An Investigation into the Transferable Skills of Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) in the Defence Forces of Ireland (Army Only) on Retirement

Ray Whelan, Sharon Feeney


The Irish Defence Forces currently employs approximately 8,750 personnel, with some 7,300 employed in the army. Approximately 3,139 Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) have changed career paths into civilian roles between the years 2000-2015. Many of these individuals found the transition from a military career to a civilian career challenging, despite having obtained some useful transferable skills. One of the most pertinent challenges has been the lack of any appreciation by employers of the range of transferrable skills that were gained by NCOs during their military careers. This paper aims to identify what transferable skills contribute to the transition from a military career to a civilian career from the perspective of a small sample of former army NCOs. The methodology consists of a qualitative study involving semi-structured interviews with key personnel who previously served in the Irish Defence Forces. The findings indicate that the range of transferable skills gained in a military career have important and timely relevance to careers in a civilian context. Recommendations are proposed in relation to how the Defence Forces might assist retiring personnel to target civilian employers and jobs.


Defence Forces; Career Transition; Transferable Skills

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Copyright (c) 2020 Ray Whelan, Sharon Feeney

Publisher: DBS Library