SAILORS facing redundancy as the Royal Navy moves to save money are being offered help and advice as part of a new campaign.
In anticipation of the 5,000 job losses planned over the next four years the Royal Naval Association (RNA) has launched Shipmates – a project to aid servicemen making the transition to civilian life.
As previously reported in The News, more than 1,000 job losses will be announced tomorrow. It is believed 400 of them will be compulsory layoffs. The RNA has received a £40,000 grant from the Maritime Charities Funding Group to go towards the campaign.
Captain Paul Quinn, CEO of the charity, said that although he saw the job losses as a tragedy for those affected, the RNA would help them in any way possible.
He said: ‘We were looking at what we were about as an organisation and the question of the government’s planned 5,000 redundancies came up.
‘We thought about what we could do to help them out at this hard time, so we said “what is it that we’ve got that could help?”
‘What we realised is we have 20,000 members all over the country who have already been through it.
‘So the shipmates campaign is really a very simple idea.’
Capt Quinn added that while the resettlement package offered to those leaving the navy is helpful, it is mostly aimed at helping sailors retrain and improve their interviewing techniques.
Instead the Shipmates programme will try to bring in ex-servicemen who have been sacked and give them the support they need.
He said: ‘Those early service leavers can be very vulnerable because they don’t have life skills.
‘The service institutionalises people coming into the military – as it has to do so they can cope with all the things that are required of them – but if they leave the navy without much life experience they can find it very difficult.
‘The transition from a world where you don’t have to worry about passports, doctors or even where to go for your job can be very difficult.
‘Having everything provided for you is a vital part of being in the military, but it can leave people adrift if it’s cut short.’
The RNA will provide every person leaving the navy with an induction into the local branch, a year’s free membership, and information about issues such as how to organise things such as child care, an NHS dentist, and places at a local school.
Capt Quinn said: ‘We want to provide service leaders with someone who speaks their language and is on their side.
‘This will stop people becoming very lonely and isolated.’
The Institution of Engineering and Technology is also launching a package of support for service leavers to help them work towards professional qualifications and provide them with access to the latest engineering and technology jobs.
For more information visit theiet.org