Some 14,000 men and women leave the forces every year to seek a new role in civilian life. Some fail to cope. Statistically, they are over-represented in the ranks of the unemployed and the homeless.
It’s no secret that some ex-service personnel struggle to adapt to civilian life, yet on paper they have so much to offer. Many have strong technical skills, they are mission-focused and have a can-do attitude, and they tend to be loyal employees. A survey by the accountancy firm Deloitte found that 76% of employers who have taken on military veterans say they have lower rates of absenteeism than the wider workforce and 40% say they stay as employees for longer.
It’s a tragedy that many employers miss out on the qualities that veterans can bring to their businesses, either through lack of knowledge or misconceptions. We want to highlight to Cumbrian businesses to seriously consider recruiting them. Tapping into the pool of veterans in the workforce is one way to address what is a growing shortage of skilled workers. Businesses that want to do the right thing by veterans can sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant.
Suzanne Caldwell, Managing Director of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce and Cumbria Business Growth Hub said: “It seems a good time to review the Chamber’s existing Armed Forces Covenant, see what we’re committed to and see what we could do to do more with and for the armed services.
“It’s not just about supporting the armed services, though that is really important, it’s actually about how we can benefit as a business and how other businesses in the county can benefit too.
“One thing we’ve signed up for is to offer guaranteed interviews to people leaving the armed forces and their partners providing they meet the minimum requirements for the job. Also we’re engaging actively with a specialist recruitment service that’s available to encourage people leaving the armed forces to move o Cumbria to take up jobs and live here. This is something businesses across the county could really benefit from.
“We have got a huge staffing crisis at the moment, people are constantly leaving the services who have got great skills and experiences that we could all take advantage of.
“I’d really encourage you to have a look, see what’s involved and sign up yourself.”
You can watch a short clip here from Armed Forces Week:
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation to those who serve, or have served, and their families, which says we will do all we can to ensure they are treated fairly and not disadvantaged in their day-to-day lives.
Employers that sign can make public promises to set out their support to members of the Armed Forces community who work in their business or access their products and services.
Typically, these promises might include pledges to encourage reserve service, support employment of veterans and service spouses, and to give the Armed Forces community a fair deal on commercial products and services.
More than 1,500 businesses have signed so far, including Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, which became the first Chamber of Commerce to sign up in March 2016.
Other businesses with Cumbrian links to have signed the covenant include BAE Systems, Eddie Stobart, GSK and Siemens.
There is help available for businesses looking to recruit veterans.
The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) is a joint venture between the Ministry of Defence and Right Management Ltd, the career development and outplacement wing of ManpowerGroup.
CTP provides resettlement services for those leaving the forces and acts as an intermediary for employers looking to hire service leavers.
To date, CTP has assisted more than 235,000 service leavers move into civilian life has and supported thousands of organisations looking to employ them.
Persimmon Homes, Britain’s biggest housebuilder and major housebuilder in Cumbria, has taken full advantage of the skillset of veterans.
When we were approached by the Army to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, we thought it was a great opportunity to show our support and raise awareness.
It says that the skills and experience of many service leavers are highly comparable with those required to work within construction.
After signing the Armed Forces Covenant in 2013, Persimmon began recruiting ex-service personnel. Then in 2015 it launched Combat to Construction, a campaign to bring up to 500 veterans into the business each year.
Chief Executive Jeff Fairburn said: “The new recruits start on an 18-month training programme with time spent in the classroom and out on site.
“Our courses welcome new people every four weeks and, based on the recruits we’ve seen, we are very excited with the quality of the candidates and some of them I’m sure will go on to take management positions.”
Recruits who have joined Persimmon from the forces have included trainee site managers, trainee sales advisers, health and safety advisers, trainee quantity surveyors, bricklayers, joiners and telescopic handler operators.
Its commitment includes a pledge to pay a living wage during the training, which leads to a recognised qualification and potentially a fulfilling career.
National Insurance relief when hiring veterans
Under a new scheme, businesses hiring military veterans can save thousands of pounds in employee National Insurance contributions. From 6 April 2022, employers do not have to pay National Insurance contributions for veterans in their first year of civilian employment after leaving the armed forces. Businesses are also able to claim this relief retrospectively for any qualifying employees who they employed in the last 12 months.
Video: Matching veterans to the needs of business
Watch the video here
Video case study: Persimmon Homes
Watch the video here
Sign-up to the Armed Forces Covenant
More details here
The Career Transition Partnership (CTP) is the official provider of Armed Forces resettlement.
More details here