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

This Green Careers Week (6-10th November 2023) we are spotlighting Centrica, who are leading the way in hiring, training and promoting sustainable roles, across the Armed Forces community through the Ex-Forces Pathway. Read on to learn how.


As a FTSE 100 Energy Services and Solutions company, Centrica wants to create a more inclusive and sustainable future that supports our people, communities, and our customers, uniting all towards a common purpose. And for our planet, we have bold goals to fight climate change, lead the UK’s drive towards Net Zero and kickstart the hydrogen economy. Whilst these ambitions provide great opportunities for us all, we know they’ll also be challenging. We’ll need to create thousands of high-quality, inclusive, green jobs to deliver our purpose and allow society to live sustainably, simply, and affordably.

To do this, it’s crucial we engage with and tap into diversity of experience, a wide range of talent and inspirational leadership; Centrica and its Ex-Forces Pathway knows all of this exists in spades right across the Armed Forces community. That’s why we set up our Forces Pathway in April 2022, with the initial aim of hiring a Net Zero Battalion. We want to engage and attract individuals from right across the Armed Forces community; Service Leavers, Veterans, Reservists, Military Spouses and Partners – junior to senior hire. We know the market for recruiting ex-forces has become increasingly competitive, and Centrica wants to use our extensive heritage of delivering world-class training alongside dedicated support to bring on board the talent required to deliver our Net Zero plans. So far, we’ve hired over 210 talented individuals from the Armed Forces community, with roles ranging from Smart Energy Apprentice, Offshore Supervisor, Project Manager, Heating Sales Advisor, newly qualified Gas Engineer, to Regional Director British Gas Zero. We’re also a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant and this year, we heard our application for the 2023 Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award has been successful, which we’re delighted about.

Our Forces Pathway directly supports Centrica’s People and Planet goals. As an Energy company we know we have a huge opportunity to tap into the talent of underrepresented groups to help us deliver a greener and more inclusive future. For example, our Forces Pathway is supporting the hiring of apprentices, while removing roadblocks for under-represented groups. We want to play our part in creating engaged teams within Centrica that reflect the full diversity of the communities our business serves; and if we can support every colleague to be themselves, this ultimately benefits our customers and communities.

Centrica Forces Pathway also works with military charities that specialise in supporting the transition to life after service, as well as service and regimental associations and ex-forces networks. Indeed, we were thrilled to be the Headline Sponsor of Forces Employment Charity’s annual Women into Employment event this year!

Via our continued partnership with organisations like the Forces Employment Charity, Centrica will continue to shine a light on the Armed Forces community, celebrating and championing their vast and varied talents – now and in the future.

“As a Veteran in Centrica, I feel valued, empowered, and inspired. I have found my new home and I couldn’t be happier.”

Claire Charlesworth, ex-Royal Logistics Officer now a Net Zero Commercial Analyst

Mentoring at the Forces Employment Charity

Here at the Forces Employment Charity we have created a mentoring programme that has transformed lives for the better. This National Mentoring Day we are sharing feedback from our mentors and mentees.

What is mentoring?

Mentoring is a collaborative relationship between two people, the purpose of which is to support the growth and career development of a mentee. By providing mentees a formal or informal space to talk through aspirations mentoring can dramatically transform career trajectories. Through confidence-building exercises, goal-setting and feedback, the mentor/mentee relationship can create a path to a brighter future.

Mentee feedback

For me a mentor is someone who selflessly gives up their time, to share their knowledge and expertise in order to empower others. My Forces Employment Mentor has done that for me, helping me as I continuously work towards being the best version of myself.


I would highly recommend this mentoring programme to all veterans. Not only did I gain invaluable experience and support from my mentor, transferring my military skills into civilian terminology for my CV, Sarah also helped me to realise my full potential and boost my confidence. Through her sound advice for my interview and top tips, I managed to secure my dream job!


I was made redundant at the start of the pandemic and after 6 months, was really despondent about the lack of reply from applications for jobs. RFEA gave me some fresh wind in my sails and helped focus me in how to utilise my skills to get employed. The mentoring service was outstanding, matching a similar personality to me as a mentor to use as a sounding board and mentor until I found a role that suited me.


Had a fantastic experience with my mentor in getting different perspectives on the job market and, most valuable of all, great tips and advice on networking through Linked-in. Realising that Linked-in could be used in such an effective way was an eye-opener.


The mentoring programme has been fulfilling and successful. Since getting on the programme I have experienced higher job satisfaction and I consider it more meaningful. I have benefitted from growing my personal network outside my colleagues. My mentor has helped me achieve my career goals so I would strongly recommend to any ex-servicemen or women to get on the programme.


I found the Forces Employment Charity mentoring programme to be very helpful as it gave me access to an ‘industry insider’ to be able to ask questions and bounce ideas off of. The job searching and interview advice I received was invaluable and I have recently received a job offer from a large FinTech company as a result. I would definitely recommend the program to others.


I would thoroughly recommend signing up for a mentor. My mentor Deano has a wealth of experience from civi street. He has been a mentor multiple times before and knows how to make best use of the sessions, with a clear goal for each call. He gave useful suggestions to tweak my CV and we conducted interview rehearsals where he provided valuable instruction. Having been unemployed for 3 months, his guidance paid dividends far more quickly than I was expecting. Many thanks!


I was made redundant at the start of the pandemic and after 6 months, was really despondent about the lack of reply from applications for jobs. RFEA gave me some fresh wind in my sails and helped focus me in how to utilise my skills to get employed. The mentoring service was outstanding, matching a similar personality to me as a mentor to use as a sounding board and mentor until I found a role that suited me.


It has helped build my confidence with identifying the skills I actual have and how to tailor same with the advertised roles. I have also received pointers on how to prepare for interviews for specific jobs. My Mentor has had an open-door policy which enables me to benefit from guidance as soon as an opportunity is available for which I intend to apply.


Mentor feedback

I absolutely love being a part of the veteran mentoring programme, the relationships that are created through the programme are amazing and the best part is hearing all the incredible stories of how this has positively impacted veterans.

Sophie Endean – Salesforce mentor 

Mentoring with Forces Employment is a very rewarding experience. It has provided me with the opportunity to meet some amazing veterans who have taught me a lot. With Forces Employment I have had the chance to help others achieve their goals and overcome fears, which I find to be a very special feeling. I am grateful to all of my mentees for allowing me to support them and for their commitment to working together.

Elisa Buckley – Zendesk mentor

The opportunity to support, guide and advise mentees through the Forces Employment Charity mentoring programme is one I am extremely proud to be a part of and continue my involvement with.

Rupert – Seeking out Solutions

The extraordinary thing about being a mentor is understanding that it is a two way thing. I love that I can share my experience and thoughts with others knowing that what we chat about is helping them. However, I am constantly delighted in what my mentees teach me. It’s so uplifting to listen and learn from others. So the reason why I love mentoring in the Salesforce Military Programme is that I know I can help others, but am excited to know that they help me too.

Deano – Salesforce mentor 

I’m now working with my second mentee through Forces Employment Charity via the Salesforce Military programme. Honestly think I get more out of it than my mentees do! Forces Employment Charity works with people who have left the Armed Forces, but are struggling to find work for various reasons. Although the stories from my mentees have been pretty harrowing (I confess to having tears pouring down my face when one of my mentees told me their story) – the two lovely people I have been working with are just awesome. Their strength of character, willingness to push themselves into new situations, and general organization skills have made it pretty easy, honestly, to help them find work. My first mentee was delighted to find work within a month of us starting out as a team. We still keep in touch to discuss any issues relating to working life. My second mentee is job hunting but is also working on extending her community support. And building her self-confidence. Their ability to overcome difficult situations with just a bit of guidance from me has boosted their confidence and put a big smile on my face every time I speak with them.

Lea Thompson, Salesforce Mentor 

The drive, determination to succeed and commitment shown by the mentees I’ve had the pleasure of working with, gives me the motivation to come back over and over again. I love the way our conversations often start out with a specific focus, (i.e. can you help me rewrite my CV,) and end up going deeper on personal development. It’s humbling how veterans hold my views in high regard and tell me how much value they place on our time together.

Ryan Soper-Powell – Zendesk

In need of support?

If you are a Service leaver, veteran, reservist, or family member register with us to receive free employment support, including mentoring, at any stage in your career.

Find out how Kearney became Army veteran, Isabella Baldwin’s next career stop in management consultancy! Read Isabella’s story with a view to attending its next Military Leavers Recruitment event from 6.00-8.30 pm on 5 October in London.

I’ve always been an all-or-nothing kind of person. An Army career was everything I wanted, but one bad tumble down a ski slope ruined my career plans for good. Instead, I fought my way into the Army Reserves, exploiting every medical loophole possible and commissioned into the infantry. I’d found my people. I loved my work. I loved leading soldiers. I even loved mission planning. The final nail in the coffin of my Regular transfer came in the winter of 2021 and, for the first time in my life, I came up against a wall I couldn’t smash through on determination alone.

So what next?

What do you do when you’ve pinned everything on a career that, through reasons beyond your control, is barred to you? Reconciling myself to the fact that perhaps it wasn’t such a bad thing – with deployment opportunities winding down and slim chances of getting my boots dusty – I began looking for a new challenge.

A few people I’d worked with in my civilian job recommended I investigate management consulting. Initial research looked promising – long hours, sure. But when you’re on the right team, who cares? I know one of the things I enjoyed most about service was working alongside people who shared the same level of ambition, team spirit and will to win. Management consulting promised exactly that. I swiftly realised that getting your foot in the door was tough without being a recent graduate or clutching an MBA, but I persevered with coffee dates and registered with Forces Employment.

Serendipitously, the Kearney event landed in my inbox right when I was comparing business schools. I went along to the event and was struck by the team – how closely knit they were. How they were passionate about the work. I was intrigued by the strategic enormity of the project they were working on and I felt that same gut feeling of excitement I had almost a decade earlier as a high-schooler applying to join the Army.

Preparation for interview

I felt happy shock at reading my invitation to interview email. My experience with Kearney as an applicant was excellent from the get-go. I was given a crash course in case interview prep (which I thoroughly enjoyed) and buddied up with a fellow applicant. I knew I had found the right career, but more importantly, I knew I wanted it to be with Kearney.

Join Kearney’s next event on 5 October 2023

Kearney Middle East and Africa (MEA) are back in London to recruit more high-quality candidates for Associate (post-MBA candidates) and Senior Business Analyst (pre-MBA) roles with their Aerospace, Defence and Security Practice based in Dubai.

Register today for the Military Leavers Recruitment event 

  • When: Thursday 5 October 2023 from 6.00 – 8.30  pm
  • Where: The Cavalry and Guards’ Club, London

About Kearney

Kearney is a top global management consulting firm of 3,600 people, based in 40 countries around the world. We serve more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500 with curiosity, boldness, generosity, solidarity, passion, and genuine commitment to client success. In the middle east we operate a unique collaborative model that links consultant and project teams to full-time security and defence advisors, with a broader global network of subject matter experts providing insights from leading countries. We work with all the major GCC defence players as their trusted advisers, across the defence and security spectrum from strategy and policy through operations to enablers.

We are less than one week away from Careers in Professional Services, military veteran, Emma Jude talks to us about what life is like for her to work for PwC — one of the companies that sit within what’s known as the ‘Big 4’. You will meet all four companies and others if you are registered to attend this year’s event on 27 September 2023.

Emma is a senior manager within the Defence and Home Affairs Enterprise Transformation Consulting team at PwC. She is the day-to-day lead on a variety of consulting projects, helping Defence clients to transform aspects of their organisation. While her projects are very varied, she often supports teams who are delivering programme and change management services.

What was your background before joining PwC?

I left the British Army in 2021 after 11 years of service. I left as a Major, having just completed sub-unit command with 1st Military Working Dog Regiment. My original technical trade in the Army was a Veterinary Officer, however I spent most of my time in Staff and Command (rather than clinical) roles.

What made you consider a career in professional services?

I loved problem-solving and wanted to work broadly across Defence and other government sectors.

Why did you choose PwC specifically?

I was able to speak to a lot of individuals at PwC before I joined. I was really impressed with how collegiate, passionate and knowledgeable PwC-ers were. It was definitely the people and purpose of the organisation that made me want to work here after leaving the Forces – and I haven’t been disappointed. I love working here!

How do you feel your skills from the Armed Forces community converted across to your role?

There were so many ‘soft’ skills I had developed in the Army that helped me transition into my role in PwC. For instance, the leadership and management training I was given by the Army, and the experience I had in leading teams was invaluable. My experiences of moving roles regularly in the Army and having to quickly get to grips with new ‘briefs’ also enabled me to be comfortable with uncertainty and new situations. The way we are trained to break problems down in the Army, not least through our operational estimate process, has also been really helpful.

What are your positives to the role and working for your employer?

I love the variety of my work within PwC. I feel energised by working with motivated teams and clients who have a strong purpose in what they want to deliver. PwC has allowed me to complete a wide range of both internal and external training programmes, which has helped me to rapidly develop as a consultant.

Did you experience any challenges?

I still miss the Army culture and people, but by working in Defence consulting I am able to work with serving individuals and MOD civil servants, which is great. It also took a bit of adjustment to go from owning problems to advising on them. I have overcome this by challenging myself to really think about where I can add most value to clients based on my skills and experience.

What tips would you share with anyone considering a role within the Big 4

Network, network, network. This will ensure you understand what the role(s) you are looking at entail (including travel requirements etc), and will help you pick up the terminology you need to transfer your skills and experience into ‘civvy speak’.

Back yourself! The people we are, and the situations we have been exposed to in the Forces, allows us to adapt and be successful in a variety of business environments.

Would you welcome a conversation with an employment advisor?

Contact us at the Forces Employment Charity where a member of the team will be in touch with you.

In the lead-up to one of our flagship events, Careers in Professional Services, military veteran, Sidharth (Sid) Nair talks to us about what life is like for him to work for PwC — one of the companies that sit within what’s known as the ‘Big 4’. You will meet all four companies and others if you are registered to attend this year’s event on 27 September 2023.

Sid is currently part of the Cyber Risk Advisory team at PwC. His role is about collaborating with client organisations to assess their cybersecurity risks and maturity levels. He does this by identifying potential threats and vulnerabilities and then suggesting specific cybersecurity controls to help manage these risks effectively.

What was your background before joining PwC?

I started my career with an exhilarating seven-year stint as a Combat Helicopter Pilot in the Indian Air Force. My entry into the cybersecurity world was through an Indian startup that focuses on managed cybersecurity services. To further enrich my skill set, I pursued an MBA at the University of Glasgow in 2022. All these experiences converged and led me to this exciting juncture at PwC.

What made you consider a career in professional services?

Transitioning from the Indian Air Force brought me to a crossroads where I wanted to leverage my hard-earned skills and training in a new domain. After gathering insights from industry experts and delving into research, cyber risk emerged as a promising arena. The dynamic landscape of consulting, with its diverse challenges, strongly resonated with my curiosity and eagerness to continuously evolve.

Why did you choose PwC specifically?

My connection with PwC ignited during my MBA dissertation, which focused on cybersecurity. While reaching out for research interviews, one of the first and foremost positive responses I received was from a PwC director who leads a key cybersecurity proposition. His prompt response and further interactions illuminated the open and inclusive culture at PwC. It felt like a place where I could not only grow but thrive.

How do you feel your skills from the Armed Forces community converted across to your role?

Interestingly, the experiences I have gained in the Armed Forces have seamlessly transitioned into my current role in cyber risk. Although the context shifted from physical and operational risks to cyber risks, the fundamental principles of tiered defence remained consistent. Identifying threats, understanding vulnerabilities, managing risks, and building robust defences—all these aspects provided a solid foundation for this exciting journey.

What are your positives to the role and working for your employer?

On a personal note, a profound sense of purpose drives me in my professional journey. While my prior role as a military pilot was deeply fulfilling, cybersecurity consulting now offers me a clear sense of purpose and ample avenues for growth. Even in my relatively short time here at PwC, I’ve encountered unwavering support and guidance from experienced colleagues and peers. Their recognition of my diverse skillsets and experiences has been incredibly encouraging.

Did you experience any challenges?

Cybersecurity is a unique domain with its technical intricacies perfectly complementing the non-technical facets, wherein collaborating with colleagues who’ve been deeply rooted in this domain since the start of their careers can occasionally seem overwhelming. However, with clear goals, a thirst for knowledge, and a supportive network of colleagues invested in my growth, I am managing to navigate these hurdles.

What tips would you share with anyone considering a role within the Big 4

My general advice would be to research deeply to develop a clear idea of your future course. While military backgrounds hold weight, the real essence lies in aligning your military experiences with the role you’re aiming for. Tailoring your knowledge, experience, and skill sets to match the job description showcases your suitability and enables you to be clear and concise in your job interviews.

As a veteran who transitioned to a thriving sector and then onto a different country, I want to underline the potential within military individuals and say that nothing is beyond us.

I’d like to wish you all fair winds and blue skies – and good luck for a rewarding career ahead.

Would you welcome a conversation with an employment advisor?

Contact us at the Forces Employment Charity where a member of the team will be in touch with you.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work in the professional services sector within one of the Big 4? September sees the Forces Employment Charity (FEC) hold one of its flagship events, Careers in Professional Services at PwC’s offices on the London Embankment on Wednesday 27 September 2023. We spoke to Sarah Eble to find out what it’s like to work for PwC as a military spouse.

Sarah is a manager within the personal tax compliance team and is responsible for preparing tax returns for high-net-worth individuals and trusts. She also provides tax advice for her clients on all matters of personal tax for individuals living in the UK and offshore.

Sarah, tell us about your background

I began my career in tax after leaving university. I then left work to raise my daughters and held a variety of roles while following my husband around the UK and Europe. I was a bursar, a PA, I trained as a teacher and worked in the charitable sector among other things.

What made you consider a career in professional services and why PwC?

After trying a number of different roles I decided to go back to what I was familiar with. I started back with a smaller firm and re-took my professional qualifications to refresh my learning and ensure I was relevant. Because I had started out with one of the Big 4 I knew that was where I enjoyed working so when PwC approached me I jumped at the opportunity.

I liked what PwC stood for. A couple of my oldest friends who work for large solicitors firms said that they were a good firm to work with which helped me decide to work for them.

How do you feel your skills from the Armed Forces community converted across to your role?

As a military spouse I have learnt to be flexible, independent, resilient, organised and think on my feet. I have met a lot of people and had to walk into many rooms where I knew no one and start a conversation. All of these things have taught me skills that are essential to the work I do today.

What are the personal positives to your role and working for your employer?

PwC has a very supportive community. Their working hours are flexible, allowing you to fit your work and home life together, but in a sensible way. The work is challenging and there are always new opportunities if you want to take them.

Did you come across any challenges?

I found my self-imposed imposter syndrome was a challenge at the beginning but with time I have realised that all experience is valuable.

What tips would you share with anyone considering a role within the Big 4?

There are plenty of roles available so do some research and see which ones suit your strengths and experience. Reach out and talk to people within the organisation. Don’t close a door on yourself.

There are skills you will have learned, as part of the Armed Forces community that are invaluable and can be applied to so many different roles. Don’t sell yourself short.

Find more information on the Careers in Professional Services event on 27 September 2023. 

Please note: This event is currently over-subscribed and a waiting list is in operation.

At the Forces Employment Charity, behind every phone call with a client, every specific piece of job advice, and every successful job placement, is a member of staff who empathises and values those who have served and the military families that support them. Each staff member has their own story to tell – how they got here, what attracted them to their current role, what makes them tick, and crucially, their motivation to support veterans, spouses, partners and dependants.

Continuing our monthly interviews with staff across departments such as employment advisors and operations we’re interviewing Lee Johnston, Families Programme Coordinator.

Read on to learn about Lee’s career, motivations and advice to military spouses.

Hi Lee, thanks for joining us today!

Thanks for asking me!

You are very welcome. To start with, what do you do at the Forces Employment Charity?

I am the Programme Coordinator for the Families Programme at the Forces Employment Charity.

Great – can you tell me about your career up until you started here?

Just before I started at the Forces Employment Charity, I worked in learning and development. I was an e-learning advisor within a naval and military base, I would help people gain their ECDL qualification (European Computer Driving Licence – an IT literacy qualification) as well as their functional skills in Maths and English. I was really fortunate to be able to do that at two different bases, I worked at Faslane for a few years and then at Yeovilton. It was at Yeovilton that I was promoted and moved from e-learning advisor to a learning and development advisor. I helped Serving personnel with clarity on their five year plan. This five year plan would include looking at what types of higher education and plans they could put in place for when the time came to leave. I would also support if they were hoping for more career progression within the Forces through more education.

How did you get from Learning Advisor to a Programme Coordinator at the Forces Employment Charity?

When my husband secured a new posting in Plymouth we all moved down to be with him. I hoped that that it would be third time lucky and that I would be able to slot into a Learning and Development Centre down here, especially with Plymouth being a bigger base. Unfortunately after exhausting a few avenues there was no position for me. So I had to leave my job in Yeovilton and became unemployed. And it was really disappointing as I had just started my level five coaching! So I tapped into my local Department of Work and Pensions, as I had been advised to, and looked at every avenue that I could. But it just felt like I was never going to find anything that I wanted to do, the only thing that I really would have loved was finding a role within the military community.

One day a friend who worked at a military charity called and told me she had just had “a fantastic chat with this amazing charity, the RFEA (Forces Employment Charity before the combination with the Officers Association in May 2022) and they are looking for someone to start on a new programme called the Families Programme that they’re launching soon”. She went on to say she thought I should apply and sent me the link. I did the usual military spouse thing, where we kind of look at it going “I can’t do that. No, I don’t have the skills!” But when I sat back and re-evaluated and wrote down everything they required and compared it to my skills, I realised that it all aligned. At this point it was 10pm and I remember thinking “who better to navigate and support a spouse out of work than a spouse out of work herself? Surely I’ve got all the personal attributes to be able to help someone else who is in the same position that I’m in right now.” So I put my application in. I was really fortunate to secure an interview and didn’t think for a minute that I would even have a look in but I ended up securing the role that week! I had already counted myself out so to get the role was just an indescribable feeling and it has been five years since!

Wow, what a story and quite a journey, especially as it was the day of the deadline!

It was only by chance that this contact had this conversation with someone from the charity about this programme. It was really lovely that she thought of me and thought I would be good at this. I had volunteered in the community before and had a lot of other roles, for example, I volunteered for FAFSA committee up in Scotland, which was the family and friends of deployed units and I have fundraised for the Royal Marines Charity. I have sort of been in the military family space and community but never physically worked for an organisation that was directly supporting them, and I thought maybe this is my time and I took my chance, and I was really fortunate to get it.

With all this in mind do you think volunteering is important for spouses?

Absolutely. It is a hugely beneficial thing to do for spouses who can’t find work or who are looking for work. I have had the opportunity to work with some incredible people who absolutely exceed in what they do for military families. Volunteering also gives people the ability to build up skill sets and build relationships with people in that network. Because you’re speaking to different organisations and you are dealing with people from all over the community.

Do you think volunteering is useful for specific future roles or just as a whole?

I think volunteering is helpful as a whole. It doesn’t have to be for one specific industry. There are lots of skills you can build up, for example it is perfect if you just want to build up your networking or your communication skills. We do both of these things on a daily basis and people don’t recognise that these are skills that we can transfer to a majority of the roles! So whether you go into it for something to do or you volunteer for a specific set of skills, I think volunteering as a whole can have a positive impact on anyone. It is definitely something that should be considered, even if you only have an hour a week.

What advice do you have for spouses who are job searching?

Think about what it is you actually want to achieve. If you don’t know yet, have a chat with an organisation like us who can help you. The reason I say this is because when I was job hunting it felt like a full-time job. I felt like I was constantly hitting brick walls and it was becoming quite onerous on my mental health because of the knockbacks.

Be patient. Take some time out for yourself and write down and focus on what it is you want to achieve. Set some goals. Even small goals can make you feel like you are achieving so much. Write down your achievements! A common thing for spouses and partners is a lack of understanding of the skillsets we actually have. We are a highly skilled group of people, we just need to understand what it is we have. Sometimes it’s easier to focus on the things we haven’t got rather than the things we have, so write down your skills! It can help spark ideas.

Don’t ever lose faith in yourself. On the families programme we can help keep you motivated and keep you on the right track.

Lastly, you can achieve anything you want! I never thought I would be in the place I am in now – the first advisor on a well-established programme.

Amazing tips Lee! With all that in mind, when is a good time to start job hunting?

Summer is a great time! There is a misconception that summer is a bad time because no one is hiring, but all that happens is it just slows down due to summer leave. So the most important thing to do is remain patient and be vigilant. People tend to slow the search down due to that summer period which means a little less competition! On top of all that, it’s also the time when some employers start looking at the past few months and start evaluating where they need support. Then there is the hidden jobs market.

Can you tell me more about the hidden jobs market?

Of course! So these jobs aren’t on local jobs boards but are found through your network. For example you move to a new patch and through a quick chat with someone you find out about an opportunity. They might introduce you to the employer or recommend you for the role and suddenly you have a connection or a job.

That’s so great – it’s all about the network! Moving on to more about you, what is your favourite part of your role?

I love every part of my job – the highs and the lows! But the most enjoyable part is the lightbulb moment when people realise what they have to give. I absolutely love it. When clients start to recognise what they have in terms of skills and when they start to see a plan and the light end of the tunnel, that eureka moment, that’s my favourite part.

What energizes and motivates you?

Being able to help people! That’s why I do what I do. But also the fact I don’t know who I’m going to meet every day. How I support people is different for every person because they have different needs which means no day is ever the same. I am motivated to give back to this community and provide something I didn’t have. Also my team is incredible!

Finally, what is the most interesting role you supported a client to obtain?

I supported someone from a project manager to a florist!

Find out more about the Families Programme and get to know Sarah Peñaluna advisor on the Programme here

Helping students adapt to new environments and find their career paths


For many young people, navigating the educational landscape and planning for their future career can be a challenging journey. But, when you add the complexity of being part of a military family the challenges can become even more daunting. Ruby, a resilient and determined 18 year old provides us with a glimpse into her experiences as a military child and how she has found support and guidance through dedicated support from the Forces Employment Charity.

A life of movement

Growing up in a military family means a life of constant change. Ruby’s father’s career in the military led to a childhood characterised by frequent relocations across various countries. “I have lived all over the place as my dad is in the military. I have been to seven or eight schools in my lifetime in different countries,” Ruby shares. This lifestyle exposed Ruby to a range of cultures and experiences, but it also brought about unique challenges in terms of education and transition.

“Cyprus was the best one!” Ruby says. During her time in Cyprus, she attended a small school in Akrotiri, a British Overseas Territory on the island. Despite the geographical distance from other military bases, Ruby found a sense of camaraderie among her peers. “We were all in the same boat. And we all got there at the same time. Because it was such a small school, it was a lot easier to make friends. We all understood each other,” Ruby recalls.

The educational journey

Changes and adaptations have marked Ruby’s educational journey. “I have been to three or four primary schools and two/three secondary schools,” she states. These transitions and her family’s unique circumstances brought about the need for specialised support.

Kelly, Education and Skills Liaison, has been instrumental in Ruby’s journey. She points out the challenges Ruby faced as a military family member seeking consistency in her education. Kelly goes on to shed even more light on the need for comprehensive transition support for military children and young people, like Ruby. “There is now a progression mentor at Ruby’s college, I got in contact and now Ruby has someone to talk to if anything is on her mind. But it took us intervening to really get moving. The real heartache is that we had to intervene. The support should have been there before.”

Military transitions and career aspirations

Kelly’s involvement with Ruby began when she registered for support with the EM3 Veterans and Families programme. Ruby’s situation requires a lengthy commute to her college due to the type of courses she wants to continue pursuing. “Since moving, I need to travel quite far to get to college, a train, a ferry and a bus!”

The journey wasn’t just about the physical commute but also about finding the right educational path. Ruby started off with BTECs, which differ from A levels, but when she moved colleges around her only did A levels. Her determination to follow her desired career and not jump around too much required strategic planning. “The right solution was to keep her at her current college, but now there is just that financial implication that’s not been budgeted for,” Kelly remarks.

Empowering aspirations

Kelly’s role extended beyond logistical support. She assisted Ruby in creating a strong CV, exploring university options that aligned with her interests in law and psychology, and investigating potential summer placements to enhance her skill set. The support also addressed the mental and emotional challenges Ruby faced. “Kelly has been incredibly helpful. She’s helped me with research and pointed me in the right direction, so I’m not worrying about a million things at once. She’s helped me break things down step by step and is so supportive with everything,” Ruby acknowledges.

Ruby’s advice

Ruby’s advice to other young people facing similar situations is clear: “Even if you are only thinking about registering and not sure about it, go for it anyway because the Forces Employment Charity is so helpful in many ways. Anybody could do with someone who helps ease their worries or thoughts and anything they have – academics or job opportunities.”

Ruby’s journey underscores the importance of tailored support for military families as they navigate educational transitions and career aspirations. With the right resources, mentorship, and determination, young individuals like Ruby can overcome challenges and reach their full potential.

Whether you’ve decided on your dream job or you haven’t got the first idea what you want to do (yet) we can help. From creating CVs to interview coaching and university applications to linking with mentors our team is here to support you. For more information and to register for the EM3 Veterans and Families Programme click here.

The EM3 Veterans and Families programme is part funded by the European Social Fund.

European Social Fund logo

Registrations for our Careers in Professional Services event are now open! Gain an insight into the ‘Big 4’ at this face-to-face event in London on Wednesday 27 September from 10 am until 6 pm.

The Careers in Professional Services event is for Service leavers, veterans, reservists and military family members. This event will help you to understand more about opportunities within Professional Services; particularly providing an insight into the ‘Big 4’.

Brought to you by the Forces Employment Charity and kindly hosted by PwC at their London HQ: 1 Embankment Place, London, WC2N 6RH from 10 am – 6 pm.

Register today to attend. Explore what roles may align to your transferable skill set.

Five reasons why you should attend Careers in Professional Services:

  1. Explore the Big 4: Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC military programmes and pathways
  2. Demystify the sector and discover the wide range of roles available. Hear directly from recruiters about how to tailor your CV for applications
  3. Informative workshops where recruiters will share tips for your interview preparation
  4. The opportunity to network with hiring managers, recruiters and military community representatives from these companies

Who can attend:

  • Service leavers
  • Veterans
  • Reservists
  • Military family members

What are Professional Services?

Professional Services provide support, advice, and guidance on business or technical topics. They generally perform services in a specialised area of expertise, such as financial strategy or process optimisation.  Some of the main business areas for the Big 4 include:

  • Audit and Assurance
  • Tax and Legal
  • Digital and Cloud Consulting
  • Strategy Consulting
  • Risk Advisory
  • Financial Advisory
  • Internal Operations

Part of a themed series of careers events

Careers in Professional Services is part of a series of events with different themes focussed on giving unique insight, understanding and access to different sectors. All led by the Forces Employment Charity.

Complete our online form now to have a conversation with one of our Career Consultants in advance of this event.

Want to know more about us?

Sign up to the Forces Employment Charity’s mailing list to keep up to date about the organisation’s work.

See also: Events’ page

Want to hear about our programmes, partnerships, events and ways that we could support you?