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.

Supporting veterans for over 137 years, RFEA is one of the oldest military charities continuously in existence. Our original name was The National Association for Employment of Reserve and Discharged Soldiers, before becoming known as the Regular Forces Employment Association (RFEA) in 1967. From the very beginning, we have emphasised the need to prepare Armed Forces personnel for civilian employment while they were in service, an ethos and goal we still have.

In 1935, the importance of our work was recognised by the Ministry of Labour who developed a scheme to secure the greatest amount of employment possible for ex-regulars. We continued to grow and support an ever-increasing number of Service Leavers. In 1964, we had 48 branches throughout the country, RFEA received 14,716 registrations and placed 11,922 into jobs.

In 1998 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, an appointment that still continues today.

In 2021 we supported 21,698 Service leavers, veterans and family members, worked with over 8,000 employers and listed 97,826 job vacancies from companies looking to hire those with military experience.

Through partnerships with Walking With the Wounded, the Call of Duty Endowment, Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund and more, RFEA now delivers an unrivalled range of programmes and practical support.

To find out more about how we got here, explore our timeline below:

RFEA timeline from 1885 to 2021

Find out more about our history and current service offering by exploring our cause and who we’ve helped.