The employment experiences of service people will be researched in new information by the University’s Centre for Research in Veterans.
The Centre has been awarded a £50,000 grant from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust to carry out a project called ‘Employment Experiences of Serving Partners’, which will help to raise awareness in both the private and public sector of instances of disadvantage caused by Service to partners, while also helping to identity possible gaps and ensure easy access to support to partners and spouses.
The project has been informed by co-production with military partners and will look to understand the employment experiences of both accompanied and unaccompanied partners of regular serving personnel. It will examine both the barriers and potential solutions to improve employment opportunities for serving partners and provide an example resource which will be widely accessible.
The grant has been made as part of the Armed Forces Families Fund which supports Forces families across the UK.
In January 2022, the Ministry of Defence published the Armed Forces Families Strategy 2022-2032, its 10-year strategy for improving support to Armed Forces families.
Following the launch of the strategy, the MOD created the Armed Forces Families Fund, a dedicated fund to deliver against the eight themes of the strategy: Family Life, Service Life, Family Home, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Childcare, Support to Partners and Spouses, and Non-UK families.
The Centre for Research in Veterans supports the Armed Forces Community through research, educational provision and community engagement.
Dr Alan Finnegan, Director of the Westminster Centre for Research in Veterans and Professor of Nursing and Military Health at the University of Chester, said: “Gaining employment is often difficult for serving partners due to frequent moves and postings to isolated locations. A lack of childcare when living away from their established support networks perpetuates the problem, whilst fearing that potential employers may discriminate due to their highly mobile status.
“This project offers a chance for military partners to present their lived experiences of employment and we are extremely fortunate to gain this grant which means so much to our Veterans team. We are really looking forward to being involved with this opportunity and are determined to improve the landscape for those who often sacrifice the most.”