Launch of new online resource challenges employers to think differently about taking on ex-Service personnel

The Poppy Factory – the charity that helps injured ex-Service men and women find work – has launched a new online toolkit for employers.

The Employer Toolkit, funded by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT), gives advice and guidance to employers, helping them to manage a workforce with complex health conditions – and aims to dispel the negative stereotypes of veterans and the problems they may face.

Veterans can sometimes be overlooked by employers, who may find it hard to understand how military experience translates across to civilian job roles.

There are also misconceptions about mental health, with employers wary of taking on veterans because of perceived issues around the traumas they may have suffered during their time in the Forces. Managing employees with a disability often requires little more than flexibility, and The Employer Toolkit helps to “myth bust” and provide practical advice.

In fact, employers discover that far from being problematic, ex-Service personnel have a great work ethic and can-do attitude with strong leadership skills. A recent study by Deloitte found that more than half of organisations that employed veterans say that they tend to be promoted more quickly than the rest of their workforce in general.

It’s estimated that there are no fewer than 17,000 unemployed, disabled ex-Service men and women of working age. Last year there was an 85% increase in the number of veterans seeking help from The Poppy Factory to find work.

Many veterans face huge hurdles even to just secure an interview. As one veteran, Casper says: “I applied for lots of jobs…but having ticked ‘medically discharged’ [from the Forces] I just didn’t get in the door.”

But employers who do take on ex-Service personnel with health challenges find they are hardworking and valuable members of the workforce.

National Express actively supports The Poppy Factory in providing opportunities for veterans.

Roz Golds, National Express ‘Military Promise’ leader said:  “National Express is a longstanding supporter of the Armed Forces and immensely proud to be able to support veterans on their journey back into work after life in service.”

“Diversity is key to a strong workforce and veterans in particular bring strong skills sets to the table, including perseverance, team-working, problem-solving and leadership.

“We’d absolutely encourage other companies to look at The Employer Toolkit and see how working with veterans could make a positive difference to their business.”

Meri Mayhew, Deputy Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, said: “The Forces in Mind Trust is proud to sponsor The Poppy Factory’s toolkit to provide employers with the framework to support veterans in the workplace.

“Wounded, injured and sick ex-Service men and women have a great deal to contribute, with many bringing unique yet transferable skills and experiences to their workplaces. Employment does not just help veterans make a successful transition to civilian life but actively benefits employers as well.

“Understanding how best to approach the individual needs of ex-Service personnel in the workplace requires relatively little effort but can generate great outcomes not just for the individual, but also for the employer.”

The toolkit is divided into ten sections which cover everything from busting common myths about employing veterans, to mental health in the workplace, employment law and how to provide in-work support.

It also explains how The Poppy Factory can help both veterans and employers.

The Poppy Factory has a vision for a world in which every workplace values disabled veterans. The charity aims to provide the most effective employment support for its ex-Forces ‘clients’ and for employers alike.

The toolkit is available at

Photo caption: Mr Joe Southouse, 45, a former Lance Corporal in the Royal Engineers, who with help from The Poppy Factory managed to find work as a fitter’s mate for an engineering company.



Spokespeople from The Poppy Factory and The FiMT are available for interview. For more information, please contact:

The Poppy Factory

Andy Drinkwater: 07799 408611,

Tabitha Aldrich-Smith: 07971 919610,

 Nick Eaglesfield, Marketing & Communications Manager: 07909257955,

 Meri Mayhew is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview please contact, Kate Turner: 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944,

Images available on request

PLEASE TAG: #TeamPoppyFactory


About The Poppy Factory

  • The Employer Toolkit was produced following recommendations from The Poppy Factory’s recent Employment in Mind report into the most effective employment support for those with health conditions (also funded by FiMT and produced by the Centre for Mental Health).
  • The Poppy Factory provides free employability support to with ex-Forces personnel with health challenges from all corners of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • From physical challenges, such as blindness and limb loss, to mental health conditions, such as anxiety and PTSD, the charity has nearly a century of experience employing veterans with health challenges. This knowledge helps to inform employers so that they can make any reasonable workplace adjustments, raising the standards to ensure veterans thrive in their new jobs.
  • Veterans have a wealth of transferable skills from their time in the Armed Forces, but some will find it difficult to translate these valuable skills into the ever-changing civilian jobs market. Often, this is down to the difficulty employers have in understanding how military experience translates practically into civilian job roles.
  • The Poppy Factory works with other military and welfare charities to provide holistic support, transforming the lives of veterans with disabilities and their families.
  • It is estimated that, by supporting over 700 veterans with health challenges into sustainable employment, The Poppy Factory’s programme has saved the State over £15m.  This is based upon the 2013 Social Return On Investment score of £2.23 for every £1 spent on the Getting You Back to Work service (Poppy Factory SROI Report, Krystyna Szplit 2014), multiplied by the average cost of supporting a disabled veteran into sustainable employment that year  (£10,000), multiplied by 700 people.
  • The Duchess of Cornwall became Patron of The Poppy Factory in 2013
  • It is estimated that there are 17,000 unemployed ex-Service personnel of working age who have a disability , so there is a great need for the ‘Getting You Back to Work’ The Poppy Factory has a vision for a world in which every workplace values disabled veterans.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.

The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.

FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.

All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

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Who we have helped:
Twitter: @FIMtrust
About the Mental Health Research Programme:

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