Royal Marines from 43 CdoApproximately 79% of working age Military veterans are employed in the UK. Many veterans have high quality transferable skills which they have gained through their Defence training. All of these skills are extremely desirable to civilian employers. We spoke to Barry Lewis a veteran and Director of Commercial Banking for NatWest in the West Midlands to find out more.

“The world of work is changing fast and 2020 has accelerated that. Companies have had to change working practices rapidly, pivot in new directions, make difficult strategic decisions, and learn to trust employees working remotely. Resilience and leadership have become more important than ever, and this is business as usual for veterans and Reservists.

Beret badge of the Royal Marines
The beret badge of the Royal Marines.

“After 14 years as a Royal Marines Officer, I moved to NatWest in 2016 as a Project Manager and have subsequently moved to become a Director of Commercial Banking in the West Midlands, running a team of Relationship Managers. What attributes make this possible?

“Change Ready – Life in the military involves constant change; you change jobs and locations every 2 years, so you quickly become accustomed to feeling uncomfortable, assimilating new information quickly, and building up the networks needed to succeed.

“Critical Thinker – The perception that military personnel are only good at following orders is misleading (although this is a useful attribute in itself). The military develops individuals to use their initiative and operate independently in complex and ambiguous environments.

“Leadership – The military are excellent at leadership development. Every promotion requires attendance on a leadership course, where you are pushed to practice examples of challenges you will face at the next level.

“Mental models – There are countless mental models which are taught across all levels of the military, which help people structure their thought processes and communicate ideas. Models for disseminating information in projects, models for when and how to update line managers, how to think about a problem, how to communicate a solution.

“As an employer of a veteran or Reservist, you benefit from receiving an employee who has proven they can pass a rigorous selection process, who is receptive to training, and has operated in a high-performance culture. With a bit of fine-tuning, you can really leverage this skill set.” 

Find out more about how West Midland RFCA works with, and supports, veterans.


 Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

Published 24/06/2021