Tuesday 9th June 2020

As part of Employment and Training month we take a look at the great work RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, are doing for military spouses and partners through their Families Programme.

Lee Johnston, Families Employment Advisor at RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, says:

“Frequent moves, relatively isolated locations, employer reluctance, limited childcare options and the complexities of building a normal career, often mean that many military spouses and partners can face unique challenges getting back into work.

“As the wife of Royal Marine, I should know! That’s also why I know the support that we offer through RFEA’s Families Programme makes such an important difference.

“RFEA’s Families Programme was launched to help the spouses and partners of serving and ex-Forces personnel into employment, with the help of a dedicated Families Employment Advisor who really understands their situation and can offer completely tailored solutions to suit the individual.

“Our focus is on reaching partners and spouses and providing them with the support they need, including how to understand their skills fit with potential jobs and develop their strengths to employers. We do this in a way that is convenient for our clients, such as over the phone, via email or through virtual consultations.

“The Families Programme also works closely with the Forces Families Jobs’ Board, set up by the Families Federations, and uses RFEA’s extensive network of over 9,000 employers who actively recruit service leavers and veterans.

“We are incredibly proud of the difference our Families Programme has already made to those who have entered our programme. Thanks to generous funding from Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund and the Government Equalities Office’s Returners Fund, we’ve now been able to extend our programme to enable more advisors to reach even more people through our programme and continue to enhance the lives of military spouses for many more years to come.

“The programme spans the whole of the country and is open to civilian spouses and partners of still serving and ex-service personnel including divorced spouses and widows, subject to eligibility checks.

“Anyone seeking support or further information about RFEA’s Families Programme can find out more by visiting RFEA Families online.“

RFEA Case Study

RFEA Beneficiary, Dannielle Fitzwilliam and family

Danielle Fitzwilliam, whose partner is currently serving in the Armed Forces, is a beneficiary of the Families Programme. She says:

“Finding meaningful work when your partner is serving in the military can be a real challenge. We have two young children, so when he is away it makes it hard to juggle shift patterns with school runs. This has an impact on how much work I can or cannot commit to, which then knocks on to our financial situation as well.

“I came across RFEA through a parent forum in my local area. My advisor, Lee, was a breath of fresh air – she understood where I was coming from, from the get-go. After a discussion about my situation, she sent me all sorts of different types of jobs which worked around my needs, including jobs based from home, or those with flexible working hours.

“When I got an interview for my current role, my advisor was incredibly supportive. I normally panic in interviews, but this time I didn’t and I 100% put that down to the help I had from her! She knew the organisation really well and was able to talk me through their processes, as well as coach me in how to answer well during an interview.

“I am so thankful to the invaluable support I had from Lee – nothing was ever too much trouble – she was worth her weight in gold. Thanks to her I now have a superb role in a great company that offers the flexibility I need – I am so excited to get going.”

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This story comes to you as part of the RAF FF’s themed month of June for all things relating to employment and training. As well as our online reference section, you can keep yourself up to date with the information and advice – available by signing up to our (free) weekly eBulletin and/or quarterly Envoy magazine

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