As a wife or husband of a serving member the Armed Forces, life involves constant change and sacrifice. Postings and relocations inevitably involve moving house, changing job, leaving family and friends behind, settling children in to new schools, and all this is often done without the help of a partner who may be deployed overseas. The consequences of this on family life can be far-reaching, not least for the spouses who can find themselves forced out of the workplace, unable to maintain their career alongside the regular challenges posed by military life.
After years of sacrificing her career for the sake of her husband’s, Heledd Kendrick, herself Army wife and mother of two, decided to bite the bullet and set up her business to address the problem and help other spouses in the same predicament. During her years as military wife, she had come across a wealth of professionally qualified, personally motivated military spouses who were unemployed as a result of their husband or wife's career choice. These people were stuck in a professional rut, unable to find fulfilling employment, primarily because of age-old stereotypes surrounding people attached to the military in recruitment agencies: little ability to commit to demanding roles and a propensity for leaving at short (or no) notice due to the ever changing and moving nature of military service.
For Heledd, the concept and aim was simple: to create a website that would act as a catalyst between service spouses looking for employment and national employers looking for employees. All she needed was a cash-injection to kick-start the business and a strong support network that could guide her along the way - that’s where we came in. On hearing about the Women’s Section and the support we provide, Heledd pitched her idea to our Central Committee who were as passionate about helping her as she was about the business. Several months later, (and after a healthy start-up grant from The Women’s Section), ‘Recruit for Spouses’ was officially launched on January 16th 2012.
By way of definition, Recruit for Spouses (RFS) is an online recruitment agency which links up prospective employers with service spouses looking for work. “It’s essentially about providing flexible and interesting employment for spouses of Servicemen and women”, explains Heledd. “The barriers we face – the transient and unpredictable lifestyle we lead – can be easily bypassed by using a virtual recruitment and working environment”.
And the process is very simple. Spouses upload their CVs, the employees advertise their vacancies online, and the eight strong RFS team match the two together. The types of jobs available are wide ranging, including contract work, part-time and full-time vacancies, job-shares as well as working from home roles. While employers are charged a nominal fee, it’s completely free to join and all profits made are re-diverted into the company and nominated service charities, including the Women’s Section.