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Transition to civilian life

Welcome to the HQ 1 Artillery Bde and HQ South West Transition page. The brigade area covers the counties of Wiltshire Gloucestershire, Bristol, Somerset, Dorset, Devon and Cornwall. We aim to complement the resettlement service already offered to the majority of Service leavers by adding a local focus where appropriate.

Transition to civilian lifeHQ 1 Artillery Brigade and HQ South West offers signposting help in five key areas to Service personnel and their families leaving the Army and wishing to settle in this region:

  • Employment – career selection or job search
  • Education – training options and children’s school selection
  • Health – registration or transfer of existing medical care
  • Housing – help with securing housing, whether social or private
  • Welfare – guidance and help from veterans’ organisations and programmes

Specific information in relation to each of these areas can be accessed via the links in the panels below.

Local authorities in this brigade's region include: Wiltshire, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, North Somerset, Gloucestershire, Bristol City, Bournemouth Borough, Plymouth City, Poole Borough, Swindon Borough, Torbay, and Cornwall.

For specific local authority information on housing, schools, Armed Forces Covenant and other matters, you are recommended to contact the appropriate council. Visit their websites using the 'Find your local council' link on the right.

Each region holds Transition Fairs which bring together local employers with a range of experts on the disciplines above. At Transition Fairs, Service leavers can find jobs and access essential information on where they want to live. Download the Transition Fairs flyer from the right-hand panel.

Transition fairs

Wiltshire and Swindon transition fair image

HQ 1 Artillery Brigade & South West, with support from Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council & Career Transition Partnership will be holding the SW Armed Forces Transition Fair in Tidworth Leisure Centre on Wednesday 23 March 2016.

The event will host over 80 stands - a large number of local employers looking specifically to recruit Service Leavers, Veterans or spouses, along with numerous stands providing information and advice on local charities, welfare agencies, health, housing, training and education opportunities. 

Concise one-to-one personal coaching sessions will also be available to help individuals address changes in career, life and/or health & welfare. These sessions will be free of charge and confidential.

The SW Armed Forces Transition Fair is free to attend. All Service Personnel & their families, as well Service Leavers are encouraged to attend. No matter what stage you are in your career, there will be something of interest for you and your family.


Finding the right job is one of the key steps to making a successful transition to civilian life. There are many companies keen to employ Service leavers and you should consider how to present your military skills in civilian terms which a prospective employer will understand.

From your initial contact with your Unit Resettlement Officer (URO), you will be guided through the process of finding suitable employment, as well as how to get the right training to prepare you for life outside of the Army.

Dependent on length of service, the amount of time and the employment support available varies. The CTP provides individual assistance up to two years after discharge, while the Officers Association (OA) and Regular Forces Employment Association (RFEA) offers help finding work throughout life.

If you are an Early Service Leaver (ESL) with less than four years' service, you may still qualify for assistance (speak to your URO/UWO), but your first action after discharge should be to register at your nearest Jobcentre Plus.

The growing employment sectors are logistics, energy, engineering and security. There is a proliferation of technical companies and larger businesses around Swindon, Bristol and the M4 corridor while, further west, the business culture is generally more based on small to medium sized enterprises. In Wiltshire, unemployment rates are low and there is help available from Wiltshire Council for Service leavers and their spouses/partners who wish to start up their own business - details are on their website.