Keele University research into the experience of Veterans in transition to civilian life

July 16, 2021

Every year, 15,000 people leave Her Majesty’s Armed Forces to become civilians. By far the majority make this transition successfully and establish themselves in a civilian career. However, many people find the process difficult at some stage. Some find it extremely challenging. The purpose of this research is to map the transition journey and understand what people find difficult, what people find easy, and why.

This research is being conducted by Fergus Smith, a former officer in 3PARA and the author of three novels covering the military operations from Northern Ireland to Kosovo to Afghanistan. The research is part of a PhD programme at Keele University and has been given ethical approval.

To take part in this research you should have served in the army for at least 3 years and left between 2005 and 2020.

There are two parts to the research. The first is an online survey that will take between 10 and 30 minutes to complete depending on how detailed you make your answers. The second is an in-depth interview to understand how you managed the transition.

If you would like to complete the survey, please click here. You may find it easiest to do this on a laptop or a computer rather than a tablet or phone.

If you would like to be considered for an interview, please email Fergus Smith on

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