Laura Vaughan – Data & HR Admin + military spouse

I’m Laura Vaughan, Data & HR Administrator at Ascent. I’ve been at Ascent for 16 months, before which I spent most of my working life in various roles within further education. I’ve been a military spouse since 2016, when I married Mark, a serving PO in the Royal Navy. Prior to this was three years of living “unaccompanied” – Mark living on a ship in Portsmouth, while I lived in our hometown with the children. After we married, I gave up my career and we moved to the Portsmouth area to be together as a family, living in married quarters.

Can you share some of the challenges facing military spouses in particular?

Although there are some benefits that come with being married to a sailor, I’ve found the main challenges are predominately childcare. Mark is currently on a rota where he deploys for four months, has four months at home (which will include time away on residential courses) and then deploys again for another four months. This is a continuous cycle over a two-year period.

Simply put, I cannot rely on him to help, and not being near to family makes the situation harder. The introduction of the wrap-around childcare scheme by the Navy has helped alleviate pressure, but it still limits the amount of time that I can go out to work.

Luckily, we are stationed within my husband’s ‘homeport’ which means we don’t have to move around. Other families have to pack up their lives every few years due to new postings and start afresh, with jobs, doctors, schools etc. I am grateful that this is not a challenge that I personally have to face.

What attracted you to work at Ascent?

I loved how people-focussed Ascent is, I felt welcomed and cared about from my first interview. At my interview they spoke about plans to become Armed Forces Covenant Silver ERS Holders, this was impressive to me, as I knew that I would never be disadvantaged because of my husband’s service – i.e., no childcare so unable to attend in person on occasions etc and that I would be given the same opportunities as everyone else.

What does your role at Ascent entail?

I initially started at Ascent on a fixed term seven-month HR Assistant contract, which was extended to a year and eventually I was successful in a permanent position within the HR team as Data & HR Administrator. I currently deal with frontline HR queries, support with recruitment, onboarding, security clearances, systems and data/reporting, among other general tasks relating to all aspects of the employee lifecycle.

What do you enjoy most about working at Ascent?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed starting my HR career at Ascent, I’ve been so supported, encouraged, and given so much exposure to develop my experience and knowledge. Ascent has recently sponsored my L5 Associate Diploma in People Management, which I started studying two days into yet another of my husband’s deployments. A personal highlight for me has been the site visits, I love getting to see the business end of Ascent and meeting more of my colleagues in person. I also loved the chance to fly a helicopter in the simulators – I think I’ve missed my calling there haha.

What are the benefits?

As a military spouse, a major benefit is that I feel complete inclusion. I work alongside many ex-servicemen and women who understand first-hand the pressures that I face and my reality – that really is invaluable. The flexibility is unrivalled by anywhere I’ve experienced before. Career progression and personal development are encouraged and supported and I have never been held back due to my ever-changing home dynamics.

The emphasis on wellbeing is deeply rooted in Ascent’s culture, my colleagues truly care when I’m having a tough time and the support the company offers in its benefits package is extensive. Simply put, I couldn’t be any more supported by Ascent.

Why should a military spouse, or anyone who needs to work flexibly, work for Ascent?

The flexibility enables me to be mum, wife and still have my own career and now also be a student! This is a common problem for military spouses seeking employment, but I am proof you can have it all. You just need the right employer and I’ve found the perfect fit with Ascent. Its flexibility impacts my productivity, and my work ethic is much higher than it’s ever been. I always go over and above, as it’s give and take between both parties – there will be times when I need extra support from Ascent and likewise there will be times that Ascent needs the extra support from me.