AFF has teamed up with workforce expert Manpower to give Army families in the Salisbury Plain area the chance to access free-of-charge employability advice and support. We attended one of the sessions to find out more…

SPOUSES in Bulford have been taking advantage of a range of support including CV advice, interview techniques and how to approach the job market, as well as gaining access to live job opportunities. The informal, family-friendly sessions were available during regular coffee mornings.

One Army spouse, Wendy Evans, has already found work with a little help from Rhys O’Leary, one of the Manpower consultants.

Wendy had been a stay-at-home mum for more than ten years and felt the time was right to find something for her.

Rhys suggested some tweaks to her CV and encouraged her to give it to her prospective employer in person to show that she really wanted the job.

“He just gave me that little bit of a shove that I needed to say: ‘actually, I can do this!’” said Wendy.

Laura Lewin, AFF’s Employment and Training Specialist, explained why AFF went into the partnership: “We wanted to provide support to enable family members to become employment ready.

“We’ve collaborated with Manpower to ensure that we addressed barriers spouses often tell us about such as access to local provisions and childcare.”

Employment inspiration

Sarah, an Army spouse and jobseeker, gave us her reasons for attending: “I have found in the past that some companies are not supportive with my spouse being in the military. However, coming along has been beneficial in getting my CV up-to-date – a lot has changed since I did my last one.

“Having the support from Andy [from Manpower] has been fantastic. He is very knowledgeable and easy to talk to. I’ve also received support to do online courses, which I can do from home.

“Laura and all the other staff made me feel at ease as I was slightly nervous at the first session.

“I’d encourage anyone to come along even just if it’s for an informal chat – you can even bring your children with you. They are very welcoming, supportive and non-judgemental. You have nothing to lose.”

Rhys agreed: “Entering the workforce again or for the first time can be daunting.

“We’re really pleased to be able to use our years of experience to support military families.

“We know people will have different questions and concerns and that’s why we’ve been offering support, coaching and practical advice as well as discussing live job opportunities. We hope to do more of these workshops moving forward.”

What next?

Feedback has been positive with numerous spouses telling us that they have gained new skills and confidence.

AFF hopes to continue the sessions in the Salisbury Plain area and roll out to further locations in the future.

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