Former armed forces have high jobless rate

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Soldiers on parade for Remembrance Day outside St. George's Hall in Liverpool. Photo: Ida Husøy

Soldiers on parade for Remembrance Day outside St. George’s Hall in Liverpool. Photo: Ida Husøy

Over half of early service leavers remain unemployed two years after leaving the Forces, according to LifeWorks.

The national charity, Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), is running its first LifeWorks course for veterans, which equips ex-Armed Forces personnel with the tools to get into and maintain a civilian job.

The new Royal British Legion pop-in centre on Williamson Street in Liverpool will host the scheme from 23rd to 27th February.

Partnerships with local government have broadened the reach across the country, with Liverpool playing host to the first course outside of the training centre in Aylesford, Kent.

The Liverpool course will be the first in a series of employability courses which have been opened in areas where veterans have settled in large numbers.

An initial launch took place last week at the centre, with former LifeWorks delegates, MPs and Royal British Legion representatives attending.

Councillor Ron Round, leader of Knowsley Council and lead for the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on Employment and Skills, said: “We are committed to offering practical support to improve the opportunities of veterans.

“One way we can do this is supporting the work of the RBLI on their Lifeworks courses, to ensure veterans across the City Region are aware of the opportunities available to them to help them into training and employment.”

Fully-funded, five-day courses are expected to boost ex-service personnel’s chances of being employed by providing a free CV, interview and career advice, as well as helping individuals boost their confidence so they feel ready to go back to work.

An individual action plan is provided by the scheme which is open to all ex-Armed Forces, regardless of when and for how long they served. The veteran’s background, skills and ambitions are assessed in order to provide personalised training to help build a career outside of the military.

Head of Vocational Rehabilitation and Training Services at RBLI, Iain Downie who served for 25 years in the Army before beginning his role at RBLI, told JMU Journalism: “Lifeworks is the best opportunity for ex-service people to maximise their chances of gaining fulfilling and sustainable employment and the team is delighted to have the opportunity to bring the programme to Merseyside.”

“Developing our links with local councils and The Royal British Legion will really help us to make sure that local veterans know about the support we can offer them”

RBLI currently help over 2,000 ex-servicemen into work each year, providing free on-site accommodation for those who live outside of regular commuting distance of the Aylesford base.

To find out more about LifeWorks courses click here.

About Stephanie Bewley, JMU Journalism