as liaison between senior Special Forces and defence training personnel.

The 49-year-old has a number of key achievements throughout his career. “My operational tours in Northern Ireland and Bosnia were among my key achievements and highlights, as well as gaining the ranks in the time that I did - those were quite proud moments. And also knowing my family were proud of me throughout my career. It was a good experience from start to finish. I joined at 16 knowing full well I wanted to make a career of it and I achieved that,” he said. 

Carl with wife Adel

Carl with wife Adel

Carl was particularly interested in pursuing close protection work once he had transitioned into civvy street and completed relevant courses during his resettlement period. The former Warrant Officer said transitioning into civvy street was difficult - especially the first 18-months.

The father-of-one said: “You are definitely in an institute when you are in the Army. You are shielded from everything. I’d also like to stress to people, leaving after a full career or a partial one, the anguish and the lows of leaving the military whilst trying to support and gain a foothold into what is a very flooded security market, as I did. I found not having paid constant work very depressing, upsetting and unsettling, and I’d never really had to network for work prior to leaving the Army.  I felt alone and lonely initially and what with self-induced pressure of trying to keep the same lifestyle as what I had in the military was certainly an eye opener.” 

Dealing with day-to-day finances was a particular struggle during his military transition, Carl explained: “I was lucky in that I knew I would be getting my pension so the mortgage would be dealt with - but it was dealing with everyday finances that was new to me. So from going from a RSM’s wage, to in theory an £11,00 pension and whatever I earnt being self-employed was a step down - especially when trying to keep the standard of living my family and I were used to.” Carl said that although the military gave a “broad brush” on what to expect when you leave, he would have benefited on having specific information on finances, such workshops on being self-employed. He also believes he would have benefited from a structured package of workshops, available to him before he started his resettlement, which would have included seminars on finances, housing, mortgages, life insurance - basically what to expect when you leave and how best to prepare.

I felt alone and lonely initially and what with self-induced pressure of trying to keep the same lifestyle as what I had in the military was certainly an eye opener.
— Carl
Carl in the jungle

Carl in the jungle

Carl was offered and received the full service programme offered by the Career Transition Partnership during his resettlement. He attended a number of CTP presentations, which included presentations from commercial businesses such as BT Openreach as well as CV workshops.  Apart from the CTP support, he said he was unaware of what support services were available to him as he was not assigned a Resettlement Officer.  “We were told about the British Legion but as a man, I felt I didn't want to ask for help due to pride and not wanting to feel inadequate. And I also never got to the point where I was destitute and needed their help,” he added.

The Veterans’ Gateway would have been a useful support service to Carl and he believes it can help others leaving the military in the future. He added: “To have a support service like this, so soldiers know that if they need any help with accommodation, finances, employment - whatever support they need, is a good idea. Sometimes it’s just knowing the support is there - even if they don’t use it.”

Carl, who is now based in the South East, offered this advice to others going through the transition phase: “Look into every option. Don’t just pick one career and say that is what I am going to be and really research the jobs you are looking to go into. Also look at where you are going to live, commutable distances, how much money you are going to earn. Looking at your finances is important - especially if you have a family. If you are looking to get into the security industry - take every opportunity to get your name known.” 

Since leaving the Army in 2008, Carl has gone on to gain a huge amount of experience as a security consultant, which has included doing surveillance for corporate businesses and armed security on boats in Malta. Carl also used his past skills as an experienced trainer in the military to become a lead trainer, delivering and facilitating security courses on a range of areas including close protection, door supervision and CCTV. Carl said the key transferable skills he gained within the Army has helped him excel in roles outside the military, including his reliability, maturity, confidence and his experience in training. 

I would say I have been one of the lucky security consultants as I’ve been employed constantly with only periods of time off when I’ve wanted too and or needed to rest. 
— Carl

Carl playing an armed response police officer

Carl playing an armed response police officer

Carl recently decided he wanted to embark on a new career and to help him do so, he signed up to SaluteMyJob, a social enterprise that helps former Service men and women into employment. He received CV advice from their expert employment advisors and said he found their job board of great help throughout his job search. Carl’s new career will begin in August as a Prison Officer, after ambitions to go back into a PAYE job that had variety, so he applied for the Fire Service, Police and Prison Service.

Since leaving the Army, as well as excelling his civvy street - Carl has also mixed with Hollywood stars. He explained: “I joined some casting agencies and because of the military skills and background I have, I have played some decent extra roles in some major films. I have been in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and the Netflix series The Crown, playing a Captain for the week.” Carl also has a feature role in a film due out in May next year.

Speaking about his career highlights and achievements in civvy street, Carl added: “I would say I have been one of the lucky security consultants as I've been employed constantly with only periods of time off when I’ve wanted too and or needed to rest.  There is plenty of time in-between tasks and you do need to have some other way of supporting yourself and your family, hence my work within the film industry as a support actor and as a surveillance operative.”

To find out more about Veterans' Gateway click here.