Military Speakers supports Recruit for Spouses17/10/2013
Fans of BBC1's The Apprentice may recognise the name Raleigh Addington, a contestant from 2010 who went on to launch Military Speakers, a company arranging inspirational talks for events.
Fans of BBC1's The Apprentice may recognise the name Raleigh Addington, a contestant from 2010 who went on to launch Military Speakers, a company arranging inspirational talks for events. Less high profile, though no less crucial to the success of the venture, is the steady, behind-the-scenes presence of his Executive Assistant, military spouse Claire Segrave.
A qualified PA with a history of working privately for high-flying individuals, Claire took on her current role in early September, thanks to Recruit for Spouses.
Arriving in Gloucestershire on her 16th posting in 22 years had come as a shock: "Every job I've applied for before, I've got," she says. "Some jobs I kept on being posted, others not, but I've always adapted. I put myself on courses regularly to make sure my skills were current and languages updated; I've been on a travel agents' course and even studied librarianship so I could work in the Canadian Prairies." Claire's previous posting in Kenya didn't allow her to draw a wage due to visa restrictions, so she kept busy as a volunteer fundraiser for a street children's charity, an involvement she retains today, having gained valuable skills and networks: Richard Branson features in her contacts book.
However, none of this seemed to count for much in the Cotswold enclave Claire was assigned as home, a place to which the Army has recently returned in the form of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps after a long period based in Germany. The issue of employee longevity loomed large in the minds of local employers.
Time for change
"Returning to the UK was the first time I experienced outright discrimination on the grounds of my husband's job," Claire explains. "Some people viewed my CV as too varied - they felt I hadn't held down a job for long enough - rather than appreciating that I was adaptable and a quick learner. Others said I was over-qualified: they wanted younger people they could train up in the hope that they'd stay forever."
Registering on the Recruit for Spouses website was the first step to better things, especially when her eye alighted upon a PA role working from home. Today, Claire acts as an agent for Raleigh's motivational speakers, managing bookings for events and leadership seminars, and handling all the invoicing to ensure things run smoothly - as it turned out, who needs Alan Sugar? Raleigh himself would use RFS in future: "I was impressed by the excellent candidates put forward and the service it offers," he says.
With three children at various stages between sixth form and the end of university, Claire is keen to recommend the organisation that helped revive her self-esteem. "When you have qualifications coming out of your ears, it gets depressing to be repeatedly turned down, " she says, " especially if you can offer them three years. RFS does an amazing service - I love my job and I feel worthwhile again."
RFS Founder Heledd Kendrick is keenly aware of the issues around military spouses penetrating the employment space and recently upskilled on a visit to Google's new London headquarters: "Working with up-and-coming recruitment channels is the way forward," she says.
Claire echoes this ethos of 'change and adapt', which may be as relevant to employers as it is to job candidates. "It's important to educate local business communities in the knowledge that they have a wonderful resource in us," she explains. "They can and should use it."Back to all