· DWP bolsters its dedicated network of Armed Forces Champions
· Champions will be stationed in every Jobcentre Plus district across Great Britain
· They will offer specialist help to support former service personnel and their families access benefits and get back into work
ARMED FORCES veterans across Britain are to get additional specialist support from government Jobcentres to help them find work and access benefits.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ has bolstered its Armed Forces Champions network and it will, for the first time, see every Jobcentre Plus district in the country have a dedicated person to offer tailored support for former services personnel as well as their families.
The network will be made up of 50 local Champions stationed in Jobcentres in England, Scotland and Wales who will support veterans to retrain and apply for work as well as make new benefit claims.
Armed Forces Champions deliver employment support and benefits advice to former servicemen and women, and will have the opportunity to raise awareness of particular issues faced by veterans and their families to Ministers.
Many of the Jobcentre staff who are Armed Forces Champions have previously served in the forces and draw upon their own experiences to help veterans move forward.
Minister for Welfare Delivery Will Quince said:
“The Armed Forces do our country proud and we are forever grateful to them for the sacrifices they make in order to serve our nation.
“It’s not just about recognising that though, veterans offer a range of transferrable skills like no other – they are a gold mine of talent.
“This network will provide specialist one-to-one support to veterans and their families as they take the first steps to find a job and receive the financial support they are entitled to, helping them better readjust to civilian life.”
DWP has had Armed Forces Champions in place for around a decade but crucially the upgraded network will be overseen by 11 Armed Forces Champions Leads – ensuring that training and support offered is consistent across the country.
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Leo Doherty said:
“This initiative reinforces the importance of inclusivity in the workplace and highlights how veterans can maximise the transferable skills they have gained from service.
“The vast majority of veterans go on to make a huge contribution post service, some do struggle. This extra support today will help them as they transition into civilian life.”
Sarah Mallaghan, DWP Armed Forces Champions manager for Wales said:
“It can be a massive culture shock for those leaving the Armed Forces.”
“But this network will ultimately help to ensure the right people are out there providing the right kind of support where it’s needed, when it’s needed.
“We want service personnel and their families to feel confident in claiming the benefits they’re entitled to, and the simple design of Universal Credit helps make this process as easy as possible.”
Op-ed Minister from Welfare Delivery Will Quince
Every day our Armed Forces put their lives at risk to keep us safe. They are heroes, and we are grateful for everything they do.
But these men and women can sometimes face major upheaval when they leave service and it can be a challenge for some to reintegrate into life outside the Armed Forces.
We have a duty to support them and their families. That is why we are building on our network of Armed Forces Champions across the country, with one stationed in every Jobcentre district. They’ll provide vital guidance to help our former soldiers, sailors, airmen and women, and will offer specialist support to ex-service personnel to make it easier for them to get into work and ensure they claim the financial support they are entitled to.
Many of our Champions are themselves veterans and already provide a unique insight into life in the Forces and the transition back to being civilians.
But we want all of our Jobcentre Plus Work Coaches to become “Champions” for the armed forces. After everything they have done for us, we are determined to support them in every way we can.