Step into Health was created by the NHS in conjunction with The Royal Foundation and Walking with the Wounded, and recognises the range of transferable skills and cultural values the Armed Forces shares with the NHS. 

At attendance of the Step into Health launch event on 18 January at the Royal Society of Medicine hosted by HRH Duke of Cambridge, we were invited to be one of just five organisations to meet the Duke and talk about how work through the Step into Health initiative benefits both SCW and those leaving the forces. The Duke was very interested to learn about the breadth and range of services that SCW provide to our customers feeding back that our geography and the range of services offered made us well placed to offer opportunities to those leaving the armed forces, veterans, reservists and forces families.

"I am delighted that SCW is supporting this important initiative.  The truly inspirational people who serve in the UK armed forces bring a world of experience and expertise to their second careers and I am very clear that SCW will benefit immensely by offering interesting and rewarding roles to Service-leavers and Service family members.  This is an important means of accessing scarce skills, which are accompanied by a ‘can do’ approach and high levels of pragmatism and flexibility.   A ’win’ all round!"
Janet Horton, Executive Director of Customer Development

Our commitment

SCW enhances our commitment to Step into Health by:

  • Hosting insight days to raise awareness of NHS careers with the Armed Forces community
  • Offering work placements to the Armed Forces community and providing support to those who apply for a vacancy
  • Tailoring activity for those service leavers who may be wounded, injured or sick
  • Promoting the programme and sharing messages through our digital channels
  • Establishing an alumni network for staff who have found employment through the programme
  • Partnering with other NHS organisations in the region to share best practice and make efficient use of resources
  • Supporting candidates with the programme who may wish to settle elsewhere whilst also being ready to receive candidates who have been referred from other supporting organisations.
SCW current has a number of armed forces service leavers, veterans and forces family members working across the patch. The transferrable skills and inherent values alignment that occur between the forces and SCW makes this group a prime candidate pool for many of the functions across SCW, such as Transformation and Commissioning Performance teams.

Case studies

"Stepping away from military life after over 30 years’ service was a daunting prospect.  Having had such a specialised job for so long I was unsure what I had to offer to ‘Civvie’ street.  Attending a step into health insight day really showed me that there are great opportunities in the NHS for people leaving the Armed Forces. Service personnel have a vast range of skill sets that are in huge demand and can be transferred across to organisations such as the NHS. There are some strong similarities between the Services and the NHS, both are large complex organisations with a structured management system, both have amazing, dedicated people working together to achieve a common goal and both are held in high esteem all over the world. Working at SCW has given me an opportunity to utilise the skill sets I have gained over my years in the RAF and use them in the NHS where they are especially valued and where I can keep developing and improving."

Simon Feetam, Contract Governance Manager

"I joined the RAF in 1998 and left as a Wing Commander from the RAF Regiment.  My military career was varied, as are most, and littered with operational deployments including Kuwait, Oman and Afghanistan several times.

In 2006 posted to 16 Air Assault Brigade I was deployed with 3 Parachute Regiment to Afghanistan for Operation HERRICK 4 providing coordination for air and ground forces and deliver ordnance in high intensity combat operations.  Then following a change of pace as Head of RAF Regiment Recruitment and a further deployment to Afghanistan as a forward air controller I was appointed Commander No. 2 Squadron RAF Regiment where, in 2008, I deployed the squadron to Afghanistan to protect Kandahar Airfield.  I went on to completed a yearlong MA level senior leadership and management course before I took up a role in operational planning role in Air Command. Throughout these diverse experiences and challenging roles I developed robust organisational skills, planning experience, persistence and ability to remain resolute at all times even in extremely arduous environments; a common theme for nearly all service personnel.

I left the RAF at my 16 year option point having loved my experience in the military and ready for a new challenge and to start a new career.  Initially I found it very difficult to match my skills and operational experience to roles in ‘Civvy Street’ and under sold my knowledge and experiences.   Despite my initial reservations as to whether I would fit into the NHS I was attracted by the incredible work of the NHS that I had experienced first-hand, a chance to be close to home and to reset my work life balance.  The NHS also allowed me to continue in a public service role.  Understanding something of the problems the NHS are facing I also knew a career in the NHS would provide the challenges I was looking for in a new career. 

After carefully mapping my skills and experience to the requirements in the job description it was clear that much of what I had acquired in the RAF was transferable to the NHS and I sought a role as a contract manager in South Central and West Commissioning Support Unit.  After a successful interview, where my potential was acknowledge despite no previous NHS experience, I began as an Associate Director of Contract Management.  Moving into a completely new complexed organisation was not easy; however, within a year I had picked up the new language, adjusted to the culture, made sense of some of the complexed challenges and settled into the organisation and role.  Leadership and people skills enabled me to settle in, build relationships with colleagues and customers and start to make a difference quickly.  Experience of change and risk management helped me to build process where it added significant value and provided structure and clarity where required.  After 2 years I was appointed as the Customer Delivery Director providing account relationship management in a more senior role. 

My forces background has allowed me to look through a different lens to others in the NHS enabling me to provide valued insights.  Strong self-motivation, professional outlook and the ability to take difficult decisions is taught in the forces and drives results in any sphere.    I also very much enjoyed the benefits of living at home with my family in a stable job with no commute!"

Matt Carter, Customer Delivery Director - Sussex and East Surrey