ALMOST nine out of 10 soldiers, sailors and airmen are back in work within six months of leaving the military, figures have revealed.
Out of the 12,010 people to leave the services, 10,220 were employed (85 per cent) in half a year, compared to 640 (5.3 per cent) being unemployed.
The rest were classed as ‘economically inactive’ – either in training or education, looking after a family, or suffering from illness.
A total of 89 per cent of those leaving the Royal Navy clinch jobs in the civilian world soon after exiting the service, with just three per cent remaining unemployed.
The figure is slightly lower from those leaving the British Army and Royal Air Force, with 84 per cent and 83 per cent respectively back in work within half a year.
Retired navy Commander Graham Edmunds is the vice-chairman of the Portsmouth-based UK National Defence Association and welcomed the news, saying: ‘I am pleasantly surprised (the figures) are so high.’
Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, said the news was good but that more still needed to be done to help the minority of service-leavers struggling with mental health and finding work.
As part of this, she has tabled a new bill in the Commons which she hopes will improve the situation for those out of work, including ex-service personnel.
‘Even though these figures are great we can’t take our eye off the fact there are some people from our armed forces who struggle to find work,’ said the former armed forces minister. ‘There is understandably a huge amount of focus to ensure our armed forces personnel who have been made fragile through their service are supported.
‘But this is very much the minority. Our armed forces are the biggest education supplier in the country and provide world-class training.
‘So rather than the perception of a career in the armed forces breaking people it actually builds them up and helps open new doors for them.
‘The skills people have from their training in the services make them incredibly desirable.’
Defence minister Mark Lancaster added the Ministry of Defence aimed to support all service-leavers.