From Leading Hand to Trainee Solicitor, a Journey Through Resettlement
Trainee Solicitor and Royal Navy Veteran, Natasha Mason, talks about her journey from medical discharge to lawyer.
Leaving the Armed Forces can be a daunting prospect. Leaving through medical discharge brings additional worries and questions; am I employable, can I manage in a civilian workplace, can I adjust, how do I retrain. These are only some of the issues that I faced in 2013.
Following 19 years’ service in the Royal Navy, I was medically discharged; I believed I’d be tossed aside and on my own to figure out the many options ahead.
Engaging early with Career Transition Partnership (CTP) helped; attending the career transition workshop, I learned about the importance of tailoring my CV for the job, keywords and phrases for application forms and how to transfer my military skills into a skill civilian employers can recognise. By exploring my options with CTP, I decided to apply for University to study Law. CTP assisted with every step of my application and I qualified for financial assistant through Enhanced Learning Credits and the Higher Education Grant. This meant that once accepted, my three-year Law degree was funded by MOD through ELCAS – something everyone should look into!
Two years into my degree at Plymouth University and I applied for a position at Wolferstans. When offered an interview, I again, engaged with CTP who arranged a mock interview! CTP researched the firm, the job advert and prepared to put me through a gruelling mock interview. This was more helpful than I could ever explain. I was asked questions about myself, my CV, asked to give examples of how I would react in different situations, asked questions on the job role and my military experience – I hadn’t had a job interview since 1994 in the Royal Navy Careers Office! The feedback was brilliant and gave me many positives but also things to work on including what to wear! I got the job.
Four years on, I’m still at Wolferstans. My degree and a Masters in Legal Practice is complete and in January 2020 I will be a qualified solicitor. In April 2019 I also became the Chair of the Forces Law, the first veteran to Chair the Network.
The skills we learn in the military have helped me every step of the way. The Royal Navy instils C2DRIL into all its service men and women from basic training and throughout their careers; this provides an amazingly vast array of social, technical and personal attributes transferable into any civilian employment.
C2DRIL: Commitment, Courage, Discipline, Respect for others, Integrity and Loyalty.
If I were offering advice to employers – speak with the service leavers and veterans applying for your vacancies; they often have so much more to offer than their CV or your application form can give. To those leaving the service or veterans looking for gainful employment – engage with CTP or RFEA and don’t be afraid to show off your skills. You’re highly trained and every skill is transferable in some way; speak to employers and tailor your CV to each application. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and retrain; funding is available, and the careers opportunities are endless!
6 years post discharge, I miss service life, but my future is a bright and exciting adventure thanks to Wolferstans, CTP, ELCAS and Royal Navy.