Q&A with Veteran John Stephenson the MD and Founder of the Forces Transition Group

Leah Cottham
January 23, 2024

Our Recruitment Consultant Georgia Bloor took to a Q&A with Veteran John Stephenson Managing Director and Founder of the Forces Transition Group. They aim to enhance the transition of service personnel, leavers, veterans and families with ownership and direction of their pathway once on resettlement and beyond. The FTG emphasises proactive planning and mastering the five fundamentals for a smooth transition. With a mission to make a real difference "Serve Well, Leave Well, and Flourish" is not just a motto but a proven path to success. Here we go through strengths, leaving tips and how the Forces Transition Group and Hirecracker can help you!

1. Hello John! Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Hello! I am John Stephenson, Veteran and Managing Director and Founder of the Forces Transition Group.

2. In your opinion, what is your greatest strength?

I believe that my greatest strength lies in my ability to connect with others on an emotional level. Emotion, if you can gain the trust of someone through emotion, then you will find success in everything you do. Something I lost during my time in service, a period that significantly impacted my personal growth and approach to relationships.

3. And weakness?

Addressing weaknesses is always a challenging task, and I find it difficult to embrace this question. However, I would say that one of my challenges is succumbing to the influence of the "Imposter" voice within, which can lead to a pervasive sense of negativity. While I acknowledge the importance of maintaining a healthy sense of self doubt as a check and balance, it's crucial to prevent it from overshadowing positive aspects and hindering personal development.

4. What made you join the Army?

The decision to join the Army stemmed from a desire to break away from an environment that offered no promising future. It represented a significant opportunity for a fresh start and personal growth, albeit with the inherent challenges and sacrifices associated with military service.

5. What made you create the Forces Transition Group and when did you create it?

The Forces Transition Group (FTG) was established in response to my own challenging transition experience. The initiative was launched five years ago with the sole purpose of addressing the difficulties faced by individuals transitioning out of the military. The goal is to provide solutions and support to ensure a more positive and seamless transition for service leavers.

6. Best tip for someone looking to leave the military?

For someone contemplating leaving the military, my best advice would be to grasp the concept of ownership. By taking ownership of your journey, you gain direction, empowering you to make informed decisions. And of course, considering the Forces Transition Group for comprehensive assistance in this process.

7. What do you think is the most valuable transferable skill veterans can offer the UK job market?

When considering valuable transferable skills veterans bring to the UK job market, it's challenging to pinpoint just one. If I were to highlight a particular skill, it would be loyalty. Veterans often exhibit unwavering loyalty, a trait that can greatly benefit any workplace.

8. Do you have any hobbies outside of the FTG?

Beyond my commitment to the Forces Transition Group, I find solace and enjoyment in the world of football. Unfortunately, my loyalty lies with Sunderland, a team that has its fair share of challenges and triumphs.

9. During your time in service what was your favourite place you visited?

Reflecting on my time in service, one of the most memorable places I visited was South Africa. The historical significance of the Zulu and Boer Wars, coupled with the country's rich cultural diversity, made it a truly fascinating experience.

10. Roughly how many service leavers have signed up to the FTG since it first began?

Since its inception, the Forces Transition Group has garnered significant support, with approximately 45,000 service leavers benefitting from its resources and guidance.

11. How many companies have signed up to the FTG?

The Forces Transition Group has received widespread support from the corporate sector, with hundreds of companies joining as partners. Among them, 76 have become full partners, actively contributing to the group's mission.

12. What are your upcoming plans for the FTG FOR 2024?

Looking ahead to 2024, the Forces Transition Group aims to enhance its network of partners, creating more job opportunities and increasing the number of service leavers successfully integrated into the FTG support system.

13. If you could time travel to the day you joined the military, what advice would you give yourself?

If I could travel back to the day I joined the military, I would advise my younger self to understand that military service is a finite chapter in life. It's essential to begin processing the idea of leaving from the outset, allowing for a more proactive and prepared approach to the eventual transition back to civilian life.

If you are looking for a new opportunity or help transitioning to a job after leaving the military - we can help! Get in touch 07719 983 839 or emailĀ [email protected].

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