1st December 2023

In a speech at the House of Commons The Lord King of Lothbury highlights the impact of RBLI’s Lifeworks

Although 80% of personnel transition successfully from the Armed Forces to civilian employment, for 20%* it can be more difficult as veterans navigate the intricate landscape of post service life. Royal British Legion Industries’ (RBLI) Lifeworks employability programme since it was launched in 2012 Lifeworks has helped 5,800 veterans to find employment and their place in society.

At the heart of the programme is a four-day residential course delivered by veterans to veterans, which takes place throughout the year at locations across the UK from Cornwall to Scotland when the focus is also to improve confidence and skills.

At the House of Commons, The Lord King of Lothbury KB GBE, RBLI President, made an impassioned speech at the launch of the 12-month evaluation that shows just how life changing the programme is for the veterans who took it. “Five years ago, I went to RBLI’s Veterans’ Village in Aylesford, Kent and saw the extraordinary work that is done there. What really impressed me was the principle behind what RBLI offers as it’s to make sure that none of the veterans end up feeling sorry for themselves.

“The Lifeworks programme has been evaluated to examine how successful it is. When delegates first join the Lifeworks programme about a quarter start by saying they feel completely lost, that they’re in a void. Our aim is to train the delegates to make them realise the skills they do have are not lost, but extremely valuable. It helps them to readjust and assess their own life. They’ve worked in the armed services, they understand leadership. They understand the importance of comradeship and discipline. Patrick Okla who is here tonight is a testament of its success. I would urge any employer to take on a veteran who has been through the Lifeworks programme.”

Patrick Okla, aged 39 from Hampshire, who Served for four years in the Army, and six in the Royal Navy, spoke at the launch of the evaluation about the challenges he faced after leaving the Services. Patrick spent eight months without a job when he felt that he was in limbo and described it as a state of mental oblivion. Despite having served in the Armed Forces for 10 years, job hunting, and interviews were daunting. Consumed by negative thoughts he didn’t know what civilian life held. Determined to work in cyber-Patrick completed self-study courses.

Taking up his story, Patrick Okla, said, “The first email from the Lifeworks team was life changing. I attended the four-day residential programme and felt at home with the other veterans. I took everything onboard, it changed my mindset, and within three weeks I got the job in cyber that I wanted.”

Key findings of RBLI’s Lifeworks employment support programme evaluation:
• 80% of veterans gained employment, training, or volunteering within 12 months of taking RBLI’s Lifeworks course.
• 64% reported they have faced mental health challenges, one of the important aspects that is addressed on the course.
• 67% of Lifeworks delegates reported improvements to their health from the programme.
• £5.6m is made in savings to health care costs and in contributions to the local economy as delegates move into employment the Lifeworks programmes annual impact in the UK is £5.6m a year.
• For every £1 invested in Lifeworks the UK economy gains £8.
• 81% of delegates who felt that they had improved their confidence as a result of the course linked this to the CV building and/or interview practice.
• Before they attend the Lifeworks programme 33% see being a veteran as a barrier to employment.

In conclusion, Lisa Farmer, RBLI’s Chief Executive said, “The Lifeworks evaluation report shows how much the programme is needed. We have run the Lifeworks programme for 12 years and we know the impact. We know that 80% of people who go on Lifeworks find employment, volunteering, or training. That’s more than 40% more than other back to work programme. It’s a sensational result and something that we’re very proud of.

“So many of the veterans who attend the Lifeworks programme who have been out of work for a long time say that they can’t work in an office. Or they tell us that nobody will employ them in an office. They have limiting beliefs, and we help to break those down. We do it individually while they think they’re in a team environment. If they thought, they were the sole focus it would become too overwhelming, so it’s disguised as a team environment. That way they feel confident to undertake the course and stick with it over the four days.

“Lifeworks is not a light touch programme. You don’t get the results we do with a light touch programme. This has been developed through years of careful planning and design of the programme, along with experienced delivery. We’re grateful to our funders as this is a very special programme and I think you’ll agree that the evaluation shows the success of the programme.”

To find out more about RBLI’s Lifeworks programme go to https://rbli.co.uk/what-we-do/lifeworks/

For a copy of the Lifeworks 12 month evaluation go to https://issuu.com/rbli/docs/lifeworks_-_evaluation_2023_mj-pages