Hayley Duncan talks about how she enjoys helping service personnel with their development, and with their transition from military life to the civilian street.
Being ex-forces myself and a military wife with children, I understand that life can get quite lonely. So I wanted to offer support to those families who are in the same situation as me. The Royal Navy is already considered a family, but the Learning and Development Hub wanted to extend their services and benefits to personnel and their wider families.
A rewarding role
In my role as Learning, Development & Resettlement Advisor, I enjoy getting the chance to help service personnel in their education and development, and supporting service leavers as they transition from military life to the civilian street.
My job is very rewarding, especially when I see service personnel being successful in their careers and moving on to a new chapter of their lives.
Helping military families
With the support of Capita, I launched the Little Legs Library to help military families connect more with each other and the military. Being a working mum, a veteran and a military wife, I know that life can get pretty lonely. I’ve put on courses such as paediatric first aid and Makaton for military spouses specifically, to help them meet new people in the area. Praise for the library has been published in the local newspaper, Homeport, as well as the Navy News.
I also helped develop the mindfulness garden, which was a massive project and received a grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund. The garden will be used by all trainees, ships’ company and civilian employees to enjoy relaxing and tranquil settings. Taking a few minutes to fully ground ourselves in a serene setting can be a great way to slow down the mind, step away from thought and feel truly present in our bodies and in nature.
We’ve now expanded the mindfulness garden, and I have linked up with Aggies (a charity that helps service personnel and their families) to design and deliver a sensory room within our Learning and Development Hub. This will be used for all ships’ company, trainees and military families.
Capita has also allowed me to make time and flexibility for the collaborative delivery of my projects. This was assisted by my work colleagues, who rearranged their working patterns to make sure service delivery was not impacted.
Since starting in September 2022, all projects have been launched successfully. The Little Legs Library and the mindfulness garden were officially opened by Capt Deakin, CO of HMS Sultan.
Professional development day
As my husband is an engineer, I have a soft spot for them. I organised a professional development day where I got three of the biggest professional bodies (IMaresT, IMechE and IET) to come in and deliver briefs to all engineers, both air and marine engineers.
This was a huge success and over 150 engineers turned up. It’s ongoing support, as I have also arranged for IET and IMechE to return in July to deliver briefs to our PH2 air trainees.
All projects will require further development and marketing to ensure the benefits to the ship’s company are maintained and improved over time. For example, the professional development day will be incorporated into future training events held in HMS Sultan.
Future projects also include the wellbeing aspects of the garden and Little Legs Library, which will lead to the creation of a sensory room within the hub, for supporting trainees, ships’ company and their families. I want to extend our services for military spouses to help them gain functional skills in maths and English, or IGCSEs / A-Levels if they haven’t already achieved them.
To anyone working to achieve a similar goal: be bold and creative in your ideas and have confidence to speak up with ideas, on how to continue improving services and support to your local customer and community.