MUM of two Jo Kitching has visited No 10 Downing Street to help deliver an employment charter for military spouses.
The charter, the first of its kind in Britain, has been written to help employers address the obstacles which spouses of those in the armed forces find when applying for work. In particular, the charter asks employers to think again before disregarding spouses attached to the military because they may only be in an area temporarily.
It suggests a back to work day, where businesses take part in an annual employment day for armed forces spouses and encourages companies to realise the benefits of employing them.
Mrs Kitching, from Stanton St Quintin, joined members of Recruit for Spouses and the charity Heropreneurs to deliver the charter. Both organisations aim to help military spouses in the workplace. Recruit for Spouses offers advice on how to apply for jobs and Heropreneurs helps ex-servicemen, women and spouses to start up businesses.
Mrs Kitching’s husband Simon works for the Ministry of Defence at Abbeywood, near Bristol, helping to organise the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.
They moved to the area in 2006 when Mr Kitching became officer in command of 9 Regiment, at Buckley Barracks, near Hullavington.
Mrs Kitching, who has two children aged ten and 13, said she hopes to begin promoting the charter to Wiltshire businesses soon.
She said: “I went for an interview and I was asked at the interview about my address, because it was recognised as being an army one.
“They said your husband is in the army, does that mean you’re going to be moving in the next 12 months? I couldn’t say either way.
“It’s just not fair, it’s not our fault.
“We are civilians and we can’t help the fact that we are being moved around.”
Following the group’s visit to Downing Street Claire Perry, MP for Devizes, chaired an afternoon event with an audience made up of senior military, politicians and business leaders.
Heledd Kendrick, founder of Recruit for Spouses, said: “The charter campaign is about creating awareness about the lack of support in business, the lack of understanding and the lack of respect that so many military spouses face when looking for work on a daily basis.
“We are not saying that military spouses should be advantaged in any way, but that they receive equal treatment and are judged on their merits, qualifications and strengths.”