Walking home from a coffee morning at a fellow military wife’s home in January 2009, I had an idea. During my years as military wife, I had come across a wealth of professionally qualified, personally motivated military spouses who were unemployed as a result of their husband or wife’s career choice. These people were stuck in a professional rut, unable to find fulfilling employment.
I realised that amongst the plethora of military businesses and charities offering career advice to serving personnel and veterans, there wasn’t much support for the partners of those still serving.
These people were stuck in a professional rut, unable to find fulfilling employment, primarily because of age-old stereotypes surrounding people attached to the military in recruitment agencies – that they aren’t able to commit to demanding roles and might leave at short notice due to the ever changing and moving nature of military service.
That’s why I set up Recruit for Spouses, which sets out to make employers realise this perception is wrong and also pay attention to the pool of talent they are overlooking because of it.
Once businesses realise the undiscovered talent that is available to them they are incredibly supportive. It’s not about special treatment. Those attached to the military through their partners are employed on their merits and skills.
I knew that the 100,000 military partners in the UK are able to give absolute dedication, professional conviction and quality professional output. So it was that Recruit for Spouses was created.
Prime Minister David Cameron recently recognised the work and achievements of Recruit for Spouses with a Big Society Award. Cameron said: “The families of our Armed Forces make extraordinary sacrifices every day as they support husbands, wives and partners through deployment after deployment.
“It’s inspirational to see Heledd do so much to help thousands of military spouses start or maintain fulfilling careers. This work shines a light on the huge range of talent and skills that can sometimes be over-looked amongst military spouses.
“I’m delighted to be recognising their achievements with this Big Society Award.”
Case Study: Dianne Dawson, customer service representative, major online retailer
After 12 years in Scotland, enjoying steady employment in the same area, Royal Air Force wife Dianne Dawson found herself posted to RAF Cosford in Shropshire.
“I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to find work when we moved. The first questions I was asked were: how long are you here? How often does your husband go away? Does it affect your childcare arrangements?”
Dianne, came across the Recruit For Spouses website by accident, not long after it launched in January 2012, and searched for home-based jobs. She sent her CV to Recruit For Spouses talent acquisition manager Susie Richards who offered guidance.
“I was supported and she would check how I was getting on. It really was a personally tailored service which I don’t think you’d get anywhere else.”
Susie identified and maximised Dianne’s transferable skills and she was soon snapped up by one of RFS’s clients. Dianne and her family – husband Jamie and sons, Charlie, seven, and Henry, four – are enjoying being a double income household.
“We can treat the kids and afford holidays which is something we couldn’t do without a second wage. I want to have a career and RFS has helped me to find that balance.”
Find out more at the Recruit for Spouses website.