Making a huge improvement to career transition
The first social enterprise in the UK dedicated solely to helping emergency responders make a smoother transition into life after public service has been formally launched.
Where before there was no clear post-career structure for ex-emergency services personnel and their families, X-ES (X-Emergency Services) will offer free, co-ordinated information, post-career advice and comprehensive specialist support on the individual’s transition journey – no matter what stage they are at.
There are over 17,000 people leaving the emergency services each year, and tens of thousands who have already left, with many not knowing what opportunities await them in their post-service career.
X-ES wants to ensure the standard of transition support to police officers, paramedics and fire fighters will be consistent, offered to everyone, and flexible to meet the individual needs of each person leaving the blue-light services.
Kirsty Shannon, former police officer of 30 years with the Hampshire Constabulary, received transition support through X-ES upon completion of her service: “My whole life had been policing. I had never had to apply for any other job. I had been promoted to sergeant and inspector and moved roles within the police. This required application forms and interviews but all internal processes that were known to me. I had no need to see what the rest of the workplace outside of policing looked like.
“X-ES helped me build up my CV and familiarised me with LinkedIn job applications. I had a job offer from Amazon and, began volunteering with Police Care UK.
“Without the support from X-ES, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to realise my potential in any of these areas. It’s been a spectacular start to my ‘retirement’. Bring on the next adventures that may come my way.”
Helen Langton, whose husband transitioned to part-time work as an emergency care assistant with the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust in order to start-up a business venture together, spoke on the benefits of part-transition to support their new business based in Torquay:
“Matt was looking for a work life balance, so working part time in the ambulance service was helping him to achieve that. For us it’s been really important that Matt has had a regular income, enabling us to not be too concerned about paying the rent on the start up of the business, if financially things get difficult.”
Matt said: “I love my job! I don’t like the long hours and shift patterns, but I do like the job. I like the people, I like the nature of it.”
One of the key players behind X-ES is its CEO Ren Kapur who was awarded an MBE for her work in entrepreneurship, supporting thousands of members of the armed forces community to explore enterprise and starting up in business as part of their transition.
Ren Kapur said: “No one should be leaving the emergency services saying they were too busy in their job in the fire service, the police force or the ambulance service to think about what they will next do in their career. What X-ES will do is embed transition into their everyday life.
“Emergency service personnel at all levels have many transferable skills including discipline, determination and resolving difficult situations under pressure, which are extremely attractive to business, but they need clear pathways and signposting so they can take advantage of the support and opportunities which are out there.”
Part of the comprehensive programme X-ES will deliver will also include helping members of the emergency service community and their families start a business. Alex Habachi, police officer of almost seven years-turned-business owner, received self-employment support through X-ES:
“As a police officer you’re faced with big decisions every single shift. You’re out there dealing with peoples’ lives; you’ve got to act quick and make short impactful decisions that have huge repercussions. I think taking that and applying it to business, it makes you move quicker, it makes you more effective than people who may have not served.”
After six and a half years, Alex took the decision to leave the force: “I thought this would be a good time to dedicate a bit more time to my wife and children, while also trying to launch a business; something that I’d always had an interest in.
“I went through the government Start Up Loans programme and was put in touch with X-ES to get a start up loan. I had a lot of support from the team in drawing up the business plan, financial models, and licenses. When the money came in, X-ES were still there to call on for support.”
Ren Kapur MBE, added: “For those with an entrepreneurial ambition, business ownership in the emergency responders community is a viable option. We offer an opportunity to apply the skills people have developed through their public service in the NHS, police and fire service, with a handrail of support which includes funding, mentoring and business guidance.”
X-ES has partnered with the British Business Bank, which runs the government’s Start Up Loan programme, which also offers mentoring and advice to would-be business owners.
Richard Bearman, managing director, small business lending for the British Business Bank said: “Start Up Loans is proud to continue working alongside Ren and her team as their scope broadens to include helping entrepreneurs from the emergency services to fulfil their business goals. These individuals have served their country in the blue light professions and the skills they learned there will equip them with the tenacity, compassion and drive to succeed in industry.
“We are committed to supporting Alex, Helen, and their emergency services colleagues from across the UK as they make the transition from NHS, firefighting and policing heroes to the nation’s next start up success stories.”