Forces in Mind Trust awards commission to QinetiQ to examine how life skills can be improved in the Armed Forces Community

Forces in Mind Trust has awarded £175,000 to QinetiQ in partnership with Cranfield University to conduct a study which will examine how life skills can be improved in the Armed Forces Community.

The project team, led by Natalie Fisher at QinetiQ, will examine the current deficit of life skills within the Armed Forces Community, critically review and assess the existing evidence on life skills, and present options for what a successful life skills programme could look like for Service personnel and their families in the UK Armed Forces. It is intended that this research will run alongside and inform the life skills package currently being developed by the Ministry of Defence.

This 12-month project started in June 2022.

Tom McBarnet, Chief Executive (Acting) at Forces in Mind Trust, says:

“Most ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful transition from the Armed Forces into civilian life, leaving with valuable skills and experience. However, previous research has shown that some struggle and may lack the ‘life’ skills or resilience needed to cope with the normal bureaucracy and personal administration of civilian life. Over the course of this project, we hope to be able to better understand the types of skills individuals are struggling with when they leave the military and, by looking at what is working well in other sectors, improve those deficits to equip Service leavers and their families with the tools they need to thrive both in the Armed Forces and in civilian life.”

Natalie Fisher, project lead at QinetiQ, says:

“I am excited to be leading this piece of research, working alongside colleagues at Cranfield University.

“For those transitioning out of the Armed Forces, having a strong set of Life Skills is crucial. Whilst the majority of ex-Service personnel transition successfully, some struggle. A lack of ‘life’ or ‘civilian’ skills are phrases used to describe a lack of awareness of the norms and practices understood by civilian society. To better understand the context of this, and to support FiMT’s mission to improve Life Skills in the UK Armed Forces, we are conducting a targeted study into the current Life Skills deficit in the Armed Forces Community.

“The proposed study will aim to address a number of questions, including: which Life Skills are most important for Service personnel and their spouses/partners in ensuring they make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life; what is the current Life Skills deficit in the Armed Forces Community, and what accounts for this deficit; and what support is currently available already to develop or improve Life Skills for adults generally?”

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