Steve Sherry CMG OBE, a former Brigadier with the Royal Engineers, explains current support developed by Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI).
Having joined RBLI as Chief Executive two years ago, previously serving as Brigadier with the Royal Engineers, I’ve since led the charity’s strategy development work, the core objective of which is to increase the number of beneficiaries that it supports.
Employment support for the Armed Forces community has been a core activity for the charity since it was established in 1919. Whilst this has remained a constant, the way that the support has developed ensures that RBLI delivers an integrated service which meets the needs of all generations of Veterans from the Armed Forces community.
Whilst everyone at RBLI remains passionate about our core values as a service charity, we believe in enabling individuals who are disadvantaged by a disability, health condition or social welfare need, to achieve independence and success. This is achieved by providing real opportunities for beneficiary personal development and independence. RBLI have developed and grown into a charitable organisation supporting far more people than ever. We now have a range of programmes and services designed to support the wider community, regardless of their service backgrounds.
Unique forces community
From RBLI’s head office site here in Aylesford, Kent, the charity offers a range of accommodation solutions to those from the Armed Forces and their descendants. Approximately 600 residents call the RBLI village site ‘home’.
Within the village, RBLI offer a range of family housing, single persons accommodation and assisted living schemes. Catering for most circumstances with the aim of enabling prolonged independent living.
Alongside the available accommodation, residents and members of the Armed Forces Community can access specialist range of welfare services including expert advices and guidance on subjects such as benefits, war pensions, well-being and employment. For more information about RBLI’s Housing and Welfare services, please click here.
Commercial business providing skills development to our Forces
Providing real opportunities for beneficiary development and independence is inherent in all that RBLI do. This has always been close to my heart as this is especially relevant to those from the Armed Forces community, who may have been wounded, injured or sick and are seeking an opportunity to utilise their skills learnt in service, re-train or benefit from experience of working in ‘Civvy Street’.
With this in mind, RBLI is proud of the fact it can support these vulnerable people as it is also an established Social Enterprise (a commercial business which tackles social or environmental issues, whose profits are put back into the community or business). Being a Social Enterprise allows us to provide employment, training and development opportunities. These opportunities and commercial activities include the production of unique, bespoke services such as sign manufacture, pallet maintenance, mailing, print and distribution. For more information about RBLI’s Social Enterprise services and products, please click here.
The transition to civilian life can be a challenging process for all service leavers, and even more so for those medically retired due to an injury, health condition or disability. RBLI’s dedicated Training and Development team have combined their experience delivering employment support for the long term unemployed, with assessments for the Armed Forces, to develop LifeWorks. Delivered in partnership with ABF The Soldier’s Charity, Lifeworks is a vocational guidance and employment training programme for anyone who has served in the Armed Forces and is now re-settling into Civvy Street.
The key objective is to ensure that individuals can follow a route which leads to appropriate, sustainable employment.
The LifeWorks programme encompasses a range of elements, including vocational assessment to help individuals understand their skills, abilities and potential job goals along with employability training which helps to develop job search skills. Delegates leave with a greater understanding of how they can overcome or manage specific challenges (for example a disability resulting from injury), what career options are available to them and how to achieve them.
The key objective is to ensure that individuals can follow a route which leads to appropriate, sustainable employment and this can include building in potential training or work placements on the way. LifeWorks promotes confidence and helps our Armed Forces to recognise how their military skills can be translated into Civvy Street and to evidence the value of these to an employer. For more information about RBLI’s LifeWorks course, please click here.
RBLI Chief Executive