An employment office where hundreds of South Yorkshire military veterans have been helped backed into work has closed its doors.
The Regular Forces Employment Association has shut its Sheffield office, at Sheffield Business Centre in Tinsley, due to a reorganisation of the charity.
The Yorkshire area will now be run from Leeds, but Steve Bentham-Bates - who has been running the Sheffield branch since 1997 - believes that no-one will miss out and veterans will still get the help they need.
He said: “It is sad that the local office is closing but the charity will continue its good work and veterans should remain confident that job finding support is still available.
“It all depends on what the individual needs. The way it is going the work is a lot more internet based but for people who need more individual support there is an outreach service.
“The figures from our head office show that more than 90 per cent of people are in work within six months of leaving the services.
“We do have people who have other issues as well and that is where we work in partnership with other organisations. For example, sometimes they need medical intervention.”
The reshuffle comes after the Ministry of Defence awarded the new £100 million Career Transition Partnership contract, which ensures Armed Forces personnel are well supported when they leave the services, was awarded to Right Management, which has run the scheme for the past decade.
Former RAF recruiter Steve, aged 60, has been made redundant and is moving to a new role with the Help 4 Homeless Veterans charity.
When he first started the job in 1997 there were 39 branches of the RFEA. This was reduced to 24 when the last contract was awarded and Steve’s patch grew to cover the Chesterfield area, South Yorkshire and Hull. He added: “On a personal note, I have enjoyed advising thousands returning to live and work in South Yorkshire over the years and am really looking forward to continuing supporting ex-service members through the fresh challenge of helping Veterans with homelessness problems in my new role.
“There has been quite a range of jobs that people have gone into. Everyone thinks ex-service personnel move into security.
“But there is a lot of technical, lots of engineering and logistics work.
“We follow the market trend so wind farms have been quite a busy area for us in the last year or so.”
To access the RFEA support veterans should call 0113 246 9065 or register on www.rfea.org.uk