SSAFA Flying the flag for military families

SSAFA is delighted to be shortlisted for the AFF Employer of the Year Award, which celebrates military spouses and raises awareness of what employers can do to support them.

AFF is championing military spouse employment – highlighting their many benefits to an employer and giving prominence to the barriers they often face when trying to find a job. The award was established to recognise organisations who support military spouses and the challenges they can sometimes face when trying to maintain a steady career.

Falling just short of first place as second place runner up, SSAFA was recognised for understanding the complications that many spouses face while their serving partner is away.

With over 600 employees, in 15 locations across the world, SSAFA’s workforce is diverse and shares some of the challenges with the military community that we exist to support.

SSAFA was asked to demonstrate how it attracted and recruited military spouses and how it supported flexible working opportunities, for example, during periods where the serving partner is deployed.

SSAFA in Cyprus was cited as an area of best practice, where a dedicated SSAFA Childcare Coordinator advises spouses who are interested in becoming child-minder's through the required process and relevant training. This enables spouses to work around their own family commitments while developing a career in childcare; a skill which can be transferred wherever the family are posted next.

Where possible SSAFA facilitates requests for time off when a serving spouse is on their return or on leave. We also understand the complications relating to regular deployments and international moves and the impact that this can have on someone’s career.

One recent example of the employment support we provide involves a colleague who was posted from Germany to Cyprus and back to Germany again. SSAFA was able to keep them on board throughout, enabling the employee to not only retain continuous employment with SSAFA, but also to develop their skills and experience and ultimately gain a higher level post.

SSAFA also offers a sponsorship scheme whereby individuals can apply for training to develop their career options, such as on-line certificates and degrees.

Ian Westall, Head of People and Organisational Development at SSAFA said: “SSAFA recognises that the unique skill-set of military spouses is very valuable to the work we do. As such, we are always delighted to welcome individuals back to employment after they have been away with their serving partner - and frequently do this.”

On the judging panel was Heledd Kendrick, CEO and founder of Recruit for Spouses who said: “These awards demonstrate the nominated employers’ understanding of the military life and willingness to support us as valued employees.”

To find out more about working for SSAFA and making a difference to the lives of British service men and women, veterans and their families visit