Transitioning from the military into a career in health and safety – you have more transferrable skills than you think!

Monday, 24 June 2024

Transitioning from the Forces to civilian life can be daunting, especially if you have worked in the military since leaving school! Being expected to choose a career with little to no experience in that field can also be nerve-wracking.

What if we told you that you have plenty of transferrable skills that make you well suited to a career in health and safety? Working within the Forces, you are expected to prevent harmful and life-threatening situations. The same goes for health and safety.

The role of a health and safety professional is to prevent accidents, injuries and work-related illnesses in the workplace. This also requires creating health and safety polices as well as ensuring these are adhered to. Depending on what industry you choose to work in you may also be expected to monitor the safe use of machinery, be in charge of fire safety and control hazardous substances. Some of which you may have already been involved with in the forces.

Other transferrable skills you will have are:

• Communication and leadership
• Being able to remain calm under pressure
• Adhering to strict protocols
• Interpersonal skills
• Risk assessment skills

Ellie’s story

Veteran Ellie Francis served in the Army for seven years before leaving the Forces and embarking on a civilian job in dentistry. However, she had always harboured a career in health and safety. While off on maternity leave, Ellie decided she wanted to make that career change. Having undertaken the NEBOSH National General Certificate in Occupational Health and Safety during her transition period when leaving the Army, she contacted NEBOSH again. She found she was still eligible to use her Enhanced Learning Credits (ELC) to take further qualifications to aid her move into health and safety. At the same time, she also contacted the Forces Employment Charity for employment support.

Once registered with the Forces Employment Charity, Ellie was provided with a dedicated employment advisor from the charity’s Military Women programme. With the help of her advisor, Ellie was able to improve and tailor her CV and identify the transferable skills she possessed to make the move into health and safety. Upon finding a potential role, Ellie’s advisor helped her to prepare for the interview, which led to her successfully securing the job of Health and Safety Officer. She says, “If it weren’t for my advisor, I never would have pursued the opportunity, but she was so reassuring!”

Commenting on her move into health and safety, Ellie adds, “There are so many transferable skills that can be applied from your military career to one in health and safety, such as timekeeping and discipline. My employers recognised this, too. After I got the job, they told me that my experience in the military was one of the reasons they gave me the job, as they knew I would be loyal and hardworking.”

The Forces Employment Charity exists to provide life-long, life-changing support, job opportunities, and training to Service leavers, veterans, reservists and their families, irrespective of circumstances, rank, length of service, or reason for leaving. The charity also delivers Op NOVA on behalf of the NHS, supporting veterans in contact with the justice system. For information about how you can access free employment support, visit

If a career in health and safety sounds appealing to you, ELCAS funding can be used for NEBOSH qualifications (certificate level and above). You can find information on all NEBOSH qualifications here: