As the UK celebrates the contribution of veterans during Armed Forces Week, we look at how a partnership between specialist charities is helping ex-Forces job seekers with health conditions to take the final step back into employment.
The cost of starting work
Even when the door to the world of work seems wide open, it can be a struggle to pay for the equipment and training needed to take up a new job.
Some ex-Forces job seekers have difficulty breaking into new employment because of the outlay needed to become fully certified or buy essential kit.
But employment consultants at The Poppy Factory have built up strong links with organisations that are able to fill that funding gap. They include the Armed Forces Bikers Veterans Charity, which provides funding to help veterans and their families thrive in the civilian world.
Armed Forces Week and beyond
This year at least 15 people across England and Wales have already been awarded grants by the motorcycle charity after being referred by The Poppy Factory. That funding has helped them cover a wide range of one-off costs – from new computers, tools and white goods, to driver qualifications and specialist industry training.
Among those supported in the months leading up to Armed Forces Week were three veterans from the Royal Regiment of Wales, Royal Anglian Regiment and Welsh Guards. They were each given a grant to buy a laptop to help them search for jobs and compete online training.
Support in all situations
Others include a veteran of the Royal Green Jackets and Rifles, who was awarded funding to buy tools so he could begin work as a joiner. And a female RAF veteran with a mental health condition was given help to join a membership body, enabling her to start working as an engineering instructor.
One veteran of the Mercian Regiment had been homeless. He was supported through the installation of a bed, cooker, fridge and washing machine in his unfurnished flat, creating a stable and secure home from which to seek employment.
And in South Wales, The Poppy Factory worked with NHS Veterans Wales and Armed Forces Bikers to help another veteran gain a first aid qualification and cover the cost of travel to an interview.
A simple process
Caz Jones, Employment Consultant for The Poppy Factory in the North West, said:
“Our team’s relationship with the Armed Forces Bikers has gone from strength to strength. Their grant application process is deliberately simple and inclusive, and it’s also quick and efficient. They take the time to speak to the veterans we support, which makes it a personal and warm experience.
“What makes Armed Forces Bikers so special is that the majority are veterans and none of them are paid or take expenses, and 100 per cent of the donations they receive go to veterans or their dependants in charitable need. They raise funds to help other veterans simply because it is their way of paying forward. Their help and financial support have made some incredible changes to the lives of my clients.”
Adam Carter, Trustee Grant Manager at Armed Forces Bikers, said: “As a trustee for the charity and one of three volunteer Grant Managers who manage the grant applications that come in, it has been a pleasure collaborating with The Poppy Factory. We love working with the Employment Consultants. Our job is made far easier by their professionalism, enthusiasm and empathy shown to the clients they have referred to us. We know that they have already done the hard work of guiding the veterans towards employment and a brighter future and that we, the Armed Forces Bikers, are helping by filling that funding gap.”
Click here to find out about employment support this Armed Forces Week. The Poppy Factory may be able to help you apply for essential funding.