Bright future for injured armed forces thanks to RBLI


The efforts to get former armed forces personnel into new employment led Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith to visit RoyalBritish Legion Industries (RBLI) while on a tour of Kent and Medway.

During the visit on Friday 25 November, Iain Duncan Smith, who was joined by Aylesford’s MP Tracey Crouch, met the RBLI’s LifeWorks team and the courses’ latest attendees, many of whom had sustained life changing injuries or illness while serving their country.

Steve Sherry, RBLI’s Chief Executive, said: “Making the transition back into civilian employment for many of our armed forces, especially those who may have been injured incombat, can be a daunting process. LifeWorks gives those on the course the chance to review their aspirations, their current skills and consider training options. Ultimately it is about giving them the all important confidence and ability to find a new career.

“The success of LifeWorks is down to the work of our occupational psychologists and trainers, and importantly the fundingprovided by a number of service charities, in particular ABF The Soldiers’ Charity and The Royal British Legion. It was a pleasure to show the Secretary of State the work that RBLI does as a social enterprise and demonstrate how our close working partnership with organisations such as Kent County Council start to bring the Big Society agenda to life.”

The LifeWorks team operates from the RBLI’s Capel Morris Centre at the RBLI Village in Aylesford. The purpose built training facility provides intensive workshops for small groups of service personnel, ensuring they receive the one-to-one training they need.

Tracey Crouch said: “The visit was an excellent opportunity to show the Secretary of State how RBLI is perfectly placed to work across a number of Government departments and deliver what our former armed forces personnel and the country needs right now – jobs and training.”

Iain Duncan Smith also accepted the opportunity to sit on a workshop of leading welfare-to-work providers, including Job Centre Plus, G4S, Royal British Legion and the Poppy Factory. He heard first hand how the system could be improved to help former armed forces personnel fast track their way into retraining and new employment, and meet the Government’s aspiration for its Military Covenant – a mutual obligation between the nation and its Armed Forces.

During the visit the Secretary of State was presented with a personalised sign to commemorate his visit to Aylesford. RBLI employs 300 people finding employment solutions for ex-Service Personnel, as well as manufacturing pallets, fruit bins and signs, and also providing welfare, healthcare and property services.

Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste, Bryan Sweetland, commented: “RBLI recently successfully bid for the contract to supply all new signs for our 5,000 mile road network in Kent. We are now interested in further developing the RBLI’s social enterprise model to see whether we can work with other ex-Services personnel. This might involve providing training so that injured soldiers can be given the opportunity to work with us on a range of dedicated projects.”

For further information on the work of RBLI visit www.rbli.co.uk

Top Photo:(L-R): Chief Executive of RBLI Steve Sherry and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith.

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