What we do and Why we do it
By Maxine Crawford- Taylor
Recruit for Spouses’ (RfS): our name is our bond. We exist to identify the talent hidden within the UK’s military communities and
act as a gateway to the job market, reinvigorating skilled, experienced and resourceful individuals, the partners of our serving
personnel, and supporting them to overcome outdated perceptions about mobility – and suitability – as they return to the workplace.
WHO DO WE HELP?
The partners, female or male, of any Serving member of our Armed Forces. The MoD estimates that there are currently 57,000 spouses of active-duty Service personnel in the UK: that’s a huge recruitment opportunity.
Changing outlooks, changing lives where confidence has taken a knock due to CV gaps caused by frequent moves or foreign postings, RfS steps in. “Your CV-writing webinar was brilliant,” writes one spouse. “I completely redid my CV and applied for a few more jobs, got interviewed for most of them, and took one which I enjoy. Without the CV workshop, I’m not sure my CV would have been considered.”
A recent 2017 survey asked military spouses what RfS services they’d used; we also asked how RfS has helped them build confidence and reclaim their career. The results?
• 50% of respondents have used RfS for job matching or to submit applications;
• a similar proportion have joined our Facebook Private Members’ Forum;
• almost half are now applying or have a new job.
Here’s a typical example of how we’re changing lives from the responses we received:
“Before I found ‘Recruit for Spouses’, I was feeling extremely negative about my options, and even told my husband he had to leave the Forces. I received help and support from your webinars but the mentoring programme was incredible – it completely changed my perspective. I now have a job with a valued employer, I’m happily married and my husband is still in!”
WHY DOES THE NEED EXIST?
In today’s world, the role of a military spouse – whilst always the first line of support for those who keep our country safe – has shifted: increasingly, a second income is required to allow military families to achieve social mobility or buy a home. Our military spouse community is better educated than ever before, yet many are either without work or in jobs that do not utilise their full skill set. Compounding this is an unconscious bias in many businesses which assumes military spouses will make unreliable employees due to frequent postings or the prolonged absence of a Serving partner: times have changed, however, and military families have more opportunities for stability than ever, while the right job can also be a reason to stay.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR EMPLOYERS?
According to a 2016 Grassroots survey, 45% of military spouses are graduates while 70% have management experience – not only is business missing out on a high-achieving group, the military lifestyle has equipped potential candidates in other ways: by their nature, military spouses are adaptable and resourceful, capable of forging good relationships in a fast-paced environment, and unfazed by change. What’s more, by employing a military spouse, companies demonstrate their commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant, the contract that exists between our nation and its defenders, sending ripples of goodwill into the local community, as well as farther afield.
WHAT DO WE OFFER?
Alongside mentoring suitable candidates into specific roles, and upskilling members via appropriate courses, ‘Recruit for Spouses’ offers CV clinics that are invaluable to spouses who may have CV gaps due to postings. For business, we form a vital link to an otherwise overlooked pool of talent.
THE FACTS AND FIGURES
During 2016-17, ‘Recruit for Spouses’:
• attracted approximately 400 spouses to webinars covering life coaching, business start-up and brand promotion;
• awarded £6,500 in social media training bursaries;
• put 55 attendees through nationwide digital skills workshops, from Wiltshire to Scotland;
• sent regular newsletters to more than 3,000 contacts.
We also offer a community where spouses can trade experiences and encourage each other into more
challenging work – RfS has + 7,000 followers on Facebook, with above 1000 in their private
members’ forum, and more than 22,000 followers on Twitter.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
However, don’t just rely on our say-so. Our spouses’ experiences on the ground speak volumes:
“It [the coaching] has given me confidence and self-belief, as well as motivation and inspiration. This experience has
been more than helpful, it has been life-changing. I firmly believe this should be expanded and made available to
all spouses, dependents and ex-military personnel.”
Bridie Barber – BAE Coaching
“This allows me to have my own career, continue to gain consistent experience, and my own income.”
Jenna Barnard – successful candidate
“Thank you! Today’s course meant more than you can imagine. ‘Recruit for Spouses’ has ignited something in me – a
huge thank you to Freeformers for opening my creative abilities.”
Selina Thompson – digital skills workshop attendee
“This is an organisation that understands the situation you are in and will help you have a great career which you can work around the massive demands of military life. Its easy to apply, extremely supportive and has a great community on social channels.”
Sioned Johnson – successful candidate
“I was registered with ‘Recruit for Spouses’ for a matter of weeks before the position at Kitcamp was advertised, and
it was perfect: part-time hours and working from home meant I could use my teaching experience, run parallel my
current MA study in Education Policy, and be a mum supporting the family whilst my husband works away.
RfS gave me support to add a new facet to my professional practice. Now I use the teacher training and
experience I received in previous years to give more children access to play and inspire educators in their practice,
alongside like-minded people.”
Lyndsey-Lee Dunwoody – Education Consultant, Kitcamp
“I did the previous webinar on CV writing and it was excellent. I feel much more confident about my CV now and
certainly have a different mindset … worth doing.”
Avril Steele – CV writing webinar