More support for military partners

RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity will now be able to offer even more employment support to Military spouses and partners (including separated, divorced, widowed and overseas) looking to take the next step in their career, thanks to a new expansion of its services.

The programme has already enrolled almost 700 partners and spouses through its existing careers support provision. Delivered by a team of specialist Families Employment Advisors, the service currently offers career diagnostics, help with job searches, CV reviews, interview preparation and technique, mentoring, confidence and self-esteem building opportunities, and wider needs advice including signposting to welfare and wellbeing support. From March 2022 the programme will be extending its services to provide help to those interested in pursuing careers in tech and cyber through RFEA’s TechVets programme, as well as offering new coaching sessions that will be available to book for free.

The announcement comes as the charity’s unique Families programme celebrates its three-year anniversary and will be marked with a one-off Families special of its regular Careers Sit Rep event.

The free event will be live streamed on LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook on 4 February 2022 (which also coincides with RFEA’s 137th birthday) from 1430-1530.

It will focus on the unique challenges that Military spouses and partners face, as well as include a discussion around where those looking for employment can go for tailored support. The panel will include:

  • Lee Johnston, RFEA Families Employment Advisor
  • Jenna Richardson, Employment and Training Specialist and Forces Families Jobs Lead at Army Families Federation (AFF)
  • Former RFEA Families Programme client, Jenny Monaghan, Marketing and Events Coordinator at HEROPRENEURS
  • Host, RFEA’s Chief Executive Officer, Alistair Halliday

Research has shown that Military spouses say ‘the effect on their career’ is the aspect of Service life that they feel most negatively about.[1]

Lee Johnston, RFEA Families Employment Advisor and Military spouse comments,

“The Families Programme Advisors are all partners of Serving personnel, so we each have a first-hand understanding of the issues our clients face. For instance, frequent moves to often isolated locations, as well as a lack of social support and existing employments networks available to tap into, can all be challenges that hit Military spouses and partners particularly hard. The pandemic has also added an additional level of complexity, as many of the roles that offered the flexibility that is so important to our clients, such as those in hospitality or retail, have all been hugely disrupted. The good news is that there is help and other options available, and RFEA is there to support people with finding an opportunity that is right for them. Everyone has skills and the key is recognising what they are and how they can be transferred to a role.”

“I am so proud of every spouse and partner that has signed up for the Families Programme to achieve their goals, whether they be big or small, short term or long term, to do with finding that big job or helping improve their confidence and getting the guidance they need to make a change. This doesn’t feel like a job for me because I am so passionate about providing the guidance and support that our clients deserve. We will continue to offer our support but also increase our reach, so we can access every spouse and partner that needs our help.”

Jenna Richardson, Employment and Training Specialist and Forces Families Jobs Lead at Army Families Federation (AFF) adds,

“Life as a Military partner or spouse can bring many challenges, but with those challenges comes a range of excellent skills, such as resilience, adaptability and problem solving. These skills are highly sought after by employers, so we build that bridge between job seekers and employers, to help put those great skills to good use through fulfilling jobs or training opportunities. The RFEA Families Programme provides such an important source of support for Military partners, and we receive great feedback from the service users who engage with us after using it. I’m not exaggerating when I say that for many members of this community, the support offered by the team is life-changing.””

Military spouse Jenny Monaghan sought support from RFEA’s Families Programme and has since secured the role of Marketing and Events Coordinator at Heropreneurs. She says,

“My biggest challenge was the lack of confidence I had on returning to work after being on maternity leave and out of employment for two years. My CV was out of date, and I was struggling to find a job that would fit in around our military lifestyle/family. I was so anxious about returning to work but my advisor, Lee, gave me the confidence to pursue the career I have always wanted.

“She completely understood my concerns, given her military background, and empathised with my situation. She really listened (which was so refreshing), helped give me the tools to give my CV an overhaul and adapt to the job I was applying for. Not only was she my personal cheerleader when I was feeling nervous for my interview, but she gave me everything I needed to prepare for it.’

“Not only did I get a job that I’m so passionate about, but my mental health has significantly improved. This is something I never thought would be possible, but my confidence is going from strength to strength. I’m so excited for what our future holds.”

Anyone seeking support or further information about RFEA’s Families Programme can find out more by visiting www.rfea.org.uk/families.

[1] Ministry of Defence: UK Tri-Service Families Continuous Attitude Survey Results 2021 (July 2021) https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1004856/Tri-Service_Families_Continuous_Attitude_Survey_2021_Main_Report.pdf

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