Institute to assess plan to help military spouses

Published: 16 February 2016 at 10:48

Holding hands in support

Anglia Ruskin given £200k to evaluate MoD-led employment support project

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Anglia Ruskin University will conduct a two-year evaluation of a Ministry of Defence-led programme to support the spouses of serving personnel looking for work, following the award of £199,229 by the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT).

The evaluation will be carried out by Anglia Ruskin’s Veterans and Families Institute, led by director Matt Fossey. It will assess the effectiveness of the MOD’s ‘Spouse employment support Trial’ (SES) in assisting the spouses of serving personnel who are seeking employment.

Building on FiMT’s publication entitled Better Understanding the Support Needs of Service Leaver Families (March 2015), this evaluation will also continue FiMT’s work in supporting families by providing a thorough analysis of the employment support needs of the spouses of Service Personnel.

A trial of SESP is currently underway and is funded by two front-line formations: RAF Air Command (AIR) for RAF spouses in selected locations across the UK; and Joint Forces Command (JFC) for all spouses living in Cyprus. It offers employment support that is delivered via the new Career Transition Partnership (CTP) contract.

The comprehensive evaluation will be conducted using a number of qualitative and quantitative methods, drawing on data provided by the CTP and complemented by focus group sessions and in-depth interviews. It will aim to answer the following questions:

  • What are the employment support needs of spouses of Service Personnel?
  • How far is SESP able to meet these needs?
  • How does the programme influence Service families’ preparations for, and experience of, transition from the military into civilian life?

The evaluation will be published by Anglia Ruskin University in December 2017.

Mr Fossey, Director of Anglia Ruskin’s Veterans and Families Institute and Visiting Principal Lecturer, said:

“There is a lack of good quality research to understand the efficacy and effectiveness of programmes designed to offer employment support to the partners of serving personnel. In the US similar programmes have been running since 2007 and have been criticised for not being properly evaluated.

“In the UK we want to ensure that the SESP meets the needs of military spouses and this trial is an opportunity to really understand the impact of employment support on both the spouse and the consequential impact on the serving partner.”

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock, Chief Executive of FiMT, said:

“Nobody should underestimate the role played by the spouses of serving men and women, both during and after military life. We know from our existing work that effective support for the families of serving personnel significantly increases the likelihood of a successful transition.

“As part of FiMT’s focus on employment and skills as a key component of successful transition, employment support for spouses has been identified as an important area in need of effective and evidence-based service delivery. This research will directly address an important aspect of this need.

“Anglia Ruskin University is rightly recognised for the quality of its research in the military field and I am confident that this comprehensive evaluation will deliver valuable insight into how the spouses of serving personnel can be supported effectively to find and stay in work. We look forward to its conclusions.”