RFEA, the forces employment charity, is celebrating this year’s International Women’s Day on 8 March, by hosting ‘Empowering You 2.0’, to boost employability amongst military women, as well as the partners and spouses of serving and ex-forces personnel.
Following on from last year’s successful inaugural event, Empowering You 2.0 is a free, virtual event hosted by leading women in business. Taking place between 10.30-12pm, the event will focus on ‘thriving in a crisis’ and will tackle specific challenges that have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Led by representatives from Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group and Military Coworking Network, sessions will cover; get clear on what you want from your career, who you are and what you offer; build your personal brand; how to stand out and pitch yourself at the level you want to work at – for returners and those that want to step up or step back; boost confidence, resilience and self-esteem.
Preparing for the job market
Kristina Bickerton, senior control manager at Lloyds Banking Group, who is leading one of the sessions, says: “I’m delighted to get behind the great work RFEA is doing to empower ex-servicewomen and the partners and spouses of serving and ex-forces personnel, so they have the best chance of bringing their skills to the workforce in a meaningful way. As someone who works for an organisation that already recognises the importance of hiring a diverse workforce, I’m really keen to play my part and help other women where they may face more barriers to entering the job market than others.”
Research shows that female veterans, as well as partners and spouses of those serving in the armed forces, often step off their career pathways to take on greater caring responsibilities and, unlike their male counterparts, may unfortunately undervalue their experience and may deselect themselves from roles they are suitable for.
Coping with additional pressures
Kate Mai, employment projects manager at RFEA, says: “In addition to barriers that existed pre-COVID, many ex-servicewomen and military partners/spouses have been hit with an additional combination of pressures during the pandemic. There has been an impact on health and wellbeing, financial security and redundancy, caring responsibilities, juggling a job search with home-schooling, tougher competition for advertised positions and a decline in flexible options, such as hospitality and retail.”
RFEA is dedicated to tackling these challenges head on. The charity is actively working with employers that are currently recruiting, across sectors such as the financial, technology and healthcare industries.
RFEA also provides tailored support and access to corporate mentoring through two specialist programmes – Military Women and the Families Programme. Both are led by expert employment advisors who have experienced many of the same challenges as RFEA clients and can help maximise their employability, whether it be through offering CV advice, interview skills or help with finding suitable employment opportunities.
Kate adds: “Empowering You 2.0 is a brilliant addition to our Military Women and Families programmes and we would encourage anyone seeking support in their job search to take part – and what better day to do it than International Women’s Day?”
For further information on the event and employment advice, visit www.rfea.org.uk/empoweringyou2