Often people associate the armed forces community with the term ‘sacrifice’. This can be used to describe the sacrifice which one could pay when servicing their nation, or their sacrificing of a normal family life outside the armed forces. However, some of the sacrifices which the brave service people make could perhaps go unseen. Serving within the forces absolutely provides skills, training and experience which can be invaluable to employers. Although people within the armed forces community (current and ex) possess many of the qualities which employers value, they lack the experience and knowledge of applying for jobs, or how to market their attributes to prospective employers when transitioning back to civilian life. That’s where the armed forces charities come in and they play a vital role supportive role within this transition. There is currently a need for the provision of education and employment across the armed forces community. This article aims at setting the scene and highlighting the current levels of support which are offered by UK armed forces charities.

The current landscape

Research conducted by the Directory of Social Change (DSC) showed that within the UK, there are approximately 1,200 armed forces charities, 78 of which currently make provision for education and / or employment support (6.5% of all UK armed forces charities). The DSC go further to divide armed forces charities into two distinct categories:

  1. Primary providers – those that provide support for one specific need and frequently commit to this single cause, they might focus solely on education or employment.
  2. Secondary providers – provide support for a wide range of causes and do not focus on one area. For example, Help for Heroes or The Royal British Legion.

Within the UK, Primary and Secondary providers make-up 41% and 59% of the armed forces market respectively.  Figures show that the number of armed forces personnel which had access to educational support totalled 35,800 per year, whereas the annual figure for those individuals which received employment support was 28,100. This indicates that the majority of charities (59%) are delivering a range of support for education and employment to the wider armed forces community, with 8.9% offering specialist support. The four main groups of beneficiaries for this support are the ex-military veterans (which are supported by 87% of charities), current servicing personnel (which are supported by 64.1% of charities), dependants, and spouse / partners (which are both supported by 62.8% of charities).

How are the beneficiaries supported

Educational support comprises of a variety of methods and training practises. These services provided by UK charities are categorised by the DSC into five main groups:

  1. Academic learning – which supports national qualifications such as GCSEs or a university degree
  2. Vocational training – these are the practical skills which prepare individuals for a trade job or industry, an example is apprenticeships and NVQs
  3. Transitional Training –  aimed at ex-military veterans to develop crucial skills such as financial budgeting
  4. Professional training – aimed at developing and advancing an individual’s career, for example management or office leadership training
  5. Military training – these are the skills which help to accelerate a service person’s career, for example career development

From above, vocational skills training is comfortable the most popular educational support type provided, with 43.6% of UK armed forces charities offering such services. 34.6% of which also offered transitional-skills support. Employment services also spread vastly across the armed forces charity market. The most popular of which was employment advice, which is offered by 61% of charities, followed by job seeking support and recruitment consultancy support (39%).

According to data, armed forces charities have an annual estimated spend of £25,641871 on education and employment support, with 42.3% and 37.3% of charities offering these services respectively. This support is usually provided via grants to individuals to develop these educational  and employment prospects, however, this is only offered by fewer than one fifth of all uk armed forces charities. Signposting is another service which is available via the charities, over one third of which recommend individuals to other organisations they collaborate with in order to get the full educational and employment support to the armed forces community.

Overall, we can see that transitional support is available to members of the forces community from the various charities across the UK. At Ex-Mil, we have a terrific track record of successfully transitioning thousands of men and women from military into civilian life. Coupling this with our longstanding history within the recruitment industry, we have gained truly  invaluable expertise, putting us in a league of our own and setting us in good stead to successfully match all candidates with their desired roles.

If you’d like to find out how Ex-Mil Recruitment can assist your employment needs, please contact our founder Jean-Claude on [email protected] or call +44 (0)333 202 6500 ext 1.