Our Employment & Education team has first-hand personal and professional links to the Corps and is especially well-placed in our office ‘behind the wire’ at CTCRM to give immediate help to those facing an uncertain future, especially to those undergoing medical discharge.  

During 2021, they supported 375 serving and 104 veterans, almost double that of the previous year, with many being directly supported into employment.  

The team is particularly successful because of the strong relationships it nurtures with an ever-growing list of potential employers. These in turn are encouraged to join the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme* (ERS), receiving official recognition for their commitment. RMA – Royal Marines Charity itself has Gold Award status. 

Here is a story that demonstrates the importance of such partnerships. 

Dave Hills from Poole is tough, courageous, cheerful and determined – everything a Royal Marine Commando needs to be to survive 20 years at the sharp end of some of the world’s most gruelling recent conflicts. 

As a proud wearer of the much-prized green beret, he was a decorated Colour Sergeant and successfully climbing the ranks, when in August 2021, he was diagnosed with PTSD and had to come to terms with medical discharge.  

Since the age of 17, Dave had only known military life – a profession where career plans are clearly laid out for those with ambition. But all of a sudden, he was about to lose this security. What to do next? 

“It was a very scary feeling not to have any certainty in my life anymore,” Dave recalls. “I’d had no time to plan for this drastic, unexpected and totally unplanned change of life-plan that hit me like a bolt out of the blue. I was totally unprepared to battle the many unknowns I thought I’d have to face on my own – transitioning to a non-military life and working ‘outside the wire’.” 

Dave had no idea what sort of job could ever possibly give him the same sense of challenge and purpose in life as being a Royal Marine Commando. Even if he had known, what then?  

He was unsure how to go about writing a civilian-style CV – at least, one that would make sense to anyone who didn’t understand military jargon.  

What employer could equate his specialised Commando skills to those needed in a ‘normal’ 9-5 civilian job – and how could he possibly ‘sell himself’ at his first very scary and daunting civvy street’ interview, with language and techniques that were so alien?  

What he didn’t fully appreciate at that time was that increasing numbers of employers are realising the value that former Royal Marines can bring to their business – their uncompromising adherence to the spirit and values of the Commando Mindset which has given them the mental strength and resilience needed to train and carry out their duties in one of the toughest professions in the world – a mindset with personal attributes any team needs to succeed. 

The Charity attends the regular Bootnecks in2 Business (Bi2B) sessions where Royal Marines can informally network, share experiences and explore genuine opportunities to further their business aspirations, or directly secure employment. It was here that Dave met our  Employment & Education (E&E) team and a Military Talent Acquisition Manager from a global project management firm. 

His interest was sparked by the opportunities available – and so it was all systems go. The strong relationship that exists between the E&E team and this potential future employer meant he had the expert guidance to support him through the application process and subsequent interview preparation – and before too long, the job was his!  

 “All in all, my transition to civilian employment was eased by the help and support provided by RMA, who were absolutely brilliant. They took the time to help me with everything I needed to make my career transition, and to this day, they still keep in touch.”  

Zoe Darnbrough, RMA’s Employment & Education Manager explains how important it is to keep such relationships going, even when, like Dave, someone has found a new job. 

“The transition from working in the military to one in a civilian role can feel drastic and overwhelming even when things appear to be going well,” she explains. “This is why we like to keep in touch for at least twelve months. Change is difficult for everyone and it’s not unnatural to have a bit of a wobble within a few months of starting a new job. This can be even more stressful if you’re going from a uniformed role to one in a less structured environment so we go to great lengths to monitor how things are going. We keep in regular contact with employers but more importantly, our Veterans, too, so they know we are always there for them.”  

The RMA – The Royal Marines Charity has an ERS’ coveted Gold Award for excellence in aligning its values to the Armed Forces Covenant and inspiring others to do the same. This is the highest ERS accolade granted by the Ministry of Defence, awarded to acknowledge those outstanding employer organisations which pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community.