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

The evaluation will be carried out by ARU’s Veterans and Families Institute led by director Matt Fossey. It will assess the effectiveness of the MOD’s ‘Spousal Employment Support Programme’ (SESP) 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.

Matt Fossey, Director, Veterans and Families Institute and Visiting Principal Lecturer, Anglia Ruskin University, says: “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 Forces in Mind Trust, says: “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.”

Matt Fossey and Ray Lock are available for interview. To arrange, or if you need anything more, please contact Alex Goldup at The PR Office on / mobile: 07791 765 915/ direct dial: 020 7284 6941.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):
• FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations. FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012. Since 2004 the Fund has given more than £88 million to programmes supporting veterans.

• The aim of the FiMT is to provide an evidence base which will influence and underpin policy making and service delivery in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives.

• FiMT awards grants (both reactive and proactive) and commissions research along three key themes: Evidence, Innovation and Collaboration. All work is published to a high standard of reportage to add to the evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

• Useful links

o Read our report ‘Better Understanding the Support Needs of Service Leaver Families’

o Reports:

About Anglia Ruskin University

• Anglia Ruskin is an innovative, global university with over 39,000 students from 177 countries studying with us across four continents.

• 12 of our research areas across our five faculties were classed as world-leading by the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014.

• Our graduate prospects are among the best in the UK, with 9 out of 10 starting their career or in further study within six months. 3 out of 4 of our students secure professional jobs, outperforming most other graduates.

• We have three main campuses, in Cambridge, Chelmsford and Peterborough.

• Students, businesses and partners benefit from our outstanding facilities; we’ve invested £122 million in our campuses over the last five years and will be investing £98 million over the next five years.