It was Pathfinder’s very great privilege to host the second annual Nationwide Resettlement Awards at Hotel Football in Manchester on 2nd November 2016…

We came together on the night to celebrate the achievements of individuals who have made the often-challenging transition from military to civilian life, to recognise their accomplishments and toast their success.

We also commended the role played by a range of organisations in supporting those in resettlement, and beyond, as well as highlighting the excellence and commitment they have demonstrated.

We would like to extend our congratulations to all the finalists, as well as expressing our profound thanks to the judging panel, the event sponsors, and our many guests who joined us on the night.

Last year, the Nationwide Resettlement Awards were expertly hosted by the BBC’s very own Bill Turnbull and we were delighted that Bill agreed to reprise his role for this year’s ceremony. And what a job he did! Bill is the consummate professional but, additionally, he, like all of us present on the night, was humbled and inspired in equal measure by the stories that emerged.

The men and women of our Armed Forces are owed an enormous debt of gratitude for the work they do to keep our nation safe, but we do not believe that enough is done to recognise the success they achieve once they have shed their uniforms. The Nationwide Resettlement Awards exist to change that – they are a celebration of resettlement endeavour and achievement.

Many of those in attendance shared their experiences and photos on Twitter and we were delighted to discover that the hashtag #resettlementawards was trending on the night.

The Winners

The winners in the various categories in the 2016 Nationwide Resettlement Awards were as follows:

The Nationwide Service Leaver of the Year Award


Rob left the Royal Artillery in 2010 after 24 years’ service. Employed as a signaller he gained civilian accreditation of his military telecommunications. Ever mindful that it was important to have options Rob also liaised closely with General Dynamics UK about roles available and he also kept himself current and competent regarding his assessing work. With 3 months to go before he was due to leave the Services Rob applied for a role as a Personal Development Advisor which would utilise his assessing qualification and also that of his 24 years military experience.

The Officers’ Association Award for Excellence in Work Experience Programmes for Service Leavers


Carillion has a long history of engaging with Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and recruiting former service personnel and veterans from all 3 Services and at all levels. Carillion was one of the original signatories of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) Corporate Covenant established in October 2013. The company is at the forefront or renewing and strengthening their commitment in 2016.

The AFF Award for Outstanding Contribution to Resettling Military Families


The Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund is the RAF’s leading welfare charity, providing financial, practical and emotional support to the RAF family. The charity’s Housing Trust provides homes to RAF families and individuals following medical discharge or death in service who are unable to purchase or secure housing suitable to their needs. Currently, the Housing Trust provides homes for 230 individuals and families for as long as they need this high level of support. The charity also assists on a case-by-case basis with retraining grants and financial assistance to pursue careers outside of the RAF. The objective is to provide the stability to pursue fulfilling lives after the RAF and beyond their injuries or illnesses.

The NuCalm Award for Ex-Forces Independent Business Start-up of the Year

JOHN GEDEN of Sinah Common Honey

John’s interest in beekeeping was sparked from completing a course as part of his resettlement from the military. In January 2015 John decided to start the process of upscaling his hobby into a business and formed Sinah Common Honey, to fulfil a passion for beekeeping and his desire for a slower and less traumatic way of life. John had served for 10 years in the military police and 22 years with Hampshire Constabulary, spending the last 6 years of his career investigating child deaths and child abuse). John was diagnosed with PTSD in December 2014.

The University of Derby Online Learning Award for Excellence Demonstrated in the Face of Adversity During the Resettlement Process


Leon has shown outstanding determination and has successfully rebuilt his life after his 10 year career in the Welsh Guards ended with being medical discharged in 2013, following a diagnosis of severe PTSD. During the tour of Afghanistan, on 9 May 2009, on patrol deep in the Helmand Badlands, Platoon Sergeant Leon Peek’s group were surrounded by about 56 Taliban Insurgents, in a 360 degree ambush. The traumas of that single day took their toll on Leon and many of his fellow soldiers.

In October 2014 Leon started on an intensive bricklaying which he has passed with distinction. Persimmon Homes then offered Leon a Bricklaying Apprenticeship. He started in January 2015 and achieved his goal of becoming self-employed this February when he received his ‘Blue Card.’ Leon is married with two children aged 3 and 5. He is very happy that his self-employment is allowing him to provide for his family and he has regained his independence.

The FRS Award for the employer who has demonstrated most commitment to employing Service Leavers


British Military Fitness currently employs 500 ex or serving members of the Armed Forces to deliver outdoor fitness classes across the UK in 140 venues. British Military Fitness makes every effort to continually recruit ex members of the Armed Forces by partnering with the CTP, attend BFRS fairs across the UK, the BMF Academy which delivers fitness qualifications to enable ex-Service personnel to enter the fitness industry and join BMF as an Instructor, posting opportunities on a variety of job sites nationwide to attract military personnel, offering recruitment initiatives to their current staff to attract military personnel through their network.

The Atkins Award for Excellence in Support of Service Leavers


Iain is the Interim Director of Services at Stoll, working to support Service Leavers in London. This includes people in transition: six months before leaving the Forces and for up to three years afterwards. A Veteran himself after 42 years of service in the Royal Engineers, former Army Major Iain knows first-hand just how making the transition back into civilian life can be a very difficult period. “I want to give something back to the community who have served their country. With my Army background I can understand what many Veterans have been through and how some are affected by injuries and PTSD.”

The FDM Award for Best Academic Course Provider Catering for Service Leavers


Salford University has specifically developed an MSc in Military Veterans Health and Well-being within the School of Nursing, Midwifery, Social work and Social Sciences that caters for Service Leavers, family members and those working with Service Leavers The university overall is committed to the smooth transition of ex-Service personnel and their families into education and has over several years entered students onto a variety of programmes and has seen very successful outcomes.

The Pertemps Award for Service Leaver Trainee of the Year

CRAIG HICKEY, FDM Group trainee

After Craig’s sudden Medical Discharge from the Army in 2015, he was initially unsure of what career path to take. He identified he had many of the essential attributes required of a Project Manager. His research identified the FDM Ex-Forces Programme to enhance his chances of securing a consultant role on completion of training. Currently employed as a consultant Craig has continued to develop his professional skills with assistance from the client and further training and advice provided by FDM. Craig has proven to be a credit to himself and the FDM Ex-Forces Training Programme

The Pathfinder International Magazine Award for Service Leavers’ Training Company of the Year


Quanta Training uses traditional routes of advertising in resettlement magazines and online to proactively market its training courses to attract the interest of Service Leavers specifically. Quanta encourages soldiers to think about their professional development long before they have an exit date. Furthermore, Quanta works heavily with companies that employ service leavers such as military contractors. Delegates trained by Quanta complete feedback forms after their course. From all resettlement delegates Quanta’s average overall feedback score is 5.51/6 while their trainers scored at 5.58/6, both increases from last year.

Award for Service Leaver Franchisee of the Year

GRAHAM ORANGE, Action Coach franchisee

With retirement from the RAF in sight, Graham spent years researching options available to him as the possible owner of a franchise. It wasn‛t until January 2015 when working as Chief Tech in the Structures bay at RAF Marham, that Graham spotted an advertisement for ActionCOACH, the World‛s #1 Business Coaching Franchise. In the last year Graham has faced the unknown but regardless of its bumpy start, Graham loves his new career and lifestyle. Being self-employed through ActionCOACH brings Graham great job satisfaction.

Here’s to the Nationwide Resettlement Awards 2017!

The Pathfinder Team

You can view a wide range of pictures from the night here