Due to popular demand, we are delighted to present the fourth series of Lunchtime Learning webinars, themed: ‘Planning my Job Search – Where do I start?’ and registrations are now open! 

Hosted by our Senior Executive Career Consultant, Lisa Jones, this not-to-be-missed series will run throughout June and July 2024 and are suitable for all ranks and Service backgrounds. They will be ideal for those still serving and considering transition as well as those looking to change career, this webinar series will cover the following: 

  • An up-to-date market overview of current and future opportunities 
  • How to pitch yourself in the jobs market using your unique selling point 
  • The importance of personal development in an ever-changing world

Whilst it is recommended to attend the full series, each webinar is standalone. Click on each themed heading to find out more information and to register your place!

Tuesday 18 June

A market overview – where we are seeing opportunity 

Lisa will provide you with an up-to-date job market overview, identifying current trends, areas of growth and areas of opportunity, and will provide an understanding of the skills currently needed in industry. We will review the employment landscape to help job seekers understand where they might fit and what industry is looking for. 

Tuesday 25 June 

Pitching yourself at the right level – how do I translate my skills and experience 

Helping you to pitch yourself correctly when applying and interviewing for roles, will help you understand how to translate your military experience into language that civilian employers will understand. We will provide guidance around entry points, typical hierarchy, and managerial responsibilities within a civilian business and how this may differ from the military, as well as guidance on salary negotiations and negotiating pay rises and promotions. 

Tuesday 2 July  

Identifying my USP – who am I after military life 

Helping you to target the market, understand and identify your own USP and how to use it in your CV and at interviews. This webinar will allow you to focus on understanding your own strengths and most importantly, articulating them successfully. 

Tuesday 9 July 

The importance of personal development – upskilling and utilising resources 

This last session stresses the importance of continuous personal development in a fast-changing market where employers are looking for new skills and capabilities from their workforce. We will focus on personal development and why this is so important throughout your career – from when you start looking for your first job, to 15 or more years into your career. We will also look at common leadership qualifications and memberships and their pros/cons. 

Timings 

Conveniently scheduled during the lunch break from 13:00 – 13:30 you can have a sandwich whilst listening to the webinar! With a condensed format lasting only 30 mins, we have brought together a body of experts to provide you with the latest jobs market knowledge. 

In his role as Op NOVA National Manager, Colin Back is one of the UK’s most experienced experts on veteran affairs in the health and justice sector. Commissioned by the NHS and delivered by the Forces Employment Charity, Op NOVA is a support service for veterans in contact with the justice system. 

An Army veteran and former police officer, Colin brings a wealth of sector experience to the Op NOVA senior leadership team.  It was while working in the Kent Police Volume Crime Unit that Colin first identified the veteran community as a specific cohort transitioning through the custody suites. This led Colin in 2009 to pioneer and trial an early intervention scheme to support veterans at the point of arrest working in conjunction with a SSAFA caseworker. 

In 2011, Colin joined the Forces Employment Charity as a Prison in Reach Support Worker, providing him with a 360-degree perspective of the veteran’s journey through the justice system.  

Project NOVA

Building on Colin’s cumulative experience, he went on to set up and later become the National Manager of the Forces Employment Charity’s Project NOVA programme in 2014, a new initiative to provide a framework that would both identify veterans at the point of arrest and actively support them to access and engage with locally delivered support.  

The need for a veteran-specific support programme in the justice system was increasingly evident, and in 2015 the Government published the Phillips Report, which reinforced the premise of Project NOVA. 

“The Phillips Report exposed the hidden reality of veterans in the justice system and underlined the need for greater awareness of veteran identity and life experiences in the sector” explains Colin. 

Driving Sustainable change: From Project NOVA to Op NOVA

In 2022 NHS England commissioned the Forces Employment Charity to deliver Op NOVA, a comprehensive support service for veterans in England in contact with the justice system.  

This commission saw Op NOVA supersede Project NOVA, incorporating the programme into the NHS’s dedicated veteran support portfolio:

Colin remains at the operational helm of the Op NOVA programme, working closely with NHS England, the FEC’s senior leadership team and Board of Trustees. 

Although integral to the strategic and operational development of OP NOVA, Colin’s core values remain rooted in veteran welfare and championing the contributions of the caseworkers: 

“Veterans are incredibly proud people and do not generally ask for help, although our work proves that once identified and supported, the outcomes for veterans in the justice system are significantly improved … the Op NOVA caseworkers do a fantastic job, their work is both life-changing and, in many instances, life-saving” says Colin. 

The scale of support available through Op NOVA is extensive and has positive impacts for the individual veteran, their families, local communities, and the entire justice system. 

In 2015 we supported a Prolific and Priority Offender (PPO)

This veteran was about to leave prison, we met with him 12 weeks prior to his release. His needs assessment identified that his two main concerns were employment and housing. This was his seventeenth custodial sentence since leaving the Services. It was also his final sentence, and he has not since reoffended. Upon his release from Prison, Op NOVA worked with him to secure both accommodation and employment.

The police analyst estimated that his offending behaviour was costing the taxpayer over £400,000 based on his previous 18 months of interaction with the justice system. 

Op NOVA generates this life-changing impact through a full package of support, comprising health, finances, legal, lifestyle, and employment support.  

What’s next for Op NOVA?

Op NOVA is now entering its second phase of delivery, with greater coverage across England’s police and probation departments. Importantly, Op NOVA is also being extended to every prison in England throughout 2024. The Forces Employment Charity has subcontracted this ‘in-prison’ aspect of work to Care After Combat. 

“I’m incredibly proud of how much Op NOVA has already achieved and believe that the foundations are in place for sustained impact. The evidence base for Op NOVA is constantly growing and I’m keen to strengthen our collaborations with justice practitioners for the benefit of veterans, communities, and society as a whole” says Colin. 

Follow Op NOVA on social media

Contact the Op NOVA team

 

 

  • Prime Minister to meet veterans, businesses and charities today to announce dedicated employment support service
  • New funding will support veterans into high-skilled high-paid jobs
  • The Government commits to making the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran

The Prime Minister met with veterans and businesses today (Friday 12 April) at a Veterans Connect event at a military museum, where he launched OP PROSPER – a wraparound employment service to support veterans into work after they leave the Armed Forces. The Forces Employment Charity is delighted to be one of the grant-awarded organisations to deliver this initiative through the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust.

OP PROSPER will be backed by £2.1 million in new funding. The scheme will support veterans in securing high paid jobs, where they can hone the skills that they developed in the military in key sectors that are helping to boost the economy. This includes areas like cyber and digital, manufacturing, energy and financial and professional services.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

“The courageous men and women who have served in our Armed Forces represent the very best of our country and we must serve them as well as they have served us.

“They deserve our full support to thrive in civilian life and to continue contributing their incredible skills to the prosperity of our country. That is why I am proud to announce OP PROSPER, which will support veterans in securing high-skilled roles in key sectors that are helping to grow the economy.”

The Prime Minister will be joined by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer today, to meet veterans and some of the leading employers of veterans in the UK, including Deloitte, Amazon and Centrica.

Veterans’ employment in the UK is at an all-time high, at 89%, but there is more we can do. OP PROSPER will build on the support already available and will improve awareness of the skills and talents of veterans among industry and employers, to encourage businesses to hire veterans.

The initiative will also provide wrap-around support to veterans and their families, delivered by experienced employability professionals. This will make sure that they are supported to go straight into new roles or take the next step in their existing career.

In 2022, the Government introduced a 12-month National Insurance relief for employers hiring veterans into their first role after service, which has been extended for another year. This tax incentive gives businesses potential savings of up to £6,200 per employee, while also allowing them to benefit from the fantastic skills and experience that veterans bring.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer said:

“Our veterans leave the military with an abundance of skills, and the tenacity and drive to continue achieving greatness. But for too long, too many have ended up in jobs that don’t fully harness their talents and abilities. That is why we’re introducing Op Prosper.

“By connecting veterans with employers, engaging industry bodies on the importance of hiring veterans, and strengthening their qualifications and skills, this Government will ensure more ex-servicemen and women are securing high quality and fulfilling employment.

“Hiring a veteran is one of the best business decisions a company can make, and OP PROSPER will help ensure this is realised by all employers across the country.”

The Government has committed to make the UK the best place in the world for veterans, providing an additional £33 million in funding to support veterans over the next three years, with a further £10 million announced in the 2023 Autumn statement for veterans’ healthcare. In 2021, Op Courage was launched as a bespoke mental health support for veterans supported by professionals who are from or have experience of working with the military community, and over 30,000 veterans have used this service to date.

Earlier this year the government launched a new digital service enabling veterans to verify their veteran status and apply for a Veteran Card, streamlining the process to access veteran-specific support.  Since the project launched, almost 100,000 Veteran Cards have been issued.

The Veteran Card provides veterans with a clear recognition of service, a tangible link to the Armed Forces, and allows them to easily verify their veteran status to access support and services from government, charities, and local authorities.

This government established the Office for Veterans’ Affairs to better coordinate veterans’ policy, bring together and improve our knowledge of veterans, and provide dedicated policy work on veterans. In October last year, the Government launched a consultation to gather views from veterans and intends to publish the first ever draft Veterans Bill outlining how we could legislate to ensure that the progress made in recent years to transform veterans’ care in this country is secured. With the Veterans’ Strategy at its core, this will maintain the momentum on our ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran.

Chris Recchia, partner at Deloitte, lead for the firm’s Military Transition and Talent Programme and founder of the VeteransWork Employment Campaign, said:

“At Deloitte, we’ve helped influence over 7,000 veterans’ transition journeys in the last 12 years, whilst helping to evolve the veteran narrative and make the UK the best place to be a veteran.

“There are tangible benefits of having veterans in an organisation and making it a business imperative to do so, as they possess relevant transferrable skills, a positive attitude, resilience and an ability to make culture enhancing contributions not only here at Deloitte, but in the finance and professional services sector and the wider UK workforce.”

Alistair Halliday, Chief Exec, Forces Employment Charity, said:

“We are excited that Op PROSPER supports us in developing and extending our specialist knowledge and understanding to bridge the gap between military life and civilian employment and work in partnership with hundreds of employers who, like us, respect and value the unique qualities and abilities of all those who have served and their families.”

“Veterans and their families will be able to come to the Forces Employment Charity and receive free 121 support from our specialist career advisors to explore new job opportunities that will enhance success and prosperity for themselves and their families, regardless of their background or where they are based in the UK.”

James Cameron, CEO of Mission Community, said:

“We are delighted to have been announced by the Prime Minister as one of the grant-awarded organisations for Op PROSPER leading on the delivery of sector initiatives.  Building on the success of the Armed Forces engagement initiatives in Automotive and in Renewables, we welcome government reinforcement of our strategic work with trade bodies and leading companies making the commercial and social value case for Armed Forces community engagement.

“Since 2019, this top-down approach empowers industry as champions for this cause, helping us create a community of communities, supporting our veterans and their families by positively influencing the kinds of cultures and behaviours they will find within sectors.”

This year’s Women into Employment (WIE24) event, the third of its kind run by the Forces Employment Charity, celebrated a packed agenda on Tuesday 26 March. Held at UBS with gold sponsor, Octopus Energy the event brought incredible speakers to the stage. WIE24 also welcomed employers actively seeking to recruit from within the military community, of which 154 delegates were present – family members included!  

WIE24 in a snapshot 

  • 154 delegates 
  • 33 superb speakers 
  • 23 Forces friendly employers 
  • 7 supporting career organisations 

Thank you to all who attended and who provided feedback. An amazing 64% of delegates who attended this year’s event said they would recommend to others! Just over 30% were veterans, 30% were currently serving, 23% were military spouses/partners and 10% reservists.

In terms of the breakdown of who was actively looking for employment, 43% said they were and 38% said they weren’t but the event had now given them the confidence to start looking.

Research 

Recent research carried out by the Forces Employment Charity* states that women are more likely to deselect themselves from roles they could be suitable for. Figures also show that 72% of female veterans said they had found their transition to ‘civvy street’ harder than expected. This is compared with 63% of men. 

When female partners and spouses of serving personnel were asked, 1 in 6 stated that the impact on their career was the hardest thing about being in the Forces community, with the top barrier to employment being frequent house moves (25%), closely followed by not having close networks nearby (22%). 

Highlights of the morning at WIE24

Chaired by BFBS Forces News reporter, Sian Grzeszczyk, WIE24 focused on helping women to recognise their worth and harness their full potential. Sian shared some inspirational quotes, connecting them to maximising on takeaways from the event, making each session and networking opportunity count. 

Two quotes which resonated with many at WIE24: 

  • “Shy ducks get no bread” (i.e. don’t ever be afraid to ask questions!) 
  • “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” by Eleanor Roosevelt (use your carrier strike group! Know what and who you have around you for support and use them) 

Office for Veterans’ Affairs (OVA) Director, Anisha Worbs gave the official welcome address to WIE24 covering: 

  • overcoming the barriers women face when applying for jobs 
  • the OVA’s work with partners to get veterans into valuable, sustainable employment 
  • the need to shape support for women veterans based on their unique experiences 

Following the host welcome from UBS Investment Bank’s Executive Vice Chairman, Kevin Arnold, headline sponsor – Octopus Energy introduced Breffney Brass as the Chief of Staff at Octopus Energy Services at WIE24 to speak in the morning’s conference theatre. 

Octopus Energy is a Forces Friendly employer and signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, so actively looks to employ and assist those in the military community.

Breffney offered great mentorship and practical advice to help folks from the military community — both women and men — make sense of their next career and chart a path to success in a new organisation: 

“Be nosy. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Don’t be content with not knowing what others do or how things work. Knowing all the jargon doesn’t matter nearly as much as showing up and being eager. Lastly, don’t let anyone talk you into having imposter syndrome. Everyone is making most of it up as they go.” 

First panellist sessions 

Channelling your superpower: Our first panellists came from The Warrior Programme (Rebecca Gallimore), YourNorth (Kelly Farr), BNY Mellon (Claudine Martin) and the Forces Employment Charity (Annette Berry). 

Industry spotlight panel: UBS (Jannine von Bergen), Centrica (Laura Blair), Octopus Electric Vehicles (Charlotte White) and Amazon (Cath Possamai). 

Our guest inspirational speaker at WIE24

We welcomed to WIE24, trainer and coach from the Elite Academy of Development and Wellbeing and the Warrior Programme, Michelle Chapman to provide this year’s inspirational address. It was titled ‘The Great Confidence Myth — how to squash self-doubt and learn to thrive’.   

Michelle provided a simple and very effective flip chart activity on centre stage, using A4 Post-It Notes provoking thought into how we build layers from childhood to now, and how we see ourselves, all relating to self-belief. To then remove those beliefs – to reflect that our identities have been removed (ie who are we if we aren’t x or y) see it instead as releasing/giving ourselves ‘space’ to just ‘be’. Michelle ended with a quote also… “You are under no obligation to be the same person you were five minutes ago.” By Alan Watts. 

Afternoon breakout sessions 

The afternoon’s four panellist sessions included: 

Careers in Sustainability/social impact 

Chaired by Sarah Stone of Samtaler, Rosie Buckley (Centrica), Emma Morgan (Amazon), Jade Chesney (Octopus Energy) and Thammy Evans (MOD) 

Careers in creative industries 

Chaired by Lucy Heaver from Forces Employment Charity, Sian Grzeszczyk (BFBS), Claudia Solano (Asda), Jennifer Jessey (The Telegraph) and Meredyth Grant (Charlie Charlie One) 

Careers in government and third sector 

Chaired by John Cunningham from Forces Employment Charity, Vivienne Buck (Blesma), Hannah Jarvis (Bryn Carw Consultancy), Jenna Clare (MOD) and Sian Woodland (Woody’s Lodge) 

Careers in self-employment 

Chaired by Martin Wing of X-Forces Enterprise, Charlotte Cox (Coxy Recruits), Amy Price (The Social Butterfly) and Keri Jones (Keri Jones Floral Design). 

Watch post-event videos:

Frequently Asked Questions at WIE24

Q: Leadership – How women had utilised their military experience in their lives beyond the Armed Forces and whether it was relevant and translatable 
A:  Yes, very translatable and how valuable the military models and frameworks are 

Q: Rank and levels and whether this was important in civilian life and if employers were biased towards certain backgrounds or levels 
A: Employers are more interested in what individuals have done and the skills developed than the rank or level 

Q: Where people are seeing growth and progression 
A: Tech and renewables/green energy/net zero 

Q: What kind of areas and jobs will stand the test of time? 
A: Human input, experience, ideas and relationships are key and will still be important, despite AI 

Q: Key skills employers admire in Armed Forces community?
A: Resilience and adaptability — attractive to an ever-changing environment 

General comment: 

Flexible working is important to many. Doing something that mattered for their children was important (veterans and military personnel as well as family members) 

Reflecting on WIE24 – what our delegates said 

“Such an inspiring day at the Women into Employment event by Forces Employment Charity today! 

“It’s been incredible to see so many come together to support serving women, veterans and family members, and advocate for their potential and the skills they offer. 

“It’s so easy to get stuck in a rhythm of putting ourselves in boxes, limiting ourselves to what we think we’re capable of but today will have encouraged many, if not all those attending to question that mindset.” 

“Key takeaway: “You do not have to be the person that you or others have ingrained in your head that you are.

“Inspiring talks and great panel discussions from industry spotlights and channelling your superpower! With some great questions: 

  • what are your superpowers?  
  • are they the same every day?  
  • do they always exist? 

“Lovely to meet and connect with new people and reconnect with others! I’m looking forward to the follow up calls already!”

 Veterans’ Network lead, Harriet James reflected on UBS hosting this year’s Women into Employment event: 

“UBS are very passionate about its D&I objectives and enacting them. Being able to host Women into Employment 2024 shows that we support the Armed Forces Community. At UBS we have the Veterans Network as well as the Ex-Forces Associate Programme (EFAP) — a very specific recruitment process for veterans to be able to align into roles that would fit within the bank. 

“I think today’s event is important as it broadens people’s imagination about the range of companies that offer schemes that they might not be aware of but also the range of opportunities available at each of those employers. There is HR, admin, and tech, so just making people realise that these companies have more than just what their main goal is.” 

Forces Employment Charity CEO, Alistair Halliday added: 

What a pleasure it was to hear about some incredible personal journeys and to see the impact those stories had on the audience. Many had started the event feeling uncertain on many topics but left feeling empowered, upbeat, and now confident — ready to take on the civilian employment market! The buzz created by many conversations through new connections, conversations, and reunions and even building new friendships, was fabulous.” 

The Forces Employment Charity 

We provide life-long, life-changing support, jobs and training opportunities to Service leavers, veterans, reservists and their spouses, partners and children. This is regardless of circumstances, rank, length of service, or reason for leaving. Register today to link up with a career consultant or join our mailing list to keep you updated on our latest news and events. 

Our programs are designed to support the whole military community. These initiatives are made possible by UK companies dedicated to helping veterans overcome the challenges of transitioning to civilian life. Contact us if you would like to have an informal chat on recruiting veterans – or the wider military community.

 

* Research undertaken by OnePoll on behalf of the Forces Employment Charity between 8th to 22nd November 2023.  

 

Careers in Energy, one of the Forces Employment Charity’s sector-specific events took place on Wednesday 28 February. Hosted by Jacobs, London, Service leavers, veterans, reservists and family members were introduced to demystify and be given a complete overview of the Energy sector, as well as introductions to 15 leading companies within this industry. 

Careers in Energy – a hybrid event  

The event, run in hybrid format welcomed guests from countries including the USA, Germany, Poland and Vietnam. Whilst these delegates couldn’t be there in person, they could still send in questions real-time to the themed panellist discussions, and take part in the virtual sessions including polling software, Menti. The eProgramme also provided live links through to speakers’ LinkedIn accounts for enabling online networking and is something to be continued for future ‘Careers in…’ events.  

Careers in Energy brought together energy companies to promote: 

  • their own military/pathway programmes 
  • what they offer 
  • how they differentiate from others 
  • timelines for applications to the programmes and other direct entry opportunities. 

Insights into lived experiences 

Delegates had the opportunity to network throughout the day; especially with those who are veterans and already working with companies, sharing their own lived experiences. Talking to different employers, HR partners and hearing about their military programmes — all under one roof, offered a unique experience. 

Gold sponsor, Centrica was present alongside silver sponsors, Chevron and Mott MacDonald – and bronze sponsor, Octopus Energy; all provided key speakers as the day unfolded. 

Opening words 

James Nash, Head of Sector for Energy and Power, Jacobs opened proceedings at Careers in Energy and underlined how energy is essential to our lives. Acknowledging that with a huge focus globally on decarbonisation, clean energy and a drive towards net zero, there is a skills shortage in the UK to support energy transition targets. 

The sector is one of growth, with longevity and career investment a priority. Skills which veterans and the wider military community bring such as leadership, teamwork, adaptability and problem solving are very attractive to employers. 

Our gold sponsor Centrica highlighted the drive in the engineering space and encouraged the community to bring their diversity to the sector. 

Laura Blair, Head of Centrica’s Armed Forces Pathway shared: 

“Centrica is delighted to be the gold sponsor of Careers in Energy; it was really important for us as a FTSE100 energy services and solutions company to get involved in events like this with the Forces Employment Charity. 

“It’s a real opportunity to engage with and tap into Armed Forces talent, whether that’s a Service leaver, veteran, reservist or military family member.  Centrica as a company recognises the vast and varied skill set that anyone from the Armed Forces can bring to business. 

“The energy sector is a really interesting place to work at the minute, particularly because of the drive to net zero – and for the drive to net zero, we need diversity of experience within our workplace – and that exists within the Armed Forces community in spades.” 

Employers at Careers in Energy 

Delegates met with 17 different employers: 

The Forces Pension Society was also in attendance to be on hand for any military pension advice. 

Forces Employment Charity CEO, Alistair Halliday said: 

“This really was a fabulous event to be present at. It was wonderful to see so many talented Service leavers, veterans and spouses in the room engaging so effectively with some great energy sector employers. The atmosphere was buzzy and businesslike, and it was clear that everyone left with a much clearer idea of the many roles and opportunities in this vibrant sector. 

“Moreover, the employers were clearly impressed by the quality of the military talent available. It is so uplifting to be able to provide support like this, to improve awareness and understanding and increase the chances of our clients to reach their full potential, while ensuring more employers are motivated to offer great roles to ex-Forces people.” 

Veteran, Tom Hunt added: 

“Most of us from a young age wanted to serve in the Armed Forces from a young age, so we have not really looked at any other kind of job. Coming to things like this and just hearing from Service leavers themselves, who are now in senior roles in the energy sector, has helped me to think that it’s achievable and it’s quite encouraging to see that.  

“Getting to chat with the speakers and learn what roles are available fires our imagination more than you think.  

“Just keep an open mind. Bear in mind what your strengths are and try to play to those, but also keep your mind open as to what you find interesting.” 

Military Spouse, Julia Barr – Commercial Manager at Mott MacDonald added her reflective thoughts to the day’s events: 

“It’s been really fascinating to see all the different sectors and just to see how broad the energy industry is and the opportunities that there are.  

“Military spouses have a bit of a history of being either underemployed or unemployed to a much greater extent than the general population. And yet there’s a whole raft of skills that are sat there at home that can be used in this kind of industry and other industries as well. 

“I see myself as being there to showcase to both the military kind of partners and family community that it is possible to find balance between work life and family.” 

Keep updated on future events 

Sign up to the Forces Employment Charity’s newsletter to keep informed of future ‘Careers in…’ events and other career insight days, LinkedIn workshops etc.  

Snapshot of future events: 

We’re excited to announce that our work in Scotland is now delivered by a team of nine advisors and having obtained new funding we are increasing our delivery to those who need us the most.  

During 2023, the Forces Employment Charity provided career support, training, and employment access to 21,977 people from the entire UK’s Armed Forces community; 1,695 of those being from Scotland. We offer lifelong support and guidance to Service leavers, reservists, veterans, or their families, regardless of their rank or reason for leaving.  Thanks to the Veterans’ Foundation, we are now able to start providing support to veterans in contact with the justice system in Scotland. We are also providing more support to the families (including those bereaved) of Serving personnel and veterans in Scotland. 

Service Leavers in Scotland  

Teaming up with CTP, we offer a dynamic range of programmes and hands-on assistance tailored to each individual’s needs, guiding them through the transition from military to civilian life with confidence. 

Our Employer Relationship Manager works closely with Employers across Scotland, and we work to identify and link suitable job opportunities through to the whole Armed Forces community. Employers are eager to harness the skills and qualifications gained during military service, and we’re here to help showcase the military community’s value. Through partnerships with leading companies, we ensure everyone’s talents are celebrated in the job market.  

Our mission is clear: to empower anyone leaving their single Service to overcome any obstacle and embrace the next chapters with confidence. The Specialist Employment Consultant within our CTP Assist Programme in Scotland also offer personalised and comprehensive assistance. This is for wounded, injured, and sick Service leavers, providing access to job opportunities, tailored support, and practical tools to navigate paths forward. 

Those who leave the Armed Forces early have a designated Early Service Leaver coordinator who is on hand to ensure they are linked in with the correct support from the CTP Future Horizons Programme. Whether they have served for a brief period or faced unforeseen challenges, we’re committed to helping all Early Service Leavers seek out new opportunities in a civilian career. 

Our work with veterans 

Through a thorough self-assessment, our dedicated employment advisors help to identify strengths held, address potential barriers to employment, embrace interests and goals that veterans are looking to achieve in both the short and long term. This enables us to provide specialist employment advice tailored to individual circumstances.  

We realise that employment might not be the only need. Our employment advisors collaborate with a network of military charities to ensure clients are getting the correct specialised support from other organisations, addressing specific challenges such as health concerns, legal issues, debt or housing problems.  

Dedicated employment advisors support veterans in accessing suitable training aligned with their career goals, and identifying relevant programs and available funding options. Reviewing and compelling job applications, including CVs and mastering interview skills is essential for securing employment opportunities.  

We provide professional advice ensuring that a CV is Applicant Tracking System compliant, ensuring clients feel comfortable highlighting relevant experience, and providing detailed interview preparation, tailoring the interview preparation specific to the sector or employer.  

In summary, our specialised support helps veterans navigate the employment market effectively, addressing their unique circumstances and aiding every step, from skills assessment to job applications and networking opportunities. 

Veterans in the justice system – NOVA Scotland 

Veterans who are in contact with the justice system often experience feelings of isolation and some of their challenges include homelessness, debt, physical and mental health issues as well as drug or alcohol misuse. 

NOVA Scotland through Scott Muir (pictured) supports these vulnerable veterans in Scotland. We work collaboratively with Police Scotland, the Scottish Prison Service and Criminal Justice Social Work to offer a holistic, person-centred, approach to help deal with the issues they face.  

We undertake a needs assessment for each individual and support them throughout their journey of change. Our overall aim is to enable veterans to live stable lives and to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and work. 

Our knowledge of the support services available in Scotland, both through service charities and other third-sector organisations, enable us to ensure that the veteran gets the most appropriate help with any issues that they may be facing.   

Supporting families in Scotland  

Meresa Lewis (pictured) joins the Families Programme as an advisor. Her lived and professional experience, passion, and connections with military families, bring valuable skills and enhanced support to spouses and partners of Serving personnel and veterans in Scotland. Meresa provides mentoring, personalised career guidance, and practical employment support.  

Meresa said:

I am delighted to join the Forces Employment Charity at such an exciting time. As we launch the families project in Scotland, I am thrilled to be involved in contributing to life-changing support for all members of the Armed Forces community in Scotland. As a member of this community myself, I eagerly embrace the opportunity to empower others to make a lasting difference!”  

Since its launch in 2019, the Families Programme has grown significantly. It has supported 1,844 spouses and partners (including divorced and bereaved) with their employment journey across the UK. We’ve helped our clients achieve successful outcomes linked to our efforts in advocating for this diverse talent pool by raising employer awareness and overcoming reluctance. Through collaborative efforts with our wider teams we work with employers to promote opportunities that align to the requirements of a military lifestyle and beyond. 

The Families Programme is now five strong with highly skilled, dedicated advisors, all of whom are military spouses. Their empathy, compassion, and commitment to ensuring clients reach their full potential set the Families Programme apart in the sector. The Programme’s unwavering dedication, innovative approach, and contribution to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace make it a model of excellence in the field.  

Deputy CEO, Chloe Mackay adds: 

“We are very pleased to have been able to strengthen our team in Scotland and be able to provide more, much needed, support for veterans and Armed Forces families at this time when we know the cost-of-living crisis is continuing to cause difficulty and hardship for many” 

More information 

Head to our website to find out about how we help, the events you can join and who to get in touch with for further help and advice. 

To talk to an advisor simply register online, or to working with us as an employer, reach out to us through our employer’s interest form and a member of the team will be in touch with you. 

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. 

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

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