SOME of the most common enquiries that come to AFF are around employment and how spouses and partners can make work “work” for them, writes AFF Chief Executive Sara Baade.

It’s something that I feel very passionate about. Having worked all my adult life, as an Army spouse, a mum and lately as a single mum, I know and understand that making work “work” when you’re mobile, and often on your own, is not easy.

Employment is so important for many of us, not just for an additional source of income, but to provide us with an identity and confidence.

Army spouses are often referred to as “dependants”, a truly archaic term and one that I’m much against; by having meaningful employment we gain a sense of independence and challenge this way of thinking. We break down the old-fashioned views that spouses and partners are reliant on their soldier for financial and emotional security.

Supporting you

It’s for all of these reasons that we are trying to support family members into employment as much as we can here at AFF. We do this through partnerships with the likes of Manpower and developing relationships with organisations such as Recruit for Spouses, but also by putting pressure on the Army, MOD and the wider government to consider spousal employment at all times, especially when planning for the future.

We know what the main barriers to spousal and partner employment are – childcare, mobility and lack of opportunities to name some; however, what we don’t yet know is how we can better break down those barriers. There are many courses, training and work initiatives available, but you have told us that this is an area you struggle with.

Take part in our research

I’m delighted that we’ve been granted LIBOR funding to do some additional and more in-depth research into the issue, to better understand what would make a real difference to you.

Look out for how you can get involved this autumn at aff.org.uk

I would love to hear your ideas on what practical solutions you think would help with spousal employment – tweet @The_AFF or email us@aff.org.uk

I look forward to hearing from you.

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