The Paris Olympics 2024 is an eagerly anticipated event, set to take place from 26 July to 11 August 2024 in Paris, France. This international multi-sport event will bring together athletes from around the globe to compete in various sports, showcasing their talents and dedication on the world stage.

British Armed Forces personnel are encouraged to participate in sports. Sports practice enhances several skills, including perseverance, work ethic, self-discipline, and camaraderie. These are core skills essential for both athletic and military success. We have collated a list featuring 17 athletes who have served in the Armed Forces, some participating in the upcoming Olympics.

Kathrine Matthews

Army Captain Kat is a physiotherapist at Headley Court, aiding injured British servicemen and women. In 2018, she debuted as an amateur long-distance triathlon runner and won the Ironman 70.3 Calgary title.

Kerenza Bryson

Kerenza is a Maritime Troop Commander Reserve Officer in the 165 Port and Maritime RLC Regiment. The reservist is also a medal-winning modern pentathlete and the British Army Sportswoman of the Year in 2023. She accomplished all this while studying to become a doctor and serving in the Army Reserves.

Sam Curry

Sam is an Elite Sport Resilience Margin (REM) program Army lieutenant. In June 2023, he won bronze in the Modern Pentathlon mixed relay at the European Games in Poland.

Taylor Lawrence

Taylor served as a Royal Marine Commando from 2016 to 2019. He showcased his athletic abilities during his military career by winning the Navy Cup and the Virginia Gauntlet Trophy. When he left the Service, he transitioned to bobsleigh and debuted in the 2020 World Cup.

Stephen Cox

Stephen is an Army Lance Corporal and professional rower. He will be representing Zimbabwe in the upcoming 2024 Olympic games. The Army continues to support Stephen’s training and competition.

Gregg Stevenson

Gregg is a former Royal Engineer and Afghanistan veteran. Despite losing both legs in 2009, he pursued a career as a mental health practitioner. After transitioning to civilian life, he turned to rowing. He retired from the sport in 2018, but he made a triumphant return in 2022. Then Gregg went on to win back-to-back medals and retained his European title.

Jaco Van Gass MBE

Jaco was born in South Africa but moved to Britain when he was twenty to join the Armed Forces. He served in the Parachute Regiment in Afghanistan when he sustained life-changing injuries. Jaco participated in a sports recovery programme and competed in cycling events. He won gold medals in many events at the 2020 Paralympics. In 2022, Jaco was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) for his contributions to cycling.

Dave Henson MBE

Dave joined the Army in 2008 and served with the Royal Engineers. During his tour of Afghanistan, he sustained life-altering injuries, which led to his discharge. As an athletic sprinter, Dave excelled in the Warrior and Paralympic Games. After obtaining his PhD, Dave now works in bioengineering, focusing on prosthetic technology. In 2014, he was appointed an MBE for his military service.

Dame Kelly Holmes (DBE)

Dame Kelly served in the Army for nearly a decade, rising to Sergeant. She became the British Army judo champion and impressively won the 800 meters, 3,000 meters, and a relay race at an athletics event in one day. As a military woman balancing her military career with athletics, she eventually dedicated herself entirely to sports. She is a double Olympic Gold medalist.

Micky Yule

Aged 17, Micky joined the Army, and in 2010, as a Staff Sergeant in the Royal Engineers, he served in Afghanistan. After his discharge, the Scottish-born Para-Powerlifter debuted at the 2016 Paralympics, finishing sixth. In 2020, Micky won a bronze medal with the best lift of 182 kg in Tokyo.

Jo Butterfield MBE

Former Army civil servant Jo excelled in wheelchair basketball before transitioning to athletics. Despite a shoulder injury, she won gold in the F51 club throw at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. In 2017, Jo was appointed MBE for her sporting career. She switched to wheelchair curling in 2022 and secured a bronze medal for Scotland at the 2023 World Championships.

Stuart Robinson MBE

After serving with his RAF Regiment on his fourth tour of Afghanistan, Stuart was seriously injured and left the military. In 2014, he debuted in wheelchair rugby. He went on to win a Bronze medal at the 2016 Invictus Games and gold at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games.

Nick Beighton

Nick was injured while serving in Afghanistan with the Royal Engineers in 2009. After retiring from the military, Nick turned to sports. He competed at the 2012 Paralympic Games with the rowing team. He later transitioned to Para Canoe in 2014 and cycling in 2023.

Phil Eaglesham

Phil is an Irish-born Royal Marine Corporal veteran. In 2010, he served in Afghanistan and was diagnosed with Q Fever. After leaving the Armed Forces, Phil used his military capabilities to compete in sharpshooting events. He later joined the Ireland Shooting team and competed at the 2016 and 2020 Paralympic Games.

Jo Townsend

In 2008, while serving in Afghanistan, Royal Marine Commando Joe was injured. But his military career did not end, as he now serves as a strength and conditioning coach. Joe continued to represent his nation – but in the sporting arena. He competed in the Triathlon at the 2016 Paralympics, securing sixth place. Jo went on to win a Gold medal at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

Jon-Allan Butterworth MBE

Jon-Allan, a former Royal Air Force weapons technician, was injured in Iraq in 2007. After his military career, he represented the nation as a paralympic cyclist. He won three Silver medals in 2012 and a Gold medal in 2016. In 2017, Jon-Allan was appointed an MBE for his service to cycling. He retired from the sport in 2020.

JJ Chambers

JJ was injured while serving in Afghanistan as a Royal Marine Commando, ending his military career. But the Scottish veteran did not stop there! In 2016, JJ became the first disabled presenter to host the Olympic Games. He has also anchored events like the BBC1 Invictus and the Commonwealth Games during his broadcasting career.

Find out more

We wish the best of luck to all athletes, especially those who have served in the Armed Forces, as they strive for excellence in the upcoming games. The Forces Employment Charity is committed to providing life-long, life-changing support to Service leavers, veterans, reservists and their spouses, partners, and children, regardless of circumstances, rank, length of service, or reason for leaving.

Whether it’s career advice, employment opportunities, or personal development, we are here to help you every step of the way. Register now!

The Forces Employment Charity has partnered with the Naval Children’s Charity (NCC). Together, we will deliver vital career support to children from the Tall Ships Youth Trust’s Empowerment Voyages. Our advisors, Kelly Wales and Sian Kerr, will lead dynamic activities and workshops. The aim of these sessions is to support young people as they start considering their future careers.

The latest voyage, on 2 June 2024, proved to be a success as Kelly and Sian engaged with ten naval children, delivering employability sessions and activities. These sessions are designed to boost young people’s self-esteem and get them thinking about their future career paths.

Set sail on an adventure!

Young people with a parent who has served or is still serving in the Royal Navy or Royal Marines are invited to embark on a thrilling sea adventure along the coast of the British Isles on board one of the Tall Ship Youth Trust’s (TSYT) iconic 72-foot Challenger yachts.

Throughout the voyage, the young people developed many transferrable skills, including communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, which they can use in everyday life and future careers. Working with our advisors, the naval children completed team-building exercises, helping them build their self-confidence.

By introducing a range of group activities and one-to-one sessions, delivered both on and off the ship, our advisors got the young people thinking about their interests and career aspirations. They also helped them identify their strengths and what inspires them.

What can you expect?

“Thinking about your career can be daunting at any age but coupled with having experienced some of the more common setbacks that come with being a child from a Naval family, this can be even more of a challenge. Partnering with the NCC will enable the Forces Employment Charity to help those beginning their career journey. Combining adventure with learning is the perfect recipe for success.” – Kelly Wales, Skills and Education Liaison

Any young person who embarks on the voyage can expect to leave with:

  • An understanding of how the Forces Employment Charity team can help them focus on their future and the stepping stones they need to help them find prosperous and sustainable careers.
  • Awareness of their skillset and what skills they may want to develop further.
  • A trusted career mentor who can support them regardless of where they might move. This person will be someone they can go to for impartial college, university, employment support, and advice.
  • Knowledge that Forces Employment Charity support is for the whole family.
  • A positive mindset, new friends, and a more extensive support network.

Kelly concludes, “We’d encourage anyone curious about getting involved to sign up!”

If you are considering signing up for the next voyage in October, please note the closing day for applications is Thursday 15 August.

What did the naval children think of the voyage?

Killian Manceau

Killian, aged 19, is currently in his gap year, pondering what to do with his future. He registered with the Forces Employment Charity in March 2024. When asked why he joined the voyage, he said, “I thought doing this voyage would allow me to build on my leadership and know a bit more about myself and how to work with others”. He added that the session with our advisors had “been great. They’re helping us to understand what we’ve learned this week all together as a group and how we can apply it in the future.”

He added, “The was amazing. I also would like to say thank you for the work [the Forces Employment Charity advisors] did with us. It was a great way to end this trip as it rounded up all the skills we learnt during the voyage and how we could use them in the future to reach our goals.”

With the skills and experience he gained from this voyage, along with the support and dedication of his advisor, Sian, Killian has now passed his Royal Air Force interview and is currently waiting to hear back on his joining date.

Harriet Moss

Harriet said that what “made [the experience] great was because we have all come from military backgrounds and sometimes it’s a difficult thing to find people with similar experiences to you. It was such a lovely opportunity to talk to other people about it!”

When asked about how she enjoyed her session with Sian and Kelly, Harriet said, “one thing that does stress me out is not knowing what to do in the future. So, it was comforting to know that there are people there to support me.”

Isabel Dundar

Isabel said that the most valuable lesson she had learned on the voyage was “that it doesn’t matter if you don’t know people, just as long as you work as a team, you can get a lot done.” Working as part of a team is necessary in almost every workforce, and helping our young people understand the importance of working collaboratively despite the team they are in is an incredibly practical life lesson.

She added that the session with Kelly and Sian was “really interesting. It’s been like a good look into how hard life has been with military parents. But it has brought great things like charities who are willing to help, particularly with all the knowledge we’ve lost through moving around.”

Overall, the trip was a success by the end of the voyage, most naval children said they left feeling more confident in themselves. Seven out of ten (70%) attendees said they had given their future some thought but admitted that they wanted to focus more on their futures as the session showed them the array of possibilities and opportunities ahead of them.

Find out more

Our employment advisors support you at every step of your journey. An advisor can offer impartial advice, open your eyes to new training and employment opportunities, and much more.

Register today for bespoke advice on how to kickstart your career as a military child or to learn more about the support delivered by our charity.

The summer holidays can be an ideal opportunity for young people to get work experience. Whether you already know what career you’d like to pursue or are weighing your options, work experience is a great starting point. From volunteering to finding a summer job, developing your skills and gaining experience is vital to staying ahead of the curve.

The Families Programme supports young people (aged 16-24) who have at least one parent who has served or still serves in the British military. Employment advisors can connect young people to events, further training, and employment opportunities. The charity offers an array of events, resources, and advice to help you kickstart your career!

Top tips for finding volunteering or work experience

Sian Kerr, a young person’s employment advisor, offers her advice on how young people can find work experience this summer. She says:

Search your local high street

As a first port of call talk to local charity shops, as they often take on volunteers. Alternatively, if you are aiming for industry-specific experience, contact local businesses. So many jobs never get advertised. Approaching businesses speculatively to offer your services is a great habit to develop.

Look at noticeboards

Shops such as newsagents, supermarkets, libraries, and community centres often have noticeboards. You can scour them for the latest vacancies in your area. Facebook groups are also a great place to start finding opportunities.

Join local groups

Most areas have local interest groups, and many need volunteers to support their activities. Consider your hobbies and interests when searching for groups. Finding scout/guide groups in your area is a good starting point.

Let job sites do the hard work for you

Many job sites include volunteering opportunities. Try searching for volunteer roles on sites such as Indeed, Charity Job, and Youth Capital. Also, Youth Employment can help you find local volunteering opportunities and work experience.

Volunteer with a charity

Many charities are always looking for volunteer support. Think about what interests or excites you. Then narrow down your choices by researching local initiatives or groups. Next, contact them to see if they have opportunities in your area. You can look for volunteer work experience with the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) or the Royal Voluntary Service. Alternatively you can gain virtual work experiences with providers like Hundo or Forage.

Stay ahead of the competition

Talk to your school’s careers department about finding work experience before you break up for the summer holiday. Teachers and advisors may have connections to summer jobs, volunteering, or other opportunities. Make the most of the people around you including your parents, siblings, and friends they may be able to help.

Be prepared

Before you start applying for work experience or volunteer work, prepare by writing a CV. Many organisations will ask you to provide a CV so they can understand who you are. Register with us today for resources, guidance, and support from an employment advisor.

How does the Forces Employment Charity support young people?

By registering with the Families Programme, young people are paired with an employment advisor who can assist them in crafting their first CV, discovering local opportunities, and broadening their career aspirations.

One such success story involves a military child who registered with the Families Programme. Initially, she had a basic CV, which her advisor helped enhance. Despite her best efforts, she was unsuccessful in securing paid roles. Her advisor then recommended that she look for volunteering experience at local charity shops to strengthen her CV and learn transferrable skills.

Following this advice, she revamped her CV and successfully secured a volunteering position with Oxfam in early June. Reflecting on her experience, she said volunteering “really helped me with my customer service skills, my confidence dealing with different situations, and my efficiency.”

After completing her volunteering stint, she and her advisor reviewed and incorporated the new skills and work experiences into her CV. This thorough preparation paid off, as she subsequently secured paid employment as a food and beverage assistant at a prestigious hotel chain.

What’s the next step?

If you are a military child with at least one parent who has served or still serves in the Armed Forces, register with us today! Make the most of the summer holidays to gain work experience, develop new skills, and broaden your support network. Our employment advisors are here to help you kickstart your employment journey.

Navigating the career landscape can be particularly challenging for military spouses and partners, who often encounter unique obstacles in their professional journeys. Yet, with tailored support and the right opportunities, these challenges can be transformed into stepping stones for success. The empowering stories of Reva and Sara Hilton showcase the power of dedicated support in unlocking new career prospects.

Overcoming barriers and embracing new opportunities: empowering Reva

 

What were your biggest challenges when you registered with the Forces Employment Charity?

Meet Reva, a military spouse and TechVets member who faced significant hurdles when she moved to the UK. “I was unfamiliar with the job market itself. I was also uncertain about my skills and the direction that I wanted to take further,” Reva recalls. Adjusting to a new country while trying to find employment proved to be a daunting task.

How did your Families Employment Advisor help you find your new job?

Reva sought assistance from the Families Programme, where she was assigned an employment advisor, Sarah Peñaluna. Sarah provided comprehensive support, helping Reva navigate the UK job market. “Not only did my advisor Sarah help me by optimising the job hunt, reviewing and preparing my CV, and refining my interview skills, but she also recommended a full-time funded cyber security course as I’d mentioned that I was looking for a change in career path—I am currently doing the course,” Reva explains.

Sarah’s assistance extended beyond immediate job search strategies. Sarah helped to empower Reva through meaningful support which boosted her confidence and self-esteem. Reva explains, “My employment advisor helped me with CV preparation, interview techniques, networking advice, and training and education opportunities.” This tailored support gave Reva the confidence and skills necessary to pursue her new career goals.

How did getting a new job empower you?

Securing a new job and enrolling in the cyber security course has profoundly impacted Reva’s life. “My job, along with the course I’m studying, has brought in so much stability in my life, along with confidence and self-assurance for which I’ll be forever grateful to Sarah and the Forces Employment Charity,” Reva expresses. The dedicated support from the Forces Employment Charity and Sarah’s expert guidance has been pivotal in Reva’s successful transition to a new career, showcasing the charity’s effectiveness in supporting military spouses.

Navigating uncertainty and developing self-confidence: empowering Sara Hilton

 

What were your biggest challenges when you registered with the Forces Employment Charity?

Meet Sara Hilton, a military spouse who turned to the Families Programme and TechVets for support in overcoming significant career obstacles. “I faced a lack of direction, an overwhelming choice of courses and career paths, self-confidence issues, and imposter syndrome,” Sara recalls. Navigating these challenges while seeking a new career path in a technical field felt daunting and uncertain.

How did your Families Employment Advisor help you find your new job?

Sara found invaluable support from her employment advisor, Tanja. “Tanja gave great CV support with a fantastic insight into the best way to write, layout, and distribute it. She was always there if I needed anything and super excited for me when I shared my news with her!” Sara explains. Tanja’s assistance went beyond CV preparation, encompassing training and education opportunities, links to local employers, and general support. “I could not have done it without you and TechVets. Thank you so much!” Sara expresses her gratitude.

Through the combined efforts of the Forces Employment Charity and TechVets, Sara received tailored support that addressed her specific needs. “My employment advisor helped me with CV preparation, training and education opportunities, links to local employers, and amazing general support and help,” Sara notes. This comprehensive assistance equipped her with the tools and confidence to pursue a new career in cyber security.

How did getting a new job empower you?

Securing a new job in cyber security has transformed Sara’s life. “It will open up so many opportunities as I build and develop my new career and will allow us as a family to enjoy more time together as I will no longer be working weekends. It has helped me with my self-confidence and my abilities in general,” Sara shares. The impact on her self-identity has been profound: “I am in my late thirties, and since having my three children, I have felt just like ‘Mum,’ but now I am doing this for myself, and it feels amazing!”

Looking ahead, Sara is thrilled about her new career’s endless opportunities. “It is an endless list of possible opportunities within cyber, and I am very excited to get going!” she exclaims. The support from the Forces Employment Charity and TechVets has not only enabled Sara to secure a new job. Still, it has also set her on a path filled with promising prospects, significantly enhancing her personal and professional life.

Would you like to know more?

If you are a military spouse or partner of a still-serving personnel or veteran – are divorced, separated, or bereaved, we can support you on your journey into employment. Register today!

At the Forces Employment Charity, we are committed to ensuring the voices of military families are heard. Therefore, we are excited to announce the launch of the Tri-Service Youth Voice Survey 2024, designed by young people for young people. Are you a young person aged 8 to 17, with one or both of your parents serving or have served? Then please help by completing this quick survey. 

Led by the Tri-Service Youth Voice Steering Group, the survey aims to gather the opinions of as many youth voices as possible. Whether you are addressing the challenges of frequent relocations, social barriers, accessing further education, or work opportunities, every voice matters. The survey is anonymous, ensuring young people may express themselves freely.  

The survey will capture military children’s perspectives, insights, and suggestions. After all, being a part of a Service family can have unique experiences and challenges. The voices of our military youth are vital in shaping the support services and initiatives provided to military families.  

Help us amplify the voices of our Armed Forces youth community by completing the survey today!  

 

Don’t miss out on the survey’s closing date, Friday 31 May 2024.  

If you want to be involved in your area’s youth voice, then please contact the MOD today 

Young People’s Caseworker, Sian Kerr at the Forces Employment Charity, has compiled her top tips for creating a stellar CV to help the military community articulate their skills and experiences. Our advisors support you at every step of your journey and can help you develop interview techniques and build your personal brand.

Register for our services for employment support.

Your CV is a digital representation of you! Think about what you want it to say.

Many companies use AI to filter through CVs. To ensure AI filters don’t overlook your CV, avoid using text boxes, complex formatting, or images. Keep it simple!

Want to read the full article?

Log in to MyForcesEmployment

Join us as we cover our advice on how to write a good CV including:

  • Which format to use
  • How to talk about your work experience
  • Deciding what to include
  • Using references

Register to gain full access to our job-seeker guides which can help you write a winning cover letter, teach you how to negotiate your salary, develop your commercial awareness, and much more.

New findings reveal that one in six military spouses and partners worry about the impact Service life will have on their children[1].

The Month of the Military Child is a time to recognise Service children for their resilience and adaptability. There are nearly 124,500 military children in the UK[2]. Sometimes, these individuals may experience various barriers to employment due to Service life. Over a fifth (22%) of Service families in the past year have moved for Service reasons. Aside from living a mobile lifestyle, common challenges faced by Service children include education gaps and separation from familiar and social networks.

In response to these findings, the Forces Employment Charity is expanding its support for military children with the Young People pilot programme. The programme targets young adults aged 16-24, with at least one parent who has served in the Armed Forces. It helps individuals prepare to take their first steps onto the career ladder. It features many free resources, including one-to-one support, guides, and mentorship. Since the pilot began, we have engaged with 30 schools and colleges, and our Families Programme advisors have supported 660 clients[3].

How we can help military children?

The team at the Forces Employment Charity knows military life inside out. Many of our staff come from military families themselves. We understand the importance of helping young people access education and employment. Our advisors and mentors are here to listen and champion your employability! We can work with you to write or improve your CV, build your personal brand, connect you with partner employers, and much more.

Our National Employment Projects Manager, Kate Mai, has commented,

“The Dandelion is symbolic of military children. They can take root and flourish practically anywhere. They are adaptable and resilient and can thrive in all kinds of circumstances with the proper nurturing, understanding, and support.”

“Research has heightened the awareness and empathy expressed towards Service families, especially regarding the challenges military children face. As part of the pilot, we work with schools, colleges, universities, parents, charities, trusted partners, and stakeholders to meet the needs of young people from our Armed Forces community.”

“We can help you explain your unique circumstances to educators. We can help you convert your experiences into confidence through coaching and mentorship, ensuring you can articulate your needs and aspirations as you progress in life. We are with you at every step of the way!”

Kelly Wales, our Families Education and Skills Liaison, has added,

“As a spouse of someone currently serving in the Armed Forces and a parent, I understand first-hand the challenges of living in a military household. As a community, Forces families face a unique set of circumstances that often aren’t well understood by those outside it.”

“For some, issues like frequent house moves and a lack of nearby close networks can harm schooling. In turn, without the right support, this can have a significantly detrimental impact on longer-term career development.”

“As members of the dedicated Families team at the Forces Employment Charity, we are passionate about ensuring everyone in the military community receives the support they need to succeed with their chosen career goals.”

“The Month of the Military Child is the perfect time to highlight the support available, and we encourage anyone from a Forces background to contact us and find out more about how we can help.”

Ruby is a student and military child, supported by the Forces Employment Charity.

Talking about her experiences with the charity, she says, “The Forces Employment Charity understands what I’ve been through. They’ve motivated me to try new things that benefit my future.”

When discussing the challenges of being a military child, Ruby stated her “education has been impacted. For example, I can’t go to some universities that I would like to, because where I’ve moved to, school only offers a certain amount of qualifications, and sometimes those qualifications aren’t right for the uni I want to go to. The charity has been really useful in helping me figure out the ways to get to where I want to be.”

About the Forces Employment Charity

The Forces Employment Charity provides life-long, life-changing support, job opportunities, and training to Service leavers, veterans, reservists, and their families – regardless of circumstances, rank, length of service, or reason for leaving.

Do you have a parent who has served in the Armed Forces? Register with us for free employment support!

 

Footnotes:
[1] Research undertaken by OnePoll on behalf of the Forces Employment Charity between 8th to 22nd November 2023
[2] https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/61e80893e90e07037ac9e10b/UK_Armed_Forces_Families_Strategy_2022_to_2032.pdf
[3] https://issuu.com/rfeatheforcesemploymentcharity/docs/forces_employment_charity_impact_report_2023_issu/10

The Forces Employment Charity supports military personnel and their families with their employability. Regardless of circumstance, rank, length of service, or reason for leaving the military. Our services extend to Service leavers, veterans, reservists, military spouses/partners, and their dependants. Our team consists of a mixture of staff with civilian and military backgrounds – we’re here to listen!

Join us as we continue our monthly interviews across our departments. Today, we have Kate Mai, our National Employment Projects Manager. This includes the overview of the Families and Military Women Programmes.

Read on to learn about Kate’s role, motivations, and advice to the military community.

Can you tell us about your role at the Forces Employment Charity?

I joined the Forces Employment Charity in 2018. I oversee (Special) Employment Projects, which support families, military women, and vulnerable veterans. The Families Programme provides nationwide support to spouses/partners and the dependants of serving and veteran personnel (aged 16-24).

I lead remote teams of expert advisors who deliver bespoke coaching, mentoring, training, and career guidance to our clients. Advisors also connect individuals with our pool of over 9,000 employer partners. We offer events, webinars, and courses to members of the military community to enhance their employability.

What did you do before joining the Forces Employment Charity?

I worked for the Career Transition Partnership (CTP). I was the Resettlement Centre Manager at HMS Nelson Naval Base in Portsmouth. In my earlier career, I worked for IBM and British Airways in recruitment and resourcing.

Where in the world have you lived because of your parent’s deployment?

My dad was a Royal Navy (RN) Mine Clearance Diver, so we spent about six years on-and-off living in Rosyth, Scotland. Many of our friends were posted with their families to more snazzy destinations such as Naples and North Carolina. We finally had our overseas opportunity when I was a teen, and my dad was posted to Gibraltar, which I loved!

Have you learned any unique skills or hobbies from living in different places?

I have certainly done a bunch of things which I may not have had the opportunity to do if not for my family’s military background! Some of my favourite experiences include sailing school, horse riding at HMS Dryad, jet skiing in the River Forth, sky diving over Salisbury Plain, and gliding from HMS Dedalus.

How has your experience as a Service child influenced your approach to supporting military families through the Families Programme?

My grandads both served in the military, one in the Royal Navy and the other in the Army. My dad was a RN Mine Clearance Diver and bomb disposal expert. He also served on HMS Fearless during the Falklands War. My sister served as RN nurse and was deployed to Sierra Leone to help tackle the Ebola crisis; she also married into the RAF. Military life has been a theme for generations of our family, something we are proud of and is ‘our normal’.

Like many Service children, I was nomadic; I went to a string of schools. This was both stressful and exciting. When I was nine years old, I went away to boarding school for some stability. I made many international friends. At times, the lifestyle stunted my social skills and confidence. On the flip side, from an early age, I flew as an unaccompanied minor to visit my parents during the school holidays which made me feel very grown up and worldly. Service life broadened my horizons, granted me new experiences, and gave me independence and resilience.

In some sense, I can relate to the strapline ‘I was made in the Royal Navy’, as I believe my upbringing as part of a military family shaped who I am today. My experience drives my passion to support military families and the whole Armed Forces community.

What are some of the main challenges military families face when seeking employment?

Military families experience a wide range of challenges, each unique to individual circumstances. Common challenges include frequent moves, social isolation, and an erosion of confidence. This can have a massive impact on their employment journey. Furthermore, employer reluctance, disrupted education, and the affordability of childcare are predominant issues.

The Families Programme supports civilian spouses/partners and their children, while the Military Women programme focuses on career support for female veterans. We provide tailored one-to-one support informed by the needs of individuals who register with us.

Mentorship plays a vital role in career development. How does the Families Programme incorporate mentoring and guidance for Service children and young people?

The MyForcesEmployment online platform, connects our community (aged 18 and over), with an industry professional. Mentors provide insider knowledge on their sector and help mentees refine and achieve their goals. The initiative has had a proven positive impact on the confidence levels of mentees, which has resulted in accelerated progression. The online community has a pool of resources including chat groups, events, and guides. Our corporate mentors are volunteers who share their time, personal experiences, and network. They work across all sectors including technology, finance, energy, education, engineering, healthcare, and more.

What advice would you give to military women seeking employment opportunities or facing career transitions?

Be bold. Research indicates women are more likely to undervalue their skills and experience. They are also more prone to experiencing self-imposed psychological barriers.

Our advisors have experienced service life first-hand. Our Military Women programme supports female veterans in overcoming employment barriers. We are here to empower you and will coach you at every stage of your employment journey.

What resources and guidance are available to young people? How does this differ from the support provided to adult spouses and partners?

Our team are from military families themselves; they get it. We are here to listen and support you with any barriers to employment you may be facing. Our advisors are your champions. They can help you understand your skills, experience, and ambitions. Then, turn these learnings into actionable steps.

Education and Skills Liaison, Kelly Wales, works with educators and wider networks to ensure the right resources and support are in place for military families and young adults. Mentorship can widen aspirations, improve confidence, and help you to build your personal brand. Our advisors and mentors can help you access training, apprenticeships, and practical jobseeker guidance.

Each person’s individual needs shape the support they receive from our dedicated advisors. The Forces Employment Charity offers life-long, life-changing support to all military personnel their spouses/partners and their children.

 

Find out more about our Military Women Programme and our Families Programme!

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