Our story

Founded in 1885 and operating across the UK, we have the specialist knowledge and understanding to bridge the gap between military life and civilian employment.


RFEA is one of the oldest military charities continuously in existence and has supported Service Leavers and Veterans into employment for over 130 years. Founded on the 4th February 1885, its original name was The National Association for Employment of Reserve and Discharged Soldiers. The Association emphasised the need to prepare Armed Forces personnel for civil employment while they were in service.

Twentieth Century

In 1935, the importance of the Association’s work was recognised by the Ministry of Labour who developed a scheme to secure the greatest amount of employment possible for ex-regulars.  In the 1930’s the charity became known as the Regular Forces Employment Association (RFEA). In 1964, with 48 branches throughout the country, RFEA received 14,716 registrations and placed 11,922 into jobs. In 1997 the MOD established the Career Transition Partnership Contract (CTP) to deliver resettlement to Service Leavers RFEA was appointed  to deliver employment services within the CTP.

Year 2000 and Beyond

In April 2005, RFEA continued to deliver this role within the CTP. For this contract, RFEA partnered with the Officers’ Association under the Joint Employment Partnership. From 2005 to 2015 RFEA extended its work beyond the CTP to provide resettlement to Wounded Injured and Sick Service Leavers as part of the Recovery Careers Service (RCS) and established the Future Horizons Programme for Early Service Leavers who, at that date, were not entitled to resettlement through the CTP.

On 1st October 2015 the next CTP Contract started with an expanded scope that now includes resettlement pathways for Wounded Injured and Sick and Early Service Leavers. RFEA continues to provide the employment service within the contract and deliver these resettlement pathways.

At the same time RFEA launched a separate programme to support Veterans through life: the Ex Forces Programme.  We also deliver Partnership Programmes with Walking With the Wounded, Help for Heroes, The RAF Benevolent Fund and The Shaw Trust.