How to run ex-military work placement programmes

Creating work placement opportunities for Service Leavers is a win win situation for both your company and for the person undertaking your programme. They are a great way for transitioning military personnel and Service Leavers to gain vital first-hand experience of the civilian workplace and employers can find out about the benefits of employing ex-military personnel. Here’s some top tips about designing your own programme.

Tip 1 - Define a clear outcome

It’s important to define the outcome of the programme right from the start. That way the participant understands what they will gain from the experience.

Tip 2 - Think about what level of role you are offering

Be clear on what type of experience you want to offer to ensure you are pitching at the right rank level – you may want to group people by rank.  The type of role experience which would suit a Colonel will be different to that for a Private soldier. The ranks of candidates may also determine which areas/roles in your organisation you profile during the placement.

Tip 3 - Think about the length of your placements

Keep placements short. Barclays’ AFTER programme runs a series of one to two week work ‘taster’ placements which gives Service leavers exposure to a wide range of functions across the business. They also run a longer 12-week internship programme giving service leavers a more in depth experience of what it’s like to work in the financial services sector.

Tip 4 - Tailor the placement to individuals skills and ambitions

To make sure that both parties get the most out of the experience, ensure that the work placement is tailored to the Service leavers skills and careers ambitions. You also need to ensure that they are given a variety of work to do, rather than simply shadowing.

Tip 5 - Leave enough time to advertise your placements

Advertise well in advance with CTP, the Officers Association and any other military unit contacts you may have.

Tip 6 - Decide how many ex-military candidates you are willing to take

Work out how many candidates you take on each placement as it will depend on how many staff you have available to support.   

Tip 7 - Don’t forget about the social side of things

Arrange a social evening as part of the placement to allow candidates to meet people on a more informal basis.

Tip 8 - Include some practice sessions on your HR processes

Include sessions on the application and interview process for your organisation to allow candidates to see how their skills match and potentially to do some practice interviews.

Tip 9 - Give candidates access to your hiring managers

If possible, give candidates access to the jobs board in your organisation and put them in touch with the hiring managers for any roles that are of particular interest.

Tip 10 - Support veterans post placement

De-brief the participant once the placement has ended and offer ongoing mentoring support to develop an employment action plan.

Running a work placement programme from a company perspective

Barclays have been running their Armed Forces Transition, Employment & Resettlement Programme (AFTER) for several years. Find out more about how they manage their work placements in our blog. 

A free toolkit to help develop your Armed Forces recruitment strategy

So if you’re willing to look at hiring ex-military personnel then our free toolkit, Capitalising on military talent: How to develop an Armed Forces friendly recruitment practice, offers a range of practical suggestions to help you attract, recruit and retain ex-military talent.