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Looking Forward…

Future Horizons:
This week sees the launch of the Future Horizons Programme.   This important initiative, which will run for the next 12 months, will help around 600 early service leavers transition out of the Army and back into civilian life.   The programme will be delivered by a partnership of ex Service charities and private organisations that have pooled their expertise and experience to develop it.
Early service leavers are individuals who, for a range of reasons. complete less than 4 years of their Armed Forces career.  They are therefore not entitled to the full suite of transitional support available.   Often their career with the Armed Forces is cut short unexpectedly and they find themselves experiencing real problems with transition, resulting in increased vulnerability to issues such as crime and alcohol abuse.  The initial pilot project will be delivered from the Army base in Catterick, engaging early service leavers before they leave to help them better adjust during transition.  RBLI is one of a number of organisations partnering up to deliver Future Horizons and was instrumental in developing the assessment tool that will be used to identify support requirements on leaving.  We will also deliver support to those who choose to settle in the South East of England with  RBLI Advisers providing pre employment advice and linking individuals with mainstream programmes such as Work Programme.

“The initial pilot project will be delivered from the Army base in Catterick, engaging early service leavers before they leave to help them better adjust during transition”

The Future Horizons Programme will be funded by the Forces in Mind Trust.   The launch of the Trust was announced this week at the premiere of ‘War Horse’, the new Steven Spielberg film.  The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry has pledged partnership support and will back Trust funded projects with its own grants.
RBLI is proud to be a partner in this important initiative which will demonstrate how ex Service charities and private organisations can effectively use their combined expertise to provide an holistic approach to supporting Armed Force personnel.

Youth Unemployment

My heart sank as I watched the news last night and saw that youth unemployment had risen to over 1,000,000 for the first time since 1992.  Those children lucky enough to have the benefits of a good education and a stable home life are finding it difficult to secure the right employment.  However, the challenges are particularly acute for the many youngsters who are disadvantaged by chaotic home lives, lack of education, low aspirations and low self confidence.

This all brings into sharp focus the important work we do here at RBLI, working with the disadvantaged and vulnerable.  We must renew our efforts in these difficult conditions, and ensure that we are able to help, whether through finding work for youngsters on the Work Programme, supporting young service leavers through Future Horizons, or employing apprentices here in our Social Enterprise.  We have made a good start but there is much more for us to do and I would like to see a further extension of the support we provide.  I am in fact currently looking at how we can increase the number of apprentices within the business, which I believe gives young people valuable experience and their first important step on the career ladder.

Working with Kent County Council and other partners we all have a responsibility to do everything that we can to help this group and I am certain that everyone will rise to the challenge.

Future Horizons

I am absolutely delighted that we are working with COBSEO on the Future Horizons programme.  This is a programme designed to support early service leavers and some of the more vulnerable leaving the armed forces.  This innovative programme means that we will be working in partnership with some of the most experienced providers of employment support in the UK.  We will be pooling our resources, experience and commitment to work to a common goal rather than competing with one another.
This is a really exciting opportunity and one that I hope we can replicate on other important delivery models.  I truly believe that working together we can achieve so much more than we could by “going it alone”.
Co-operation is certainly the way of the future and I will look forward to future collaboration with our partners.