When you’re trying to forge a career while supporting your serving partner, there can be conflicts about which comes first.

An increasing number of organisations recognise that a military spouse or partner’s career shouldn’t be the automatic casualty of this conflict and are working to support family members when they find themselves disadvantaged.

Part of this work is to appoint specific staff members who have a good understanding of service life and its challenges. They’re there to support you and work on your behalf to challenge company policies which often don’t consider the nuances of military life.

Jenna Richardson, AFF’s employment & training specialist, says: “Whilst it’s frustrating when our civilian workplace commitments clash with our military ones at home, it’s important to remember that it’s generally due to a
lack of understanding on the part of the employer – it’s not deliberately malicious and can often be resolved by talking to the right people.”

Case study

Nurse Becky Petrucci (pictured right with her family) recently returned from an overseas posting with her family only to find herself at the bottom of the pay scale because she’d been out of the NHS for more than twelve months.

“I contacted Jenna, who recommended that I got in touch with the NHS Trust’s armed forces champion for help,” she explains.

By engaging with him and the HR team, not only was Becky returned to her pre-posting position on the pay scale, but she was also paid the money she would have earned if she had been placed at the correct grade initially.

“Your career can take a back seat to your serving partner’s, but it was uplifting that someone agreed that my situation was unjust,” Becky says. “Having armed forces champions is so important as they understand that unique situations arise for military families.”

Promoting the military community

Guy Benson (pictured right with HRH The Princess Royal) is the military and civil integration lead and liaison officer at Wiltshire Council and had a lengthy career in the army. “This role gives me the opportunity to promote the value of the broader military community,” he says.

As well as developing relationships between military and civilian communities, Guy answers enquiries relating to issues such as housing, education, healthcare and employment.

Guy is a part of the Jobs and Employment for the Military in the South West (Project JEMS) working group. He adds: “Project JEMS works with different stakeholders in the region to provide employment and training opportunities for military spouses. Several employers have signed up to the scheme – roles are advertised on the Forces Families Jobs website.”

Get in touch

Find out if your employer has an armed forces champion or similar role, by asking your HR team or looking on your company website. Alternatively, email Jenna at employment@aff.org.uk

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