RFEA Lee Johnston, Families Advisor, and members of the RFEA Families Programme team

Thursday 29th July 2021

RFEA, The Forces Employment Charity, is offering more support to job-seeking Military spouses and partners (including separated, divorced, widowed and overseas) than ever before, as the unique programme tops 500 registrations.

The RFEA Families Programme

The charity’s Families Programme is led by expert Employment Advisors who, as well as having expert knowledge of the jobs market, have experienced many of the same challenges as military spouses and partners. They are on-hand to support with anything from careers advice, to career diagnostics, helping partners and spouses with how to obtain a job by knowing where to look, as well as CV reviews and interview techniques.

Service life impact on spouses and ‘partners of’

When surveyed recently, Military spouses cited the effect on their career as the aspect of Service life that they feel most negatively about. Prior to the pandemic, partners and spouses of those serving already faced a number of challenges when entering the workplace, from frequent moves and isolated locations, to lack of social support and employment networks. Now they are facing a new set of challenges because of Covid-19, as many of the roles that offered flexibility, such as hospitality and retail, have gone into sharp decline.

In response, the team is working with record numbers of clients to not only help them find meaningful employment, but also support those looking to build their confidence, employability skills and qualifications.

Covid-19 impact on employment of military partners and spouses

Lee Johnston, Families Employment Advisor says:

“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on employment and many Military partners/ spouses have been disproportionately affected. The good news is that RFEA has increased its online presence to work around the restrictions of the pandemic. We are also actively working with a range of organisations, across industries such as financial, technology and healthcare, who all have vacancies to fill and recognise the value of employing people with experience of a military life.”

Jenny Crews, military partner, supported by REFA Families Programme

Military partner, Jen Crews (pictured), moved 500 miles to begin a new life in Arbroath at the start of the pandemic. Unfortunately, a combination of the impact of the pandemic on the jobs market, coupled with a lack of nearby support networks, meant she struggled to find a role. The impact of this was that she had to contemplate returning to her hometown, as her and her partner’s financial situation became increasingly untenable.

Jen says:

“Thanks to the help I received from RFEA, I have now secured a new role in the NHS. After I took the call to confirm I had been offered the job, I burst into tears with relief, knowing that the financial and emotional pressure I had been under would now be over. I have such immense gratitude to my advisor. Without her, I would not have found this job and I probably wouldn’t even still be living here. Instead, I now have a sense of belonging from doing such a rewarding job, in an organisation where I know I am making a difference.”

For more information visit the RFEA website.

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