Civvy Life – Tim Stergiou-Allen, Help For Heroes
After gaining experience in communications with the Royal Navy, Tim has found a role with Military charity, Help for Heroes.
What’s your Military background?
I joined the Royal Navy as a Warfare Officer in 2006. After initial training and junior watch-keeping positions in Mine Hunters, I specialised in maritime mine warfare. Between seagoing jobs I was posted to Navy Command HQ as the Officer in Charge of the Mobile News Team. Here I was tasked to travel around the deployed Royal Navy and Royal Marines Units gathering proactive news stories to market to the UK Media. In this I was deployed to Afghanistan three times, Bahrain, South Africa, Florida and numerous times around the UK. I knew at this time that my long term future was in communications and PR and made the decision to put my notice in and pursue a civilian career in communications.
How was resettlement for you?
I know now that I didn’t utilise the resources offered by the CTP to the fullest. I had a really good rapport with my career consultant who was able to offer support when I asked for it. I think arrogance more than anything kept me from engaging further – the view that Military training means you are easily employable needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as many don’t understand ones transferable skills. I was lucky enough to be offered a short term contract with a marketing and PR agency in the Portsmouth area which worked with Naval Charities so my experience was valuable to them. After this contract ended, I took three months out to travel and let the job market refresh.
How did you get involved with Help for Heroes?
Whist I was out of the country I noticed the job with H4H advertised on LinkedIn. For me it was a perfect opportunity, working within the Military community but as a civilian whilst building my experience in communications and PR. Even though I had been a keen supporter of the charity for years it wasn’t until I started researching what H4H actually did that it cemented in my mind that I really wanted to work for them.
What skills and experiences from the Military have been most useful for you in your new career?
I think mainly my work ethic and time management skills in particular. Having been the operations officer of a warship of 45 I had to learn to manage my time and work load very quickly. This has easily transferred over to a busy working press and PR office in H4H.
What do you miss about the Armed Forces?
The people – no other sector of employment has the camaraderie and humour of the Armed Forces.
What’s the best thing about being back on Civvy Street?
It’s the little things. Being able to choose what to wear on a daily basis, being able to plan weekends well in advance, not having to shave every day, being around to socialise with family and friends and putting the time deserved into friendships and relationships that have maybe been neglected over the years.
What advice would you give to Service personnel going through resettlement?
Take advantage of as much advice and assistance offered to you by your chain of command. Don’t be arrogant in thinking you’ll find work easily. There will be a perfect job out there for you but patience and persistence are key. When you are told to rework your CV for every application, this is not a joke – it is necessary. If you are at a dead end and have the time and money, leave the search for a few months to let the job market refresh – there are new things all the time.
Tell us a bit more about Help for Heroes…
When I came to Help for Heroes I was genuinely amazed at how they help rebuild lives. They have built a network of over 60 charity partners so that no stone goes left unturned, if you need help – they will know what to do or who to turn to. Help for Heroes offers comprehensive support to those who have suffered life-changing injuries and illnesses while serving our country. This support is provided through grants direct to our Heroes and their families, grants to other charities and through four Help for Heroes Recovery Centres across the UK.