Open and close mobile menu


Insights Smoothing the transition from military to civilian life

Meet Suzanne W. Cyber Security Consultant and Veteran Suzanne served as a Military Intelligence Operator in the British Army for more than 12 years before joining AtkinsRéalis. Her role involved analysing politics, military, economic, social, and security events and their impact on ongoing or potential military activity. Here she shares her experiences of transitioning out of the Army and the support she has received from Partnering with Armed Forces (PwAF), our programme supporting and engaging with the Armed Forces community:

Photo of Rebecca smiling towards the camera

Moving to civvy street

My decision to leave the military hadn't been one I spent a considerable length of time planning before I gave my notice. I knew I needed and wanted a change, but I wasn't sure what that consisted of or where my skills would fit. I spent a lot of time soul-searching to discover what I wanted out of life. What I did and didn't enjoy doing, where I wanted to be, and what was holding me to certain locations.

Once I knew the area I wanted to enter, I signed up for several forums, online learning courses, and careers fairs to understand the available opportunities. Unfortunately, my resettlement time was cut short because of COVID lockdowns; however, thankfully, many organizations were still participating in online virtual career fairs. It was at one of these that I first encountered AtkinsRéalis.

AtkinsRéalis' open-minded interview approach

From the first call with them through to today, I have found AtkinsRéalis nothing but supportive. My first interview, which along with many at the time was a virtual one, consisted of people that understood my background, how to interpret my skills, understanding, and experiences (even when I wasn't using the right wording), and understood the restrictions I had placed on my location. From day one, the culture and environment has been focused on allowing me to progress and increase my knowledge and understanding while also allowing me to use the skills I built up during my military career to excel with clients.

PWaF: support where it counts

AtkinsRéalis has supported me by providing me with a platform that has allowed me to progress and excel, despite not necessarily having the appropriate educational certifications to demonstrate knowledge.

The PwAF programme has provided an additional support network, should it be required. It has allowed me to share my experiences on transition out of the military, with other serving personnel considering leaving the forces, and with other veteran personnel.

Nurturing my transferable skills

Having the ability to listen to and understand the client's requirements. Understanding the wider environment, where the ask came from, its intended purpose (to pre-empt any likely additional asks) and where there is cross-over with other work streams underway with other Team members to ensure effective delivery.

Negotiating workstream requirements; appropriately managing and prioritizing time and tasks; evaluating data; researching, compiling, and interpreting information; applying logic; and determining patterns; then clearly, effectively, and persuasively articulating and disseminating any findings.

What advice would you give anyone transitioning from the military?

Breathe… Take a moment, step back and spend quality time looking at what you want (personally and professionally), what you like to do, and what you need. There are many opportunities outside of the military, and you will be in a better position if you understand these things when you go into resettlement.

Since 2015 AtkinsRéalis has been the proud holder of the Military of Defence Gold Employer Recognition Award, reflecting our support and advocacy for our Armed Forces. Read more and browse live roles.