Resettlement Success: From the RAF to i3Secure

Published on: January 27,2023 Published in: Forces Friendly Insights

i3Secure is proud to be a Forces-friendly employer that believes in supporting and contributing to the welfare of those who serve or have served in the military. With many of our team joining us directly from the military, our very own Consultants have first-hand experience of dealing with the uncertainty and challenge of starting out on a new career path. We asked Consultant Benn Grimshaw to tell us about his experience of leaving the Royal Air Force Police after 14 years and share his advice for servicemen and women who might be considering following in his footsteps.

7 clicks to a new career

The thought of leaving the Forces had been playing on my mind for about five years before I finally made the decision to leave. During that point in time, I was gradually becoming increasingly unhappy with the direction my career was taking; a career I didn’t feel I was entirely in control of. However, as for many others in the same position, the fear of life on the outside and the security blanket that the forces offered, kept me from pressing the button.

The trigger, however, was during the Christmas period of 2021 when my little family went through a difficult period. This period made me realise what was important to me and what I wanted in life. So, when I returned in January 2022 I made those ‘7 clicks’. As soon as I submitted my resignation, I immediately felt the weight lift.

The response to my application to Early Terminate (ET) was as I’d expected. When my line management were made aware, a number of them sat me down to question my decision and some even tried to change my mind. However, upon hearing my reasoning, they could not fault my logic, knew I had made up my mind and there was no changing it.

Briefings, workshops and benefits


The first step in the leaving process was to attend an online briefing, where a Resettlement Officer talked through the various leave entitlements and benefits I was now entitled to. This short briefing is a good start, as it signposts service leavers to various organisations that can help with things such as housing support and learning credits.

I then decided to attend a Career Transition Partnership (CTP) workshop. Despite receiving reports from other service leavers and reading reviews online that the workshop wasn’t worth attending, I made the decision to go along anyway. And I’m glad I did.

The workshops are run regularly at numerous locations around the UK, making attendance easy and accessible wherever you are based. The course was run by a civilian Career Advisor with a wealth of experience and knowledge. The workshop included useful career advice, including how to identify your unique selling points, how to apply for jobs, job-finding tools as well as how to make the best use of LinkedIn and access to the CTP Portal; a particularly useful tool with many uses, such as assisting with CV writing.

Once you have completed the course, your Career Advisor will check in with you periodically, giving assistance where needed and inform you of any job fairs they feel may be of benefit.

When you become a ‘Service Leaver’ a number of learning opportunities become available to you. The Forces will give you money towards courses that will assist you on the outside and the catalogue of courses is impressive, covering pretty much any career you could think of. You also have your Enhanced Learning Credits available to you, where the Forces will pay up to 80% or £2,000 of the cost of the course.

With my background in security and Information Assurance and wanting to pursue this as a career, I decided to attend the ISO 27001 Lead Implementor course. The course was delivered online course across five days.

A new mission

When you leave the Armed Forces, you go through the ‘clearing process’ at your unit. This involves visiting various departments such as the medical centre, cashier and clothing stores to hand in any kit you may have or settle outstanding payments.

Unfortunately, my experience of this process was not ideal, as despite having engaged with the HR department at the very start of my leaving journey, they did not allow me to start clearing until a month before I was due to go on terminal leave. Of course, this left me with a tight deadline to complete certain tasks such as a medical examination, something that should have been done at least six months before leaving.

However, after a chaotic few days of running around, obtaining the required signatures and having the same conversation repeatedly as to why I was leaving, I had completed my clearance chit. On handing in my completed chit to the clerk, he gave it a cursory look over, looked at me, nodded and said ‘yep’. And that was it, I was as good as out the RAF. No fanfare, no handshake or ‘thank you for your service’. I don’t know what I had expected but it was mightily underwhelming.

Opening new doors

As soon as I’d ET’d, I started looking for new employment and with my background in security and Information Security, it made sense to me to pursue this as a career. This is an industry that is booming, and jobs are a plenty with security professionals in high demand, however, this did not make the process any less daunting.

Fortunately for me, I had two good friends that had left the services a few years ago and had the drive and determination to set up their own cyber security consultancy, i3Secure. Having worked with both of these individuals, it helped that they knew my skill set, work ethic and the experience I acquired whilst in the military. As a result, they were good enough to offer me employment.

Having seen how i3Secure had thrived over the last few years, their ethos, and the calibre of individuals they were employing, it was not a tough decision to accept such an offer. The added benefit of working for two ex-servicemen is that they have been through exactly the same process so know the stress and pitfalls that come with leaving the Forces. They have made the transition extremely pleasant, offering guidance and support on how best to utilise service benefits and what courses I should be looking to complete.

The i3 team is an excellent mix of ex-service and non-service backgrounds but all with the same mindset and a wealth of industry knowledge and experience. The one thing I worried about missing most when leaving the Armed Forces was the team spirit, togetherness and the social side. By joining i3Secure I have not missed any of that as this company provides the same environment with regular team days and social events. Within my first couple of weeks of starting I joined them on a Team Day out to Ascot Races.

Words of advice

For anyone currently in the military that is thinking about making a change here is my advice to you:

  • Talk through the decision with trusted friends and family, and speak to others who have left or are in the process of leaving.
  • Weigh up the pros and cons. If the pros outweigh the cons and you are no longer happy, look at leaving. You will know in yourself if it’s time to leave, you just need to trust your abilities.
  • Do not rush the process, make sure you have everything set up i.e., somewhere to live, the right skills/qualifications for your new career.
  • Make use of your learning credits before you leave. Although you can use them afterwards, the more qualifications you have on your CV the more desirable you will be.
  • Use all your leave entitlement. You can start working for your new employer whilst on terminal leave.
  • Look after yourself and put yourself first. You may be asked to alter resettlement plans by your chain of command for service needs, but you need to prioritise your future.
  • Make use of all the resettlement benefits the forces offer you.
  • Do not underestimate yourself. Members of the Armed Forces are highly regarded within the employment market.

In Summary

Do I think everyone should down tools and leave the Armed Forces? No, the UK Armed Forces are an excellent employer and offer opportunities you cannot get anywhere else. Do I regret ever joining the Armed Forces? Absolutely not, the RAF has made me the individual I am today, and I have had some great experiences as a result. But it no longer suits my needs. I was warned by other service leavers that I would wake up in the night, in cold sweats, fretting over the decision I have made. This has not happened, and I credit that to the devotion of all staff at i3Secure to make sure those joining the team, no matter their background, are welcomed and integrated as seamlessly as possible.

Get in touch

If you’re interested in a career with i3Secure, visit our careers page to find out about the roles we have available and the great benefits we have on offer. If you don’t see a role that suits you, send us your CV anyway, as we are always on the lookout for new talent to join our team.

For further help and advice, you can also contact our sister company, i3Works as they provide a network that supports Armed Forces leavers, veterans, and their families in their transition to civilian employment. Learn more about the Mi3 network on the i3Works website here.

Benn Grimshaw

Consultant

Benn is an experienced Protective Security professional with a demonstrated history of working with military, government, and industry partners, across multiple operational environments both in the UK and overseas. He is skilled in security investigations, physical, information, personnel and aviation security, security risk management including governance, and training delivery. Calm under pressure, with excellent communication skills, Benn is a natural team player who is keen to better himself and support others.

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