Recruit for Spouses is an award-winning, independent social enterprise, run largely by people whose spouses are serving in the Armed Forces. We exist to help military spouses find a job or start a business that works for them.
Military spouses sacrifice everything to follow their partners who are serving in the British Army, the Navy and the Royal Air Force. Recruit for Spouses is not just about finding a job. It’s about spouses re–establishing their identity and independence – building a fulfilling life that benefits them, their partners and their families.
When military spouses are able to return to the workplace, employers can tap into the talent and skills they offer – benefiting their business and the economy as a whole.
Recruit for Spouses is leading the change towards a world where the wives, husbands and partners of our Armed Forces find it easy to secure work, rather than facing prejudice.
Where they’re no longer disadvantaged in their career. Where they’re supported, not forgotten, and where marrying into the forces no longer holds them back professionally.
We see a time when military spouses have a support network that allows them to seize opportunities and to build the lifestyle they dream of. Their military connection becomes an enabler not a barrier. They are inspired and empowered to take action. Their lives are made easier by employers who support their goals.
In turn, businesses benefit from the vast pool of resourceful, resilient and adaptable talent that has lain untapped for so many years.
Our vision of the future is a win-win situation for military spouses and employers alike. It alters the way military spouses live and work, shapes the way businesses source and retain quality employees, and changes the perception of Forces’ spouses as a transient workforce.
Married to a serving member of the Armed Forces, Heledd Kendrick found herself newly unemployed. Having always worked, Heledd noticed a stark contrast in her new world. “I thought it was quite surreal,” she says. “So very many spouses and partners were just accepting that their careers were over. It seemed so unfair.”
Heledd realised that despite the vast number of military businesses and charities offering career advice and employment to serving personnel and veterans, there was little or no support for the wives and partners who had already sacrificed so much.
Through her previous career, working with elite sportsmen and women, Heledd had learned that when something’s not right, you fix it. So, in 2011, she set up Recruit for Spouses to challenge the status quo – to get employers to understand military spouses and see them as an untapped resource with huge potential.
“Since 2011, RFS has helped more than 800 spouses into work and helped hundreds more with their CVs.”
Five years ago, employment for spouses wasn’t formally recognised as a problem, yet each military household told a different story. Since then, Recruit for Spouses has worked tirelessly for spouses to build their career opportunities. Now they are firmly on the agenda and included in the Covenant (a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly).
In 2013, our contribution to helping the wives and partners of our Armed forces was recognised with a Big Society Award, awarded by former Prime Minister, David Cameron, in 2013, and in 2014 with a Duke of York’s Entrepreneur award.
“Service families often have little choice about where they live or when they have to move. This is why we must make a clear effort to help service spouses achieve employment wherever they find themselves living.” Former Prime Minister David Cameron 2013
We continue to fight for a level playing field so that military spouses are treated equally in the employment space. We want to end the preconceptions around transiency. Military spouses may have to move on after a couple of years but they’re adaptable, resilient and reliable. They get things done, so an employer can benefit immensely in this time.
In 2014, Recruit for Spouses was accepted onto the Deloitte Social Pioneers Programme for ‘Social enterprises who are making a significant impact in their industry’. In 2016, we were then accepted onto the Deloitte Society Partners Programme, part of the ‘One Million Futures’ social impact strategy . Working with Deloitte on this three-year programme will enable us to speed up our progress in developing employment opportunities for military spouses.
In 2016 we helped 824 military spouses create CV’s, placed 64 spouses in jobs, sourced 324 new career opportunities and given 75 military spouses enhanced digital skills.