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Summer 2013 Update


HR Director of bank note printer De La Rue talks exclusively to LifeWorks about life in civvy street

Also inside: • See a LifeWorks course on film • Find out the next course dates • Nelson - Not P7R but all at sea!

LifeWorks Update - Summer 2013 The second anniversary of LifeWorks has been and gone during a year of the service spreading geographically wider and to more people than ever before. Not content with the training centre at Aylesford, the LifeWorks has been running courses as far afield as Preston and Edinburgh, and are travelling to Catterick later in the year. On a local note, The LifeWorks Team were the recipients of prestigious High Sherriff of Kent awards, presented at Chilham Castle, in recognition of making huge differences in the lives of people living in Kent. LifeWorks is seeing a growing number of success stories both from early and more recent delegates including a new record of a delegate getting a job whilst still on the course! We have also run two LifeWorks Families courses, for wives and dependents of serving military personnel, at Brompton Barracks in Chatham and for Gurkha wives in Shornecliffe Garrison.

Shaun Maloney, Sharon Patmore, Leanne Pardoe & Stephanie Cogdell

The excellent reputation of LifeWorks is continuing to spread and this could not be achieved without the continuing support of a number of organisations including ABF The Soldiers Charity and Walking with the Wounded. Thanks to everyone for another great year! Stephanie Cogdell BSc (Hons) MCSP Vocational Assessor Training and Assessment Team

LifeWorks Dates 2013

• • • • • • • •

September 09 - 13 September 23 - 27 September 30 - 4 October (Catterick) October 07 - 11 October 21 - 25 November 04 - 08 November 18 - 22 December 09 - 13



0800 319 6844

“I’ve found what my particular strong points are and what I’ve got over and above my competition”.

Andy Kemp He made the transition to civvy street himself and now likes to hire ex-military staff. De La Rue plc are keen on employing ex-Armed Forces personnel which is not surprising, given their role as the printer of the UK’s bank notes. Security, reliability and diligence are key skills they need! Having left school in 1968 to join a Marks & Spencer management trainee programme, Andy was sent into the Army on a three year Short Service Industrial Commission. Rather than re-joining Marks & Spencer when the Commission ended, Andy chose to stay on in the Army, eventually moving into the field that really interested him - Personnel. By the time Andy had risen to the rank of Major and achieved his goal of MOD Staff Officer Personnel in the Royal Army Ordinance Corps, it was time to move on. After 19 years, the Army launched Andy into an impressive career that has spanned multi-national companies like Fidelity, News International, the Aegis Group and Rentokil. Each role has taken Andy higher up the corporate ladder and in 2009 Andy joined the world’s largest integrated commercial banknote printer, De La Rue as Group Human Resources Director. Success in any career calls for discipline, focus and above all, determination, traits that Andy believes the Armed Forces gives you in abundance: “Ex-Services personnel have unique skills that are incredibly useful in the majority of civilian roles. They aren’t easily intimidated, they’re respectful, confident, alert and well-presented. They can talk to people at all levels, especially when they’ve come up through the ranks, and they know how to handle difficult situations and difficult people.”

And it’s not just personal skills that are transferable: “There are roles within the Armed Forces that really lend themselves to civilian occupations like manufacturing, engineering, security, procurement, sales and logistics. Build your skills and your career choices around your strengths and take advantage of everything the Armed Forces has to offer like training and out placements.” Andy has some clear advice for anyone planning to leave the Forces: “Do your research, target the companies you want to join and be creative - one applicant sent me a lunchbox with a chocolate bar, a drink, her CV and a note asking if we could talk over lunch. It worked. When there are 47 graduates out there going for every graduate position you have to do everything you can to stand out.” Networking is another vital weapon in your arsenal and Andy’s advice to anyone looking for a job – Ex-Services or otherwise – is to exploit every contact you have. “Network relentlessly, talk to your neighbours, your dentist, your doctor, anyone who might have contacts that could be useful to you. Get in touch with everyone you know who has left the services already as they’ll have built up their own contacts and networks on the outside. “Finally and most importantly, never give up. When I left the Army I knew exactly what role I wanted but it took me 87 interviews before I found it - and even then I had to compromise. But while you’ll always find organisations that don’t fully appreciate the skills and experiences of Ex-Services personnel, there are plenty out there that do.” To find out how you can prepare for employment call us on 0800 319 6844 or email


Graham Mullen

Graham completed the LifeWorks course in August 2012 and found one of the most valuable elements of the vocational assessment was the understanding of how to craft a great CV. Small adjustments were found to be disproportionately effective and beneficial. Like many people, distilling where his true ambitions lay was a challenge. Since childhood he has been drawn to offshore work but discovering how to find the opportunities and present himself in the best way for them, emerged during his week with RBLI. LifeWorks job profiling advised Graham on the qualifications needed and a wide variety of web sites which would be useful. Graham is one of our many success stories. He left us to secure funding for offshore courses such as offshore survival and MIST, as well as passing his medicals. In the short term he has secured onshore work but still aims to become a Banksman Slinger.

LifeWorks on film Scan to discover more

“It’s 100% changed the way I think”.

LifeWorks Families Testimonial

- Fiona Hilton

I’ve been married to a soldier for the last six years. We’ve got two little girls - one who’s four and the other who’s just about to have her second birthday. We’ve moved all over the place. When we first got married we lived in Germany, we had two postings there and then we moved back to the UK. My career path when I left school started in retail management where I worked for a number of years. I chopped and changed jobs, I did a little telesales but decided that I didn’t like being the one that everyone slams the phone down on. Then my mum and dad asked me to come and work for their family run cleaning business, where I started representing them in the business market. Obviously then I met my husband, got married and moved to Germany. I became a Civilian Clark for his squadron. Then along came Amelia. Since then I’ve been a stay at home mum and a housewife

and also had Annabelle. I haven’t worked for the last five years. What challenges do military wives face from employers? When you’re a military wife looking for a job, it can be difficult because employers will look at your CV or application form and see that you’ve had various different jobs or had massive gaps where you haven’t been at work. A lot of employers will see that you’re a military wife just from that and they think “why should I employ her when she’s going to move and we don’t know how long she’s going to be here for?” They don’t want to waste their time and money employing military wives when they know that we’re not going to stay around. The hardest thing about being a military wife is saying to people, “well no actually I do have these qualities” but I

can understand what it is for an employer to say “well if you’re going to move again in a year or two years time why waste my time and money, when I can get someone who lives here permanently who can be here for the next five or ten years?” So yes, it is a big challenge to overcome. Until employers’ perceptions of military wives change and they realise the assets they can add to their company it’s always going to be a big challenge for us. What is a military wife’s biggest asset to an employer? I feel that potential employers can benefit from hiring military wives because we’re versatile and have to adapt to our surroundings. Sometimes we have a moment’s notice where everything has to be packed up and moved. There are also negotiation skills that go into that, the dealing with removals, sorting out your home at the other end and handing over the house at this end. You’ve got to be organised to do that. You’ve also got to be a calm person, you can’t suddenly go ‘Ahh! I can’t do it’ you’ve just got to get on with it. You’re not going to get an employee with those skills from somebody who’s just walked in off the street. They won’t be used to that, we do it on a yearly basis, sometimes less, it does become normal for us and I think for an employer, you just couldn’t buy it. What have been your ambitions from the LifeWorks Families course? My ambitions from the course are to gain confidence to go back into employment. Being out of the employment market for the last five years, so much has changed. It has been ideal for me to come here and see what I need to do, for example I’ve not done a CV since I left school. Also the job market is not just hard for a military wife it’s hard for everybody at the moment, so to know my advantages on others, know what employers are looking for and gain the confidence to go back into that market and fight for a job. That’s what I wanted to get from the course. What have you gained from the course? The LifeWorks Families course has made me realise that the skills that I have to do my day to day life are priceless to employers. Also my confidence has increased to the point where I can go back out into the job market again. I’ve become myself again, not just the wife of or the mother of somebody. I can actually be myself again, which is something I haven’t been since I got married six years ago.

I’m finding who I am from the course, but with that is the confidence to go back out into the employment market. The hardest thing, not just being a mum but when being a military wife as well, is that I’m never known as or introduced as Fiona, I’m always introduced as Amelia’s or Annabelle’s mum or Sgt Hilton’s wife. So you lose your identity. Before this course I was actually questioning who I am. Coming on this course has helped me realise that I’m this confident person who has got a great set of skills, that I can up and move my family at a moment’s notice, that I can organise a house at the other end, who I’m going to have my gas and electric with and who’s going to pay the bills etc. It’s made me realise that’s the person that I am. What additional support has been provided via Sure Start? The benefit of having Sure Start’s support during the LifeWorks Families course is that they’ve provided the child care so that I haven’t had to worry about finding people to look after my children. This meant that I could turn up on the day of the course and not have to plan for my children. What’s it been like doing the course with other military wives? Doing the course with other military wives has been good because I’ve met other people that I’ve seen walking around the barracks before but not necessarily met. It also helps because we’re all going through the same things. We’ve all helped each other on the course to identify each others strengths and skills and helped identify the skills that being a military wife brings.

BOOKING For more information on LifeWorks Families, please email RBLI’s LifeWorks team at or call 0800 319 6844.

SHARE YOUR LIFEWORKS STORIES At RBLI we are always keen to hear about the successes of LifeWorks delegates, in particular those who have found employment or who have secured the support required to reach the next stage of their chosen career. If you would like to share your ongoing experiences to those considering the LifeWorks programme and former delegates, then please feel free to get in touch with us either by emailing or by calling 0800 319 6844.

Poppy Scotland supports LifeWorks In February 2013 LifeWorks ventured north of the border to deliver a course supported by Poppy Scotland. The trip to Edinburgh was met with nervousness as it had already been a cold snowy winter in the south and to venture northwards at this time of year was not likely to bear hot sunny weather. But we were wrong as on each of the 5 days we spent in the capital the sun rose and not a rain drop nor snow flake were anywhere to be seen.

Gary Gray (Poppy Scotland) and Mary-Clare MacFarlane (Officer Association) provided valuable support by interviewing all the delegates using their cv’s against jobs in which they wanted to be employed. Each of the delegates found this stage extremely helpful in building their confidence, in being able to communicate and sell themselves for the jobs they want using their new cv’s.

The course was run in a purpose built conference facility with ample coffee, cakes and biscuits throughout the day. There was also the option of fruit for those that declined cakes!

Since the course each of the delegates has gone from strength to strength improving their employability and life opportunities.

There were five 5 delegates on the course all who worked incredibly hard throughout the week. The structure of the week ran the same as the courses delivered in the south which included: • • •

Vocational assessment Coaching 4 Change Employability skills, including cv development, interview techniques, and finding the ‘hidden’ jobs market.

Meet the trainer Question 1) What is your role at RBLI and what does it consist of? I am an Employability Trainer and my role is to support and offer advice to groups of individuals that need to enhance career prospects. Helping delegates with their interview technique, writing letters to employers and offering guidance on CV writing is a big part of what I do on a Lifeworks course. It is important that I cater for different learning styles and encourage group activities, discussions and problem solving tasks. Question 2) What is the most satisfying part of working with LifeWorks delegates? I find it satisfying when delegates are surprised at how much they have learnt and how much more confident they are at the end of a course. Especially when they can arrive at the start of the course very sceptical and unsure of the type of training we offer. Question 3) What has been your best experience working with a LifeWorks delegate and why? I have had many rewarding experiences since delivering Lifeworks and I haven’t been doing it for very long. However, the first group that I delivered to were extremely keen and motivated after the second day of the course. It was a large group and everyone’s experiences, abilities and future expectations were different but regardless of these differences they all worked as a team. If one delegate was having trouble on the

- Rachel Deadman

computer, another delegate with computer experience would instantly help. They all made sure that no one fell behind with the work and they became a little community as they kept in touch after the course. The Lifeworks Staff even received a very complimentary letter and email from a delegate on that course highlighting the good work that we had done. Question 4) What problems do you find need the most addressing when they come on a LifeWorks course? We spend a big part of the course ensuring that the delegate has all of the right tools and knowledge to complete an effective CV and then understand what to do with it once it is complete. We also do some work around “Change” and how change in our circumstances affect individuals. This is a really positive session to help delegates understand their situation better and to identify how ready they are to make positive changes in their lives. Question 5) What advice would you give to anyone considering coming on a LifeWorks course? If you are ex-Armed Forces and want help to get the job you need, then there is help out there for you right now through LifeWorks, so grab it. I have had nothing other than good feedback from delegates, so just start by enquiring, as we have a fantastic team at the end of the phone.


by Lieutenant-Commander Lester May RN (retired) When I was a serving naval officer, during the last two decades of the Cold War, ‘P7R’ was a well-known medical code that had become common naval parlance. It meant hors de combat – unfit for operational duties at sea, a guarantee of ‘light duties’ ashore. It’s perhaps a good thing that such categorisation was not used during the Age of Sail for there might be no column in Trafalgar Square, perhaps no square, no Battle of Trafalgar – perhaps a Place de Napoléon instead! Born in 1758, Nelson was one of eleven children, known for his spirit and pluck. The widowed rector of Burnham Thorpe found it hard bringing up a large family on a small income and arranged with Nelson’s uncle, Captain Maurice Suckling, for the twelve-year-old boy to be taken on board HMS Raisonnable. Suckling good-humouredly accepted responsibility for the unlikely nephew: ‘What has poor Horace done, [he wrote] who is so weak that he, above all the rest, should be sent to rough it at sea? But let him come and the first time we go into action a cannon-ball may knock off his head and provide for him at once.’ Nelson kept his head, as is well known. As Captain of HMS Agamemnon, while besieging Calvi, Corsica, in July 1794, he was wounded in the face by stones thrown up by an enemy shot, and never recovered the sight of his right eye.

A drawing of a ship’s cook in the 18th century shows a man with one wooden leg and, presumably, he had served as an ‘able-bodied’ seaman – an AB, today’s able seaman – before losing a leg. Sailors with a missing limb would have counted themselves lucky to be admitted as a resident in the naval hospital at Greenwich (now the Old Royal Naval College). In Nelson’s time, perhaps fame and ability allowed a senior officer to continue to serve at sea, though I do not know of others with comparable disabilities. Nelson was the first modern celebrity and he and Emma Hamilton were perhaps the world’s first non-royal celebrity couple. In an age when most people had no idea what famous people looked like, unless their image was much copied, Nelson’s missing arm made him easily recognised and that certainly suited his vanity. He famously used disability to advantage, too. At the Battle of Copenhagen, in 1801, agitated at what he considered his superior’s folly, Nelson turned to his flag captain and said ‘You know, Foley, I have only one eye – and I have a right to be blind sometimes’ and, putting the telescope to his blind eye, ‘I really do not see the signal’.

As a rear-admiral he was wounded in the right arm as he stepped ashore in a raid on Santa Cruz, Tenerife, in July 1797 and he was taken back on board HMS Theseus where the arm was amputated. He returned to England – ‘P7R’ perhaps – but returned to sea the following April.

Losing a limb was common for officers and men at war during the Age of Sail but life at sea was dangerous enough in peacetime. Nelson was lucky that seniority and celebrity meant his disability was no bar to high command. The Royal Navy and Britain, perhaps the wider world, is lucky that Nelson was not ‘P7R’ ashore but went back to sea and on to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21 October 1805. When I next toast “the Immortal Memory” at a Trafalgar Night Dinner, I shall remember not just my naval hero, a national hero, but a disabled hero too.

Digital & Litho Print / Direct Mail / Finishing, Assembly, Fulfilment

On-going support through Linked-In Lifeworks has its own Linked-In group that provides a professional community network for all those that have progressed through the course. Having access to this facility allows all delegates to have access from a wide range of others who have similar experience and understanding who are able to offer real advice and information.

MAIL / PRINT / FULFILMENT We’re proud to provide the Armed Forces Community, and those with a disability or health condition, employment opportunities, skills development and independence within a commercial environment. Operating as a Social Enterprise, the commercial work undertaken by RBLI includes:

• • • • • • • •

Full Colour & Mono Printing (Digital & Litho) Graphic Design Envelope Printing & Supply Booklet Making Banners & Posters Mailing & Fulfilment Envelope/ Polywrap Mailing & Fulfilment Light Assembly & Finishing

Call Mike Tuohy on 01372 389940 or email

Bradmere House, Brook Way Kingston Road, Leatherhead KT22 7NA

With thanks to our sponsors:

Regular update on vacancies, training information and funding is made available for all those who are in the group as soon as we receive it. Examples of this are tips on interview techniques, tips on finding the job vacancies etc. This means that even when the course has been and gone – all those that have attended still get to connect and receive support from the very widest range of others for as long as they want it.


0800 319 6844

Lifeworks leaflet summer 2013  
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