Civvy Life – Melvin Pears, MBE

Civvy Life – Melvin Pears, MBE

Off By Ed Hanna

Lieutenant Colonel Pears Served in the Coldstream Guards, transferring to the Irish Guards in 2002. Discharged in 2014 following 39 years’ Service he was awarded an MBE and joined Finchale Group as Head of Veteran’s Services and subsequently worked up to his current role as CEO.

How was resettlement?

I actually enjoyed my resettlement. I made contact with the Army Education Centre and with CTP. I was delighted with the service I got and they told me all the things I wanted to know. I then analysed where I needed to be and I made the contacts. I made the contacts to find myself a mentor: a civilian who worked in commerce and in the community, who spoke the language I needed to speak.

How does Finchale Group help Service leavers?

You need to listen to them and to fi nd out what it is they’re having issues with. We address those issues one-by-one until they come to a place where they are comfortable and at that point you can then introduce education again; training and then into employment – so they can literally support themselves, their family and their local community. What is important about Finchale is that you are mentored all the way. It is one voice, from one person. You might go to other people for different skills on the way but you will always have the case manager with you at your shoulder, to catch you if you wobble, to give you more advice or to assist you in situations that are making you anxious or nervous.

Finchale Group is currently expanding…

It’s phenomenal. Finchale is going to move from its current site to a purpose built home in Belmont Business Park which has been designed to accommodate everything we do on the old site and we’re futureproofi ng it for the next 10 years. We’re building in a fantastic IT network and fantastic training facilities. Our ambition and plan is to help even more people from our new home.

Is working with Finchale Group your way of staying connected with the Forces?

I just adore listening to what the guys have to say; I relate to it. I want to help them wherever I can and I go out of my way, like my team does, to get a good outcome; not only for them, but for their families as well.

Do you miss the Military?

I don’t miss the Military because it was my time to leave. It’s never plain sailing in any job, but I felt a real privilege to have joined as a Soldier and left as a Commanding Officer.

This is a new career for me and it gives me a great deal of energy and pleasure to take on a new task away from the Military. It rejuvenates you in a different way because you’re constantly learning new things.

Is that what you’ve got to find to make a success of things?

You have. What I would say to anyone leaving is take advice from people who have left before and if you can possibly find a mentor, do that. Just take a breath before you start steamrolling your way into a new career. Ask around, take some advice and listen to people and watch how they work and react, because it’s different.

Finchale Group is an independent charity and leading provider of specialist employment programmes that support people with complex barriers to employment: