We are delighted to introduce you to Natalie, a military spouse who used Forces Families Jobs to find her current role. When her previous employer restructured due to COVID-19, Natalie was made redundant after 15 years of employment.
She explains: “Being made redundant was scary and I didn’t know what my future looked like. I’d worked for the same company for many years and the employment space was a tough one. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make myself stand out and find an employer that would consider my position as a military spouse.”
From her time volunteering in the military community, she knew about FFJ and started her job hunt using the site, which she describes as “easy-to-use and straightforward to navigate.”
Natalie explained that her new role has given her family the financial stability that they lost through her redundancy and enabled her to move into a new industry, which affords her a better work-life balance.
Her advice to other military spouses who are looking for work is: “Go for it – you have nothing to lose! Sometimes it can feel like you have lost your identity and are ‘just’ the spouse, but FFJ really can give you the opportunity and support to find a career that you might once have thought was out of your reach. FFJ makes it easier to access companies who are already aware of the determination, versatility, loyalty and commitment that military families can offer.”
Megan Green, a military spouse living in Germany, secured her new job with Forces Families Jobs.
Here's her story:
Before you signed up for FFJ, can you tell us about any issues or challenges you had in the past with finding work?
Especially when we arrived over here, I’d applied for a school job but it didn’t quite work. The application didn’t get seen in time for the deadline, and it was just a case of trying to find a job that worked around my son to help us out a bit and get him into nursery.
How did you hear about FFJ?
I heard about it from the coffee morning and also through Facebook as well so for about a month I’d sat with the website ready to go.
How easy did you find it to use?
It’s actually quite easy. There’s a search bar and all you’ve got to do is type in your area, so I typed in Sennelager and the NAAFI job came up. It was straightforward to click on the job, and it would tell you the job description, and then clicking the apply button and you went through the system, registering and adding you CV, and that was it, it was done. I sent it, and then it was fingers crossed waiting to hear about the job. Applying was really straightforward, it took about 5 to 10 minutes.
How did it compare to your previous experience of applying for jobs here?
It’s definitely a lot easier than doing it any other way.
What does getting a job mean to you?
Getting a job was to get me out and about, getting me working again as I’d spent nearly two years not working. It also meant I could get my son into nursery, which has helped him a lot and it gives us that extra stability of being able to pay the bills. It just makes our family life a lot better because we’ve got two incomes coming in rather than just relying on one to do everything.
What top tips would you give people who are looking for work here?
Have a look on FFJ to see if there are any jobs, and also speaking to other people. It’s just a case of listening out.
How did the employer (NAAFI) support you through the application process?
They were amazing – it was straightforward and they were very helpful.
What’s changed for you since COVID-19?
The only thing that’s changed is the amount of hours that I do. NAAFI have allowed me to work a couple of hours in the morning so that I can still get my wage. They’ve been really helpful with that. If anything changes and my son goes back to nursery, I can change my hours and be flexible.
How quickly were NAAFI able to reassure you and get that new system in place?
Within about 2 days of them knowing the nursery was shutting down, my line manager and supervisor were both quick to reassure me, saying they would work around it. Within 3 days I was working my new hours.
Would you recommend that people consider other employment?
I definitely would. This is a completely different job for me and I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been smooth, the bosses have been really helpful. It’s something I would definitely recommend to give you a different skill set from what you’re used to if that type of job is not available. It’s definitely worth it.
What’s the best thing about your job?
In the mornings it’s nice to have a chat with everyone, it’s just a nice start to the morning.
‘I found it hard to get interviews and found when I did employers couldn't be flexible enough with regards to childcare when my husband goes away. I spent 18 months applying for jobs and eventually gave up until I met Lucy and Wendy from NFF. They reminded me about Forces Families Jobs and showed me the positives about being a military wife and how these can translate to my CV.' AnnMarie, Royal Marines spouse
We’re delighted to be able to share AnnMarie’s story of how she found work as a teaching assistant at a school in Dundee through Forces Families Jobs.
We asked her about the challenges of finding work, how she found the process of using the site, what getting a job means to her, whether her new employer has been understanding of the military lifestyle and what advice she has for other spouses.
See what she has to say...and please share your success stories with us too.
Vasemaca (Pase) Manu, a military spouse, secured a job with Valo Ltd through FFJ
Did you have any previous challenges when looking for work?
I had been working for a big bank before I moved to Northern Ireland. When I moved, I was transferred to a different bank, owned by the previous bank, as they did not have any community banking opportunities in Northern Ireland. The transition was great, and my employer was incredibly supportive.
However, I was struggling with my husband being away lots, managing three kids and working every Saturday. It was beginning to be difficult and stressful to balance work and life, so I decided to look for something new which could be more suited and flexible to the life that we led as a military family.
Normally, I register myself with sites like REED and Indeed to find work.
Where did you hear about FFJ?
I received Army&You magazine and that’s when I saw an article on Forces Families Jobs. I thought I would have a look and see, and I also saw a post on Facebook about it and wanted to find out more.
At the time my husband was due to be posted to Aldershot in the next three months. The role I had applied for was to cover anywhere in southern area, and even though I was not in that location, I thought I would give it a go anyway.
The day that I submitted my application, I received an email from the director that evening saying that he was interested. This was then followed up by a call the following day.
How easy was FFJ to use?
I explored the site, and it was so easy. Everything was laid out, including all the options that were available to me. It was very easy to navigate for jobs and it was very transparent. All the information that I needed as a military wife and job seeker was right there.
I was able to select jobs that would work well for me as a wife, mother and a student. The vacant positions highlighted exactly what was required of the applicant and I could easily identify with that. Particularly for this post with Valo, it was relevant to my work experience and personality.
Additionally, FFJ was incredibly straightforward to use and offered lots of flexibility.
How did Valo Ltd support you?
They were incredibly supportive. They believed in me during my initial telephone conversations with them (phone interview). I was very surprised to receive a further phone call from them advising me that I was invited to a face-to-face interview and that the company was willing to pay for my travel costs from Northern Ireland to Croydon a few days later.
During this pandemic, Valo has been very supportive by providing online training, and their communication is very robust. They made sure that we were contacted by email and telephone calls to keep us updated with work and the current situation.
I was upfront straight away and explained my situation, where I was living, the fact that I was due to move in the next couple of months and stated that I was willing to relocate with my husband to his next posting.
I think their understanding of military life was incredible and their also their foresight in believing in the business opportunity that can be derived from such a partnership.
What was the interview process like?
I was made to feel very comfortable, though I was a bit daunted at first. The team was very welcoming and wanted to know everything about my background to gain an understanding of me and my family.
I was competing with others who were much more experienced, but Valo chose me even though I was a foreigner – that spoke volumes for me also.
Once I had been offered the role, Valo was able to adapt the training process to deliver this virtually for me whilst I was in Northern Ireland.
They are very flexible, and I now have so much more time with my family, and I do not have to work weekends. The team is very close-knit and incredibly supportive of each other.
From the first point of contact throughout the entire process, I was overwhelmed by how accommodating they were.
I am so blessed. If it wasn’t for that first stage of finding the article in AFF’s magazine, I wouldn’t be here, working alongside my husband, spending more time with my kids with so much less stress.
What I really value is that everyone treats you like family, with a manager who leads you but who also understands you and the challenges that you face as they have also lived this life.
I am now looking forward to not having to change roles as I am planning on staying with Valo for the long term.
What advice would you give to other spouses who are also having difficulties finding work?
I’d say, go for it, if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
So, if you are a career person, the numerous options and opportunities are out there.
Do not let anything stand in the way of you achieving your career goal. There is help out there. Reach out and surround yourself with the right people who will help you achieve your goals.