Dave Hill: A former Rifleman in the British Army to successful Project Manager.

What is your background, where are you now? 

I severed for 17 years as an Army Officer: initially for two years in the Royal Signals and the rest of my time in the Royal Green Jackets and Rifles leaving in 2013, having commanded a company.  On leaving the Army I was initially employed by Amazon working as a manager in their Fulfilment Centre in Dunfermline, but after a year I decided it wasn't for me and moved to a Project Management role in Standard Life Investments (now Standard Life Aberdeen), which is where I still am 4 days a week, volunteering the other day to support veterans with mental wellbeing issues, including PTSD.

You created a video back in 2013 after you service, 'Set an Example' what made you create this video? 

When I left in 2013, I was very aware that the Army had just completed two of four tranches of redundancy and that I was likely to be competing for roles with a lot of other service leavers with similar CVs.  I also realised that a CV from someone leaving the forces is potentially not going to read easily for the civilian hiring manager.  As a result, I wanted to create a fun way to explain how I tick, what I stand for, a little about what I had done during my military career.  I hoped that it would make me a little more memorable than the others in the pile of CVs they were looking at. [The email address used in the video no longer exists it's now [email protected]]
 
How did you find your transition after leaving the military? 

I quite enjoyed it, I saw it as a bit of an adventure most of the time, but there were some nerves, especially as I got close to my leaving date and I hadn't secured a role.  Thankfully that all fell in to place and I signed my contract with Amazon the day after I left the Army.  However, I am very aware that a lot of people struggle with the thought of what comes after service: will they fit in to society or that they are being forced out (time served, medical discharge or redundancy).  I noticed that some of the people I was attending resettlement courses were fighting the system and looking back on that I can see that was probably a result of fear of the unknown.  This is something I see regularly when I meet with service leavers about transition.
 
What advice would you give yourself (if you could) in your last 12 months of service?  

That's a great question, probably have more faith in my ability to hit the ground running and aim higher for my initial job.  It's that period of transition when the wider world starts to pigeon hole you and that can be a little tricky to shake off.  I would also lean in to the informal support from other service leavers.  While you are unlikely to be able to pay that person back for their advice (other than by buying them a coffee or a beer when you meet).  However, you can always look back to those that leave after you and help build their network as they start the move in to the civilian world.
 
What advice would you give yourself (if you could) in your first year after leaving the military? 

Keep your eyes open and be bolder.  In the forces we have a career progression that we have a part in but is mainly driven by the system to constantly refresh and spread knowledge.  That isn't true in the vast majority of organisations, they place the onus on the individual to drive their career path and will be more than happy to leave you marking time in a role that suits their purposes.
 
You now have a Coaching Business 'Simplicity in Mind' what made you want to support Service Leavers and Veterans after their service?

I established Simplicity in Mind to provide some formal structure to the support I had been giving to veterans on an ad hoc basis from the time I left.  I was becoming increasingly frustrated and saddened by the relentless headlines of veteran suicides and I wanted to try and do something to help change that.  Simplicity in Mind provides 1-1 and small virtual group sessions for veterans for free (on Mondays and some evenings).  It also delivers training to corporations and private individuals for a fee which pays for the website, insurance and in time, will help fund the delivery of the work with veterans; a sort of pay it forward "corporate social responsibility".