Military wives – why North-East employers should sign them up

MILITARY wives with partners in the British Armed Forces based across the region struggle to find work. Heledd Kendrick, who is married to an army captain, explains why she set up Recruit for Spouses and why they are such an asset to have in a workforce.

How important is it to have your own work identity when you marry into the military?

I think for any person whether you’re a mum or not it’s important to have your own identity. If you are a military wife you have to think like a single parent in so many ways so there can be more challenges.

Your serving partner spends a lot of time away, so for a lot of women and men it’s crucial for your own sanity. A lot of military wives have told us that they work because they need that focus.

One of the reasons why you (pictured above with your family) set up Recruit for Spouses was because wives were being failed by the usual recruitment channels – why is there such prejudice against military wives?

We’ve seen a really positive shift of change in the last four years, when we first started we were inundated with emails from wives who were being prejudice against during their job search it was so unfair but they were just getting on with it and subjugating their careers as a result just to get a job.

These were people who were sending out hundreds of applications and CV’s and being rejected because they were seen as too transient.

As a result, we found that by bringing attention to this issue, people would start to listen and they did, we met with senior cabinet minsters to tackle this issue head on, we even met the Prime Minister which really did change the course for military spouse employment.

You now help the 100,000 military spouses across the UK and forge relationships with employers – what are the particular skills wives can offer gleaned from their way of life?

Employers are recognising that from a community level, spouses can offer a lot to a small employer. By  the very nature of their lives, they are adaptable, resourceful and extremely resilient, soft skills that a lot of employers would die for. Employers are starting to realise the advantage of employing someone even if it is just for a couple of years.

Why is it so important military wives are valued?
It’s important that anyone is valued in a job, for members of our military it was only fair they had a level playing field which they didn’t and now they do. We don’t need special treatment just to be employed on our merits.

We have army barracks at Albemarle as and Catterick is the largest British army garrison in the world, the North-East and North Yorkshire also have RAF Boulmer, RAF Leeming and RAF Linton on Ouse. What should local employers do to tap into this skilled workforce?

We can help at! But also there are lots of ways to tap into this workforce, we encourage military spouses to find their own path there are many different ways employers can do so by advertising at the locally and through the army Hive network.

You have said you want people to change their perceptions of military wives and understand that they give up so much for their husbands to fight for this country – how vital is it for them to be treated equally?

As I mentioned earlier, it’s not about special treatment it’s about a level playing field, at the end of the day employers want to understand what’s in it for them and that’s why it’s important for an employer to employ staff on their merits, not just because they are a military wife.

But if you do get a military wife applying for a job for example, they may apply as a hotel receptionist and you may see that on her CV she may have changed jobs a lot in a short space of time, don’t see that as a negative  – that was out of her control – but you may find she worked as a marketing manager at Claridges – we’ve seen that before. Don’t be scared, be honoured that they are applying to you for a job and snap them up quickly!

What difference does it make to solders/aircrew/navy fighting in warzones across the world to know that their partners are happy and fulfilled at home?

We’ve had a lot of feedback from our serving personnel saying how different his or her wife/partner is from working. It’s not just about being on ops it’s about supporting the military family which is so important. Employers get so much back.


Recruit for Spouses :Website       Call 0333-2020996