Inspirational retired Royal Navy sailor up for top award for finding military spouses jobs

A FORMER Royal Navy sailor has told how she has been ‘blown away’ after being nominated for a top award for her ‘life-changing’ work in finding jobs for military spouses.

By Tom Cotterill
Monday, 14th September 2020, 4:02 pm
Updated Monday, 14th September 2020, 4:28 pm

Inspirational mum-of-two Katy Cannadine has been shortlisted for a Women in Defence 2020 ‘Special Award’ for her remarkable efforts with Recruit for Spouses.

The company specialises in finding jobs for partners, husbands and wives of military personnel, who can often struggle to find work that fits around their loved one’s forces commitments and postings.

And since Katy joined as its operations manager, she has managed to find dozens of people new work.

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Inspirational Katy Cannadine has been shortlisted for a Women in Defence 2020 ‘Special Award’ for her remarkable efforts with Recruit for Spouses.

The 34-year-old from Southwick, whose husband serves in the navy, said: ‘I found out on my birthday that I had been shortlisted. I had absolutely no idea. It was a massive shock. I really don’t believe I should have been nominated as I was just doing my job.’

Katy is one of seven nominees in the running for the top award, which is part of a drive to celebrate the inspiring contribution women make to Britain’s armed forces community.

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Among the people she has helped to find work was Hannah Barnard, 32, of Lee-on-the-Solent.

The mother-of-four now provides social media and app support for a number of multinational companies.

‘Katy is a champion to everyone,’ she said. ‘She is a really good friend and can boost your confidence like nobody else.

‘She really has changed my outlook on life and I feel like I’m getting a voice back. I’m worth what’s on paper – and then some.

‘What Katy has done for me has been life-changing.’

Katy's passion to help others comes from her own struggle to find work as a military wife, which she said has seen her being overlooked for a job ‘time and time again’.

‘It took me 10 years to find a job after leaving the navy,’ said the former accountant. ‘I kept getting rejected by everybody. It was the most demoralising thing on the planet.

‘I will never forget how he felt when I went for a warehouse job and was rejected for it. I had so many skills but they couldn’t see past the fact my husband was in the military and that I might have to move in a few months.’

During her time with Recruit for Spouses, Katy has been key in persuading companies to take on more people from military backgrounds and offer them work they can do ‘from home’.

Heledd Kendrick, Katy’s boss, said her employee has been an inspiration to so many people.

‘Katy is hugely deserving, she works incredibly hard and gives everything for the bigger picture,’ she said.

‘She instills a lot of confidence in spouses. She has an empathy and knowledge to get them into work and change lives.’

She added she had been ‘blown away’ by the fact that Katy had been unable to get a job after leaving the navy.

‘I saw her CV and saw she had been a helicopter technician in the navy but nobody was employing her,’ she added. ‘She said to me she was literally going to start cleaning toilets. She was so desperate. I couldn’t believe it.’

Katy added: ‘I just want to show people what military spouses can do. They are resilient and hard working. They’re machines. They would be a credit for any organisation.’

Katy finds out if she is a finalist on October 21. Winners are announced next year.

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