RFEA Marks 135th Anniversary With New Military Women Programme
RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity, which is currently celebrating its 135th birthday, is launching Military Women, a brand-new programme which aims to boost meaningful employment opportunities amongst female veterans.
The initiative comes as research reveals female veterans are more than twice as likely to be economically inactive (20% compared with 9% for male veterans) and face more barriers to employment than men.
Military women often step off their career pathway to accommodate changes in their personal circumstances. They also encounter challenges common among many working women including greater childcare and caring responsibilities. Research also shows female Service leavers, unlike their male counterparts, often undervalue their experience and may deselect themselves from roles they are suitable for.
Thanks to generous funding from the Call of Duty Endowment, the unique Military Women programme will equip ex-Servicewomen with job-seeking skills and knowledge, as well as offer access to Forces-friendly employers who value female veterans for their highly desirable attributes such as forward planning, preparation and organisation.
RFEA’s Chief Executive, Alistair Halliday, says: “In 2019 only 8% of RFEA clients were female compared to 92% male. Thanks to the incredible support we have received from the Call of Duty Endowment, the new Military Women programme means RFEA will be able to help reach out to more women in the veterans’ community. By working with thousands of employers who value the skills of ex-Military, we are looking forward to ensuring ex-Forces women secure more exciting, challenging and, ultimately, meaningful employment.”
Dan Goldenberg, Executive Director at the Call of Duty Endowment, adds: “As one of the largest philanthropic funders of veteran employment, we recognise projects that will make a significant difference to ex-Forces personnel. The Endowment has been especially focused on the success of women veterans for some time, and we are delighted to be supporting RFEA’s Military Women programme, as we believe it will have a positive impact on the lives of female veterans.”
Annette Berry, RFEA’s Military Women Employment Advisor, served in Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps before embarking on a civilian career. She says: “I really understand what it’s like to be a woman in the Military. I know how important, unique and valuable the skills are that are acquired during a Forces career and, therefore, how those attributes translate to a civilian career. With this programme, we will support ex-Servicewomen with everything they need to be successful in their employment search, whether it be CV advice, interview skills or help with finding suitable employment opportunities. Through the Military Women programme, we will also expand opportunities for sustainable employment to suit individual career paths and requirements, by actively seeking out female-focused employment initiatives and promoting the benefits of employing female veterans.”
Claire Gratton served for 22 years in the RAF and sought RFEA’s support in helping find secure employment. She says: “My Advisor has helped me rediscover my worth again professionally. I felt at ease immediately and our first contact phone call lasted for over an hour. By the end of the call I was in no doubt I had made the right choice by enquiring about the Military Women Programme. My Advisor has the ability to connect with you in a way no pure civvy advisor ever could, part big sister, part friend, part comrade, she will help you see your value and give you the mentorship to realise your skill set. I thoroughly recommend RFEA to any ex-Servicewoman and hope this programme grows and continues to help out the female veteran.”
Women were more likely to cite lack of confidence (17% compared with 12%) and family commitments (10% versus 6%) as barriers to career progression than men. https://www.cipd.co.uk/Images/over-skilled-and-underused-investigating-the-untapped-potential-of-uk-skills_tcm18-48001.pdf