Forces Families Jobs is an employment and training platform specifically designed to support Service families into meaningful employment and provide opportunities for training and development. The platform is being delivered by a tri-Service partnership between the Naval Families Federation (NFF), Army Families Federation (AFF) and Royal Air Force Families Federation (RAF-FF).
The offical launch happened on Tuesday, 17th September at The House of Lords. It was an amazing event that hosted a great collection of Armed Forces supporters and community, all there to celebrate the launch of the site.
I was very honoured to be asked to be one of the spouse speakers, along with Suzy Ives, Jonny Mercer MP, and Mark Cahill, Managing Director of Manpower Group, and here is a transcript of my speech…
‘You’re probably aware if you’ve ever spent time with the UK Armed Forces that they’re a pretty dedicated and talented bunch that go above and beyond in their service to the UK and its peoples. And it’s probably safe to say that the partners they choose in life, are exactly the same!
Speak to any military spouse in this room and you’ll realise that we, spouses and partners, are a resilient, tight-knit group, who are multi-talented and pretty amazing once you scratch the surface.
We as spouses have access to some great initiatives to help our business and employment – but as a community we are spread over the country and the world, so it’s difficult to find this stuff – until now.
Forces Families Jobs have created a one-stop-shop for us all to access.
So, why is it so important to have a site like this and, why, as supporters should YOU care that something like this exists?
Well, it’s really quite simple. When you support this platform, and the spouses and partners, you are directly helping the UK Armed Forces – And here’s why…
When you watch any military parade, you’ll usually see a whole collection of shining medals, sitting proudly on their chests. These medals are quite rightly in recognition of the hard work of the service person in operations – but for us, the military spouse, they represent something else – our own sacrifices.
My husband wears his medals. He’s been to Iraq and Afghanistan. Add to this, challenging tours to the 2016 Nepal earthquake and later to Caribbean for hurricane relief and it’s been a very busy marriage.
This is by no way unique to the RAF – Every Navy, Army and Marine partner around you will have experienced something similar to this. Whilst I am so proud of my husband’s successes I am brutally aware of the sacrifices I have made along the way to support him during these operations.
Back in 2012, I was an award-winning graphic designer working for a massive international company, and building my own successful career – It was also the height of the Afghanistan conflict and I was madly in love with an RAF C-130 pilot – and then the posting notice to move arrived.
It’s quite a usual occurrence when a posting happens that one or the other commutes between home and work, or, as in our case, with two important careers with little flexibility someone chooses to leave their job. That someone was me.
I moved away from the home and friends that I had known for years and applied for jobs with companies who refused to employ a military spouse – to top it all off, he was back in Afghanistan before we’d even unpacked the boxes – I was thoroughly fed up! I knew that I needed to claw back some of my identity and start doing something that I loved – for me that was starting my own design business.
Over the next few years, I discovered through projects, like those now on this platform, that there were other military spouses, just like me, running their own companies. Behind closed doors military spouses were leading the way in business, launching charities and succeeding in their own challenges.
What they achieve still impresses me to this day, and all whilst living the challenge of modern military life. These stories are so inspirational – So last year I started a podcast series to showcase just how amazing these partners are – with an aim to inspire those who hope to achieve the same in our community.
And it’s this community, the wives, husbands and partners of serving personnel, that have sacrificed so much. I believe it is this group that is the true foundation that holds up the Armed Forces – but in turn, they also need to be nurtured and supported.
By supporting the spouse, with employment and training, you will be helping our serving personnel do the best job that they can in the field.
By giving partners their own identity through employment, you allow a spouse to financially contribute to their families, freeing up the pressure on the serving person.
By providing access to develop the skills they’ve already used during their working lives, you help a spouse retain their identity and their mental health.
By providing access to inspirational role models and an online virtual network, as I do with The InDependent Spouse, you’re showing partners that they aren’t alone or isolated in this military world.
And by helping this community, we, as military spouses will never turn to our partners and ask them to leave a job they love, because our own sacrifices are too much to bear.
And for me, having a successful business means that while my husband is away in the most terrible parts of the world, he doesn’t have to worry about life at home – which means that he can focus on the important work that he has to do. Because the spouses and partners aren’t separate from serving personnel, we are the same team – and that is why this platform is so important and vital to our Armed Forces family.’
You can now get access to thousands of jobs, and training on the website – https://www.forcesfamiliesjobs.co.uk/
A massive thank you to all three Families Federations for inviting me. A massive congratulations on the laucnh of this great platform, I am sure it’s going to be a huge success!