Next month will see our Careers in Energy 2024 event in motion and registrations are still open to join us on 28 February to explore a career in this sector! Read Ingrid Rolland’s story of when she joined Centrica on 25 September as an Offshore Operations Supervisor, as a result of attending a Forces Employment Charity (FEC) event last year.

Where did you hear about Centrica and what attracted you to the company?

I attended a FEC event sponsored by Centrica that was focussed on supporting women across defence who were looking for new roles. The initial presentation given by Chris O’Shea outlined not only the company’s ambitious net zero targets but also highlighted its ethos, values and support networks. I recognised a number of positive parallels between the company and defence and immediately felt that Centrica was a company that I would like to be a part of. I also attended the Centrica Sustainability workshop, which outlined the future of the 47/3B offshore gas storage platform and the plans for transitioning to hydrogen storage. I found the prospect of working offshore to be really exciting and it felt like exactly the right job for me.

Describe your current role with Centrica

I am training to be an Offshore Operations Supervisor and from February, I will be working on the two weeks on, three off shift system on the platform. Travel to the platform is by helicopter and accommodation is in 2-person rooms. I will be overseeing the Operations Technicians who ensure that the day-to-day running of the operation is carried out safely and in line with our business standards. Since I started, I have been fully supported in both attending numerous courses to gain mandatory industry standard qualifications and also with on-the-job training at the onshore gas processing terminal to gain operational experience.

How easy is it to balance your ongoing Reservist commitments with your new role at Centrica?

My new employers have been supportive allowing me to be able to attend all Army Reserve training that I have needed to do. The process to record my time out of work is simple, and days are taken as paid leave. I feel that my service is valued by the company and is proactively facilitated by my line manager.

What advice would you give someone from the Armed Forces community who is interested in exploring careers at Centrica?

The breadth of roles across the Centrica Group is vast and there will be something here for everyone. The Ex-Forces Pathway is a great initiative that actively engages with defence as there is a genuine interest from within the company to harness the skills and experience of military personnel and to offer them a valued career. I have found the transition to my new role to be exceptionally rewarding, feeling welcome from day one, and I have no regrets about the move. Additionally, I have been able to participate wider than my core role (eg taking part in the volunteering initiative, utilising the health and fitness wellbeing facilities and supporting a STEM activity for local primary schools).

If you are interested in a career in the energy industry, I absolutely recommend Centrica to you.

Careers in Energy

Everyone from the Armed Forces community can attend Careers in Energy – Service leavers, reservists, veterans and military family members. Register online today!

We are excited to be delivering this event in partnership with Jacobs and welcoming Centrica as our Gold employer.

See also: Women into Employment 2024 – 26 March 2024, UBS London

 

Note: The events page URL refers to the Officers Association (OA) and this is due to when RFEA and the OA combined to become the Forces Employment Charity. Our data storage is a legacy package that will be updated as our systems are evolved. You can read more about our story online. 

Want to explore next steps in your career during 2024? Are you a Service leaver, veteran, partner/spouse or an older son/daughter? Register today to join our flagship event – Women into Employment 2024 (WIE24)!

  • Tuesday 26 March
  • UBS London
  • From 10:00-18:00

Register online today to attend!

What’s different for WIE24 

As the Forces Employment Charity (FEC) moves the conversation forward for 2024, the emphasis for the day will be on channelling your superpower, knowing your worth and something that’s common for many… overcoming imposter syndrome. 

We are widening the scope of sectors we are engaging with! Our expert panellists will explore employment opportunities in the following sectors:

  • sustainability/social impact
  • creative industries
  • government and the third sector
  • self-employment

Your top five reasons to join WIE24 

  1. Join an interactive session on how to channel your superpower and advance on your career pathway 
  2. Gather top tips from our industry spotlight speakers, hearing directly from the HR teams to gain insight and advice on how to maximise your application 
  3. Engage in some inspiring conversations in breakout sessions – choose two sessions out of four with experts in their field as our panellists 
  4. Meet up to 20 companies and their talent teams during the afternoon in the marketplace and hear about different opportunities and pathways available 
  5. Update your professional headshot for your LinkedIn account, a complimentary offer for you to take away with you by our professional photographer, Terry Benson 

Ingrid Rolland, a Reservist in the British Army attended our 2023 event: 

“If I’d missed that opportunity (to join WIE23) I don’t think I’d be where I am today. It’s a really, really great event. The number of companies you managed to pull together for that specific event, targeted at all levels… using Centrica as an example here – whether you wanted to be a smart gas engineer through to a CEO, there was a range of opportunities there — and not just targeted at women leaving the Armed Forces. As a reservist, it was great for me and I know you were targeting partners/military spouses and their older sons and daughters too so it ticked all the boxes and was a great event!” 

What’s in store during the morning 

In addition to the morning’s agenda of inspiring speakers, make sure you take time to meet these organisations who will be in the arrivals area. They can help you strengthen your career preparation toolkit: 

WIE24 afternoon breakout themes 

Join us in two of the afternoon breakout sessions which you select on event registration: 

  • Careers in creative industries OR 
  • Careers in sustainability/social impact 
  • Careers in government and third sector OR 
  • Careers in self-employment 

Employers at WIE24 

We are grateful to be working in partnership with UBS and we thank them for providing the amazing venue this year.  

More employers will be added shortly!

Talk to an FEC advisor 

If you would like to talk to a career advisor ahead of this event, register with us as a client and a member of the FEC team will be in touch. 

 

Note: The events page URL refers to the Officers Association (OA) and this is due to when RFEA and the OA combined to become the Forces Employment Charity. Our data storage is a legacy package that will be updated as our systems are evolved. You can read more about our story online. 

Joanne McLeod, EM3 Programme Manager (pictured right with some of the EM3 team), reflects on the successes of the EM3 Veterans and Families programme and our key takeaways as we look to the future.

In 2022, the Forces Employment Charity became the delivery partner for EM3. EM3 was a new initiative by the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, partly funded by the European Social Fund. The mission was to deliver prosperity through innovation. The aim was to empower veterans, Service leavers, their partners, and for the first time, their children by providing them with the necessary skills to excel in various sectors and industries. These sectors included digital, medical, gaming, medical science, sustainable low-carbon construction, space and satellite.

Our experienced advisors tailored services to each individual on the programme. We offered a combination of practical employment support, accredited training, corporate mentoring, and more. Our expert advisors helped clients showcase how their skills and values fit within the workforce, empowering them to stand out.

A heartfelt thank you

As the programme comes to an end, we sincerely thank all the employers, training, and education providers who supported us on this incredible journey. Collaborations ranged from the creation of the Alternative Routes into Employment Webinar series to professional mentoring. We also marked Remembrance Day in schools through our Poppy Pebbles campaign.

What do we take with us?

The EM3 Veterans and Families programme has enhanced our understanding of how to tap into the unique skillset of this community to overcome the increasing skills gap. The programme also enabled us to extend our support to young people from Forces Families. We are excited to be taking this learning forward to help more families and young people in the future.

 

If you are an employer looking to hire Service leavers, veterans, or military family members, you can get in touch here.

If you are a military veteran, partner, spouse, young person or family member, we can still support you. Register today.

 

The Forces Employment Charity, among other military charities, were invited to No.10 Downing Street on Monday 27 November, to join the Rt Hon Johnny Mercer, the Minister of State for Veterans’ Affairs of the UK, and Mrs Murty, the Prime Minister’s wife. The day brought everyone together to say thank you to the charities who have done so much to support veterans over this last Remembrance period.

Johnny Mercer added as part of his speech* to those present:

“I am always incredibly proud of the veteran community and how they get the balance right. The way they remember the families who are obviously not with us anymore. I know it means a hell of a lot to those families and a huge thank you to you for that as well. Your commitment to this nation is unmatched. The sacrifice that really those of us who haven’t been injured or bereaved by conflicts will never really understand the scale of that sacrifice and we want to do events like this to try and get over to you the Prime Minister’s gratitude and the nation’s gratitude for everything you’ve done over the years.”

Forces Employment Charity Chief Executive, Alistair Halliday reflected through his post on LinkedIn:

“It was very special being at No.10 for this event celebrating military charities and truly amazing to be among some inspiring veterans we have supported and who are now in fabulous roles with great employers. It really is wonderful to celebrate the military talent from all parts of the military community.”

 

To find out more about the work of the Forces Employment Charity, join our mailing list today.

 

*Source: X/Twitter

We are pleased to announce the launch of our brand-new podcast, which went live on Friday, 24 November…Forces Employment Charity: The Podcast. Cathrine Slaatta presents this inaugural episode titled, ‘Keeping motivated on the job hunt’ and features its CEO, Alistair Halliday and Veterans Support Employment Manager, Kevin Grist. 

The podcast explores incredible stories, insights, and resources that empower Service leavers, veterans, reservists and their families in their quest for meaningful careers and fulfilling lives. Throughout the series, we emphasise the importance of resilience, camaraderie, and the indomitable spirit that defines our military community. 

The first episode investigates the hurdles Service leavers and veterans encounter in their job search, exchanging personal stories and motivational strategies. Our conversation delves into harnessing the distinctive strengths of veterans and emphasising the importance of a support system and resilience.  

Alistair Halliday highlighted three key aspects in interviews:  

What are people after in an interview? Firstly, can you do the job? Secondly, do you want the job? And third, will you fit in? Understanding the culture and environment of the organisation you are looking to go into is very important. For employers, it is a different message. This is an amazing talent pool of individuals; you don’t have to feel sorry for them. It is not about welfare or corporate social responsibility; it is just good business, and it is good for the bottom line. If you have Service leavers and veterans come into your organisation, they are going to show all these skills, be resilient, be great team players, and they are going to deliver when you need it or when you least expect it.” 

Forces Employment Charity: The Podcast serves as an extended avenue of support. We strive to offer steadfast assistance by connecting veterans and military families with job opportunities and delivering invaluable training and resources. Join us as we celebrate stories of strength, success, and service!

Consider supporting the podcast by subscribing to the Forces Employment Charity’s YouTube channel. 

Get involved

Participate in discussions and explore a treasure trove of resources within your reach: Register for our newsletter today.

In December, Carols will be sung when the City Veterans CIC hosts its Christmas Carol Service, and the Forces Employment Charity is delighted to be part of this festive occasion as their partner. The service will be taking place on 13 December at the Royal Military Chapel (The Guards’ Chapel) and will be in support of Scotty’s Little Soldiers, who work to ensure long-term support for bereaved military children.

Our work with City Veterans CIC

We are proud to work alongside the City Veterans, as a key partner, whose work aligns closely with the objectives and aims of the Forces Employment Charity. We collaborate to work with the veteran community and employers across the financial and professional services to promote the benefits of employing veterans. Service leavers are also signposted to employment opportunities across the City and support the ongoing collaboration between the military community and organisations.

Scotty’s Little Soldiers

Also, the added arm of City Veterans CIC includes fundraising and supporting many different charities, which very much follows the military ethos of helping others and giving back to the community. This year’s chosen charity for the Carol Service is Scotty’s Little Soldiers to remember those who served and who are sadly no longer with us; particularly poignant for the families left behind at this special time of the year.

About the Forces Employment Charity

The FEC employs 186 staff delivering direct support to help our clients achieve their full potential through 14 different programmes. We provide life-long, life-changing support, jobs, networking and training opportunities to Service leavers, veterans, reservists and military families (including those bereaved) – regardless of circumstances, rank, length of service or reason for leaving. The last 12 months have seen us reaching approximately 25,000 clients; 598 of those being military spouses/partners (and continuing to rise).

We also work in partnership with other organisations and employers who, like us, respect and value the unique qualities and abilities of all those in the Armed Forces community. As such, we have linked with over 9,000 employers, sharing a whopping 115,012 job opportunities.

After our recent Careers in Professional Services event in September 2023, we received feedback on social media:

“A fantastic day. I was blown away by the information I received throughout the day and having the ability to meet and make contacts with people from the Big 4 was invaluable. Also meeting the FEC team and chatting with them, realising that not only can you help me, but you can also help my kids as they transition out of Uni life. Great day all round and thank you.”

Thank you

City Veterans are hugely grateful to the supporters and sponsors of the Carol Service: St James’s Place, Citi, J&B Wines, Hannam & Partners, Partners Group, Saab and the officers and soldiers at Wellington Barracks. Unfortunately as the event is held on MOD property, it is by invitation only. If you are interested in being placed on the waiting list or joining us next year, please get in touch with the team at City Veterans on [email protected]

See also: sign up to our Forces Employment Charity newsletter

Rewarding veterans in business, fitness, sport, and the wider community

 

The Forces Employment Charity is partnering with and sponsoring the Northern Ireland Veterans Awards 2023!

Northern Ireland boasts a remarkable community of highly accomplished Armed Forces veterans who have transitioned successfully from military to civilian life. These awards are a testament to their outstanding achievements in various fields and serve as beacons of inspiration for future service leavers.

Alana Surgenor, Regional Employment Advisor for the Ex-Forces Employment Programme, said: “Forces Employment Charity takes pride in supporting ex-forces personnel in Northern Ireland to help them understand, showcase and sell the amazing skills that come from having a service background. The veterans from Northern Ireland have always been and continue to be resilient and tenacious with a strong work ethic, that would no doubt, bring a lot to any employer. Forces Employment Charity is proud to sponsor this year’s Northern Ireland Veterans Awards after the success of the first one last year. It is a wonderful opportunity to thank the hardworking and helpful individuals who continue to show how important veterans are within the community of Northern Ireland.”

Individuals of any nationality can apply, provided they are based and operate in Northern Ireland.

If you believe a business, individual, or client deserves recognition for their accomplishments, we encourage you to nominate them for the Northern Ireland Veterans Awards!

We are pleased to announce the launch of our brand-new online community, MyForcesEmployment. This excellent resource provides a collaborative space for our clients to support each other, share their learnings, engage with one another, and access support above and beyond finding that next job. A one-stop shop, MyForcesEmployment allows us to serve our clients better, meeting them where they are.

Whether a Service leaver, veteran, reservist, or family member, MyForcesEmployment offers an extended arm of support for those seeking camaraderie, valuable information, and specific services tailored to their unique needs.

 

What do clients get access to?

MyForcesEmployment hosts chat groups, exclusive employment articles, extra resources and links out to a wide variety of charity partners.
Chat groups allow our clients to connect with like-minded individuals. Extending across all those we help, MyForcesEmployment provides an open space for all to communicate with their community, those like them, those with differing experiences, and those who have been where they have been.

As always, we strive to give honest, expert advice. Our community provides another avenue for us to support those transitioning and looking to upskill their civilian career. Clients can dive into thought-provoking articles, engaging discussions, and unique resources. With insights from our career consultants and advisors, we can share the wealth of knowledge and ensure no client misses out on our staff’s unique insights, continuing to empower clients throughout their working lives.

 

A brand-new mentoring hub

MyForcesEmployment also houses our new online mentoring hub. A dedicated platform created to empower our clients as they take the next step in their careers.

Mentoring is a valuable resource we have been pleased to offer to a select group of our clients over the last few years, with great success. Our new online hub allows us to expand this support across the charity, reaching all our clients and attracting more mentors from across a broad mix of sectors to offer their support to the military community.

Transitioning from military to civilian life presents unique challenges. Our mentors understand our clients’ Service careers and can assist in translating skills and experiences into marketable assets, ensuring their mentees thrive in the civilian workforce.

Mentoring is about more than finding the next role. By offering an online mentoring hub, we can provide our clients with a helping hand to build the self-assurance they need to excel. Mentors are vital in empowering our clients to reach their full potential.

Most importantly, mentoring is not just about giving back. Both our clients and mentors have routinely forged valuable connections and grown together.

Former mentor Katherine Jones, Social Value Advisor at Wates Residential, shares her experience with the Forces Employment Charity:

“The value of mentoring programmes is immeasurable and should be encouraged across all industries and sectors. Industry professionals must be able to impart their knowledge, opinions and expertise where possible to ensure that, as a community, we are all growing, sharing and learning. I take part in mentoring programmes to help develop others, explore routes and pathways, problem solve and act as a sounding, impartial and confidential board to an individual. I feel a great sense of pride being a mentor and strive to utilise the opportunity to learn from others and extend my own knowledge and understanding”.

 

Get involved

Join the conversation and discover a wealth of valuable resources at your fingertips. Register today.

Are you a professional individual with time to give back? We invite you to become a mentor.

We’re delighted to announce that we’re helping record-breaking numbers of veterans, Service leavers and reservists to find civilian career success.

Last year almost 22,000 clients received expert support and guidance from us, spanning services such as CV advice, networking opportunities, job-seeking support, guidance with applications and much more.

The support we offer can be life-changing. Christopher McFerran served for 12 years in the Royal Air Force and sought help from us when he feared his job was at risk.

He said: “I had started a new job just as the first Covid-19 lockdown came into force and, although I thought I had a good career ahead of me, it quickly became apparent that my company was planning on making big changes. I sought the help of the Forces Employment Charity, as the Employment Advisors I have been assigned to over the years have been fantastic. They have always provided great support and updated me with current and relevant vacancies in my field of expertise and within my geographic area. They have also been great at keeping in contact, even if it was just to see how I was getting on and if I needed any support. They are a fantastic team to have on your side! My new role has made me more relaxed, which my family have noticed – big time. I now have a great opportunity to progress.”

Christopher, like thousands of others, benefitted from our flagship Ex-Forces Employment Programme. It provides veterans with career advice and offers access to thousands of job opportunities from employers who value the skills and attributes that ex-Forces bring to the civilian workforce.

The programme is only made possible thanks to generous funding from partners, such as the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. The charity has recently committed to further funding for the programme, which will ensure many more thousands of members of the RAF community, and beyond, will continue to receive the support they need.

Forces Employment Charity’s Chief Executive, Alistair Halliday, said: “The Ex-Forces Programme is one of our longest-standing initiatives, and it continues to go from strength to strength. We are there to ensure that all members of the Forces community are provided with the support they need to find career success in the civilian world – whatever stage of their career they may be at. We are immensely grateful to the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund for their continued support, to enable us to continue our life-changing work for so many who have served in the Royal Air Force.”

Irene Greenwood, RAF Station and External Grants Manager, said: “Partnership working is an essential part of the Fund’s welfare support to the RAF Family, allowing us to get the expert help to the people who need it. The work that the Forces Employment Charity undertakes is crucial and we are thrilled to be able to contribute, helping to meet the changing needs of the entire RAF Family.”

This year, the Forces Employment Charity is marking Remembrance Day by inviting students to take part in our #PoppyPebbles23 project. 2023 marks the third year we’ve run this popular campaign, with previous participants including Garway Primary School in Herefordshire, singer-songwriter Sophie Ellis-Bextor and blogger Sophie Bradbury-Cox.

The project encourages students to learn about the importance of Remembrance, why the occasion is honoured every year, learn about war memorials and identify what they can do in their local community to mark Remembrance Day.

The pack includes lesson ideas and discussion topics to inspire students to think about their local area and the people around them. Also included in the pack are poems, a list of recommended readings for students, worksheets and activity plans to do in class and at home.

The main activity in the pack is Paint a Poppy. Students are asked to create a design to be painted onto a pebble or use one of the designs included. Once designed the Poppy Pebbles can be painted and put on a war memorial in the local area or used in a class picture!

We want to see everyone’s Poppy Pebbles and there are multiple ways they can be shared with us:
• tweet using the hashtag #PoppyPebbles23
• email the photos to [email protected]

 

If you would like a copy of our pack, please fill out the form below:

 

 

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn and keep your eyes peeled for your Poppy Pebble!

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