REME soldier and single dad of six John Lewis will soon be leaving the Army after 23 years’ service. We caught up with him to find out how his resettlement plans are going…
What information have you been able to access?
There’s a lot available to the Service leaver but I find there’s not so much which focuses on the family. One of my children has additional help in school and I’m concerned that the process will have to start again when we move.
What are your biggest priorities?
Stability for my children is my number one concern. I’m mindful that the pay cheque helps towards this but it’s also things like settling them into a new school, making new friends and staying in touch with their old ones.
Have you been able to make the most of resettlement opportunities?
I engaged early with the resettlement centre, which allowed me plenty of time to consider my options. I’m going to approach resettlement in a slightly different way by doing some work placements and finding out if there are any courses that potential employers would like me to do. At least that way I don’t feel I’m doing courses which won’t be of any use.
Is there any part of the process that you’re unsure about?
Despite what anyone says, there is always information out there if you look for it or ask. The Career Transition Partnership is a font of knowledge and gives you some really good tools to use. I would like to see more consideration made for the families of Service leavers – after all, many of them have been with the Army for a great deal of time.
What have you found helpful?
My chain of command have been really good. They know that transition is important and have been fully supportive.
What advice would you give to other Army families?
Start planning early. It’s hard to understand, but that last two years goes by so quickly. Research areas to settle and, most importantly, have a plan. It’s not going to be like any other posting.