Inaugural Charity Partnership

The Forces Employment Charity (FEC) was formed from two of the UK’s largest and most respected military charities; RFEA – The Forces Employment Charity (RFEA), founded in 1885, and the Officers’ Association (OA) in 1920, which came together in May 2022.

Originally called The National Association for Employment of Reserve and Discharged Soldiers RFEA became known as the Regular Forces Employment Association (RFEA) in 1967. From its very beginning, it emphasised the need to prepare Armed Forces personnel for civilian employment while still in Armed Forces – an ethos and goal upheld to this day.

Meanwhile, the OA was founded by Earl Haig, Admiral of the Fleet Earl Beatty and Air Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard with the aim of going “to the root of the problem and solve it, not by continual payments to men who are out of work but by finding work for them”.

Earl Haig asked government, local authorities and private employers for their “active assistance to open the gates of useful employment to these men to whose past exertions we owe our liberties if not our lives”, assisting 24,221 cases in 1921.

In 1935, the importance of RFEA’s work was recognised by the Ministry of Labour which developed a scheme to secure the greatest amount of employment possible for ex-Regulars.

The aftermath of World War II put increasing demand on both charities, with a new generation of those deserving support on return to civilian life.

By 1964, RFEA occupied 48 branches throughout the country, receiving 14,716 registrations and placing 11,922 into jobs.

In 1998 the MOD established the Career Transition Partnership contract (CTP) to deliver resettlement to Service Leavers. RFEA was appointed to deliver employment services within the CTP; an appointment that still continues today.

RFEA supported 21,698 Service Leavers, Veterans and family members in 2021, working with over 8,000 employers and listing 97,826 job vacancies from companies looking to hire those with military experience.

In the same year the OA helped 5,000 officers to move into fulfilling civilian roles through its executive career consultations, exclusive jobs board and tailored events.

In January 2022, the two charities announced their intention to combine the OA’s employment services with those of RFEA to create a new, single charity with a dedicated focus on employment beyond the services for the Armed Forces community.

The Forces Employment Charity was established in May 2022, with a mission to enable individuals to secure employment and progress to roles at every level to ensure they achieve their potential beyond military service.

Its existing programmes continue to make an impact across the nations and regions of the UK, including its work with the CTP, delivered at the end of military service, and the Ex-Forces Programme to support Veterans into employment through life.

It also continues specialist programmes to support Veterans with specific needs, including; Project Nova to support Veterans in the criminal justice system, TechVets, and the Families and Military Women Programmes.

These programmes are being continuously enhanced with the addition of the Executive Employment team to support the Armed Forces community at every level of employment.

Through partnerships with Walking With the Wounded, the Call of Duty Endowment, Lloyd’s Patriotic Fund and others, Forces Employment Charity provides an unrivalled portfolio of services to help maximise Veterans’ long-term career prospects and opportunities.

“Veterans make such valued contributions to society in the UK, but I believe have the potential to do even more. The Forces Employment Charity and TheVeteran.UK are completely aligned with the desire to promote Veterans as an immensely important national resource to be more effectively embraced and deployed across industry and commerce, and throughout UK society. This is not only in the best interests of Veterans themselves, but for the country as a whole. So I am delighted to be able to partner with TheVeteran.UK on this most welcome campaign”.

Alistair Halliday
CEO, The Forces Employment Charity