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Developing capacity

New horizons – the potential for armed service personnel to move to social care work: current practice and ambitions


The primary aim of this study is to establish the evidence base about current practices for employing former armed service personnel and the potential to recruit them to social care roles.

The extent of the recruitment challenge in social care was confirmed in the recent National Audit Office report (2018) which reported the care worker vacancy rate in England to be 7.7% and turnover as 33.8% in 2016-17. One example of a possible source of employees are those who leave the work of the armed services.


March – October 2018

Research team

Kritika Samsi and Jill Manthorpe (SCWRU)


NIHR Policy Research Programme


A systematic scoping review and contemporaneous call for evidence to establish what is known about the following research questions:

  • Do organisations providing social care services encourage the employment of former armed service personnel in England, and if so, what is seen as effective?
  • Is there evidence about the range of roles former armed service personnel currently undertake in social care and potentially could undertake?
  • Is there evidence about whether former armed service personnel wish to work in social care?
  • Is any social care relevant training offered in the armed services and is such armed services training transferable?
  • Do some sectors of social care look particularly favourably upon employing former armed service personnel and if so why (how does this compare to retail and hospitality sectors for example)?
  • Is there any evidence about social care managers’ views on the potential for recruiting and retaining former armed service personnel?
  • What are the views of those advising former armed service personnel about new careers in social care?
  • Is there evidence about whether former armed service personnel are successful in obtaining places on social care qualifying training courses (eg occupational therapy, social work)?
  • What are the views of care users and carers about the employment of former armed service personnel in care work?

It will be informed by a consultation workshop designed to discuss early findings and identify if these chime with key informants’ experiences.

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