We use cookies to ensure our website operates correctly and to monitor visits to our site. This helps us to improve the way our website works, ensuring that users easily find what they are looking for. To allow us to keep doing this, click 'Accept All Cookies'. Alternatively, you can personalise your cookie settings.

Accept All Cookies Personalise settings


Exploring Life Skills in the UK Armed Forces


QinetiQ report commissioned by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), released today, examines if the UK Armed Forces are ready for the transition to civilian life.

Armed forces shaking hands with civilian

Author: Natalie Fisher, C.Psychol, AFBPsS, QinetiQ Fellow (pronouns: she/her)

Since September 2022 I have been leading a team of researchers from QinetiQ and the Cranfield School of Management to explore Life Skills in the UK Armed Forces. The study was commissioned by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) and looked to better understand: what are Life Skills; which Life Skills are most important for a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life; and what support is currently available to develop or improve Life Skills for adults generally?

It’s known that whilst the majority of ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful transition into civilian life and leave with valuable experience and skills, some struggle. A ‘lack of life skills’ or ‘lack of civilian skills’ are phrases sometimes used to describe the limited awareness of the norms and practices understood by civilian society and FiMT wanted to be able to understand the causes of that better.

I’m really proud that today, a little more than a year on from the start of that work, FiMT has published the report. The key findings are as follows:

  • Overall there is not a significant issue with Life Skills in the Armed Forces community. 
  • Most serving personnel and spouses/partners assessed themselves as having good Life Skills. 
  • The small minority most affected by poor Life Skills tended to be those lower in rank and younger in age, who have not had the chance to develop their skills, or who had poor Life Skills on joining.

For a little more depth, click on the below infographic which outlines some of the key findings:

Improving life skills in the UK Armed Forces Infographic

This study builds on the team’s research capability in the veteran space having worked on a number of other employment-related projects for FiMT, including: 

As with the previous studies I hope the FiMT research will further support the development of Life Skills in the Armed Forces community and the transition back into civilian life for ex-Service personnel and their families.

As an Occupational Psychologist at QinetiQ I work with mission critical systems and environments, where mistakes could result in loss of life or valuable assets. My role is to apply my own and leading academic research findings to complex operational issues and help my customers understand how those research findings could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their organisation. I sit within the multi-disciplinary Human Performance team of nearly 100 experts who focus on all issues human, from psychology to physiology, relevant to all domains.