The Forces Employment Charity was formed from two of the UK’s largest and most respected military charities; RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity (RFEA) and Officers’ Association (OA). Founded in 1885 and 1920 respectively, we came together in May 2022 to begin an exciting new chapter for ex-Forces employment support.
Upon its foundation, RFEA was called 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, RFEA emphasised the need to prepare Armed Forces personnel for civilian employment while they were in service; an ethos and goal upheld today.
Similarly, the OA was founded by Earl Haig, Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty and Air Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard with the aim “to go to the root of the problem and solve it, not by continual payments to men who are out of work but by finding work for them.” Earl Haig asked government, local authorities and private employers for their “active assistance to open the gates of useful employment to these men to whose past exertions we owe our liberties if not our lives”, assisting 24,221 cases in 1921.
The aftermath of World War II put increasing demand on both charities, with a new generation of those deserving support on return to civilian life. In 1935, the importance of RFEA’s work was recognised by the Ministry of Labour who developed a scheme to secure the greatest amount of employment possible for ex-Regulars. By 1964, RFEA occupied 48 branches throughout the country, receiving 14,716 registrations and placing 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.
RFEA supported 21,698 Service leavers, veterans and family members in 2021, working with over 8,000 employers and listing 97,826 job vacancies from companies looking to hire those with military experience. In the same year the OA helped 5,000 officers to move into fulfilling civilian roles through its executive career consultations, exclusive jobs board and tailored events.
In January 2022, we announced our intention to combine the OA’s employment services with those of RFEA to create a new, single charity with a dedicated focus on employment beyond the services for the Armed Forces community.
The Forces Employment Charity was established in May 2022, with a mission to enable individuals to secure employment and progress to roles at every level to ensure they achieve their potential beyond military service.
Our existing programmes continue to make an impact across the nations and regions of the UK, including our work with the Career Transition Partnership, delivered at the end of military service, and our Ex-Forces Programme to support veterans into employment through life. We also continue our specialist programmes to support veterans with specific needs, including; Project Nova to support veterans in the criminal justice system, TechVets, and the Families and Military Women Programmes.
We are enhancing these programmes with the addition of the Executive Employment team to support the Armed Forces community at every level of employment. Through partnerships with Walking With the Wounded, the Call of Duty Endowment, Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund and more, Forces Employment Charity now delivers an unrivalled range of programmes and practical support.