Sometimes the best way to learn is from others. Having a mentor can grow your confidence and provide a source of practical support, encouragement and advice. Here at AFF, new starters are paired with buddies to help them settle in, and many employers now offer formal coaching in the workplace. A mentor is described in the Oxford Dictionary as an ‘experienced and trusted advisor’, and there are many organisations who offer exactly that to service families. We explore some of the great initiatives you can sign up to…

If you’re a job-seeking military spouse or partner, consider tapping into the resources offered by RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity.

Following a successful pilot scheme, it’s extending its Families Programme thanks to a generous grant from Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund.

The programme was launched to help spouses and partners of serving and ex-forces personnel into employment with the support of a dedicated families employment advisor. The boost in funding will now enable more advisors to help you find meaningful employment.

Danielle Fitzwilliam (pictured above), whose partner is in the army, says: “We have two young children so when he’s away it makes it hard to juggle shift patterns with school runs. This has an impact on how much work I can commit to, which then knocks on to our financial situation.

“I came across RFEA through a parent forum. My advisor, Lee Johnston, was a breath of fresh air – she understood where I was coming from. After a discussion about my situation, she sent me all sorts of jobs which worked around my needs, including jobs based from home, or those with flexible working hours.

“When I got an interview, Lee coached me in how to answer well during an interview. I’m so thankful for her invaluable support – nothing was ever too much trouble. I now have a superb role in a great company that offers the flexibility I need.”

Lee adds: “As a military spouse I understand first-hand many of the unique challenges that come with trying to find employment, so the support I offer can be very much tailored to the individual.”

The Families Programme works closely with Forces Families Jobs and uses RFEA’s network of more than 9,000 employers who actively recruit from the service community. The UK-wide programme is also open to divorced spouses and widows/widowers, subject to eligibility.

Go to rfea.org.uk/families for more details.

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