Attending The Emergency Services Show in Birmingham earlier this week really struck a chord with me, which I wasn’t expecting at all. Perhaps I felt that way was because, with no background in the industry, I was able to see things from a different perspective, not tarnished with years of cynicism from a career in ‘the job’. After chatting with some serving Fire Officers about what was provided to them on exiting, I was astounded to hear that when it comes to the end of their career, they’re sat down in a room for half a day to listen to a ‘Retirement Seminar’ which focusses almost entirely on the financial aspects of ending a career. Nothing else is mentioned and no other real support is offered. My mind was blown – surely there’s something missing here?!
I’m not going to profess to be an expert in this industry at all, but after conversations like that and many others we had at the event, it’s clear that support and guidance for the practical side and the ‘next-steps’ are virtually non-existent. I also found another comment astonishing that whilst still in ‘the job’, many people become stressed-out trying to plan for and build a life outside of the emergency services once their career finishes. This shouldn’t be the case. To me, this seems absurd and it’s just not something you hear about in any other industry, it was a real eye-opener. As previously said by Mightify, professional athletes get help with this, so why don’t our emergency services personnel?
Obviously, the financial aspect of retirement is hugely important (whether that be retiring through ill-health, injury or just not wanting to continue in the job any longer) but really, it’s a tiny spec in what is a much bigger picture that just isn’t being addressed. The practical side is often completely overlooked, even though it’s the part that scares people the most – and we know that first hand from previous clients who come to us totally overwhelmed and stuck.
They all have the same questions:
What do I do now?
Who am I now that I’ve left the emergency services?
What can I do now if all I’ve known is life in the emergency services?
I’ve never needed a CV, I don’t know how to write one and I don’t know what my skills are.
The list goes on and on.
The Emergency Services Show made me realise that Mightify absolutely needs to be the GO TO place for the practical side of the journey. We need to be part of those treatment and rehab centres, just the same as care and guidance is given for physical rehabilitation or mental rehabilitation. Careers guidance needs to be a guaranteed part of the package, because how will people fully engage in recovery if when they finish their programmes, they’re still leaving the facility not knowing what they’re going to do for the next 20-30 years? The Federations need to be looking after people whilst they are IN work and Mightify needs to be the next step of the journey in supporting people to get back into the working world if that’s what they choose to do – and more importantly - showing them that it can be done.
We’re over the moon that the conversation around wellbeing and mental health has really stepped into the limelight recently, but we’re here to shout about the huge gap that no one seems to be addressing and provide a complimentary service to all of that! Although we aren’t offering therapy or counselling, we understand that these things can be essential life lines for whichever stage of the journey one might be at. What really needs to be highlighted here, is that we should all be working together across the board, providing help at every step of the way, not segmenting these areas. Surely collaboration is the key to success? It’s simple common sense.