Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, the largest employment development specifically for Scottish veterans in decades, will open at veterans’ charity Erskine’s headquarters next June, it was announced today.
Renfrewshire-based social enterprise SBMC is projected to help more than 40 of the country’s brave ex-servicemen and women every year through direct, flexible employment – whilst also offering vital tailored wrap-around welfare support and accommodation in collaboration with Erskine.
The development is a direct response to a 2015 study into the employment support needs of Scottish veterans, which found that ex-service personnel are more than twice as likely to be unemployed as civilians across the country.
SBMC will offer opportunities ranging from short to long-term, part-time and full-time roles – all of which will be tailored to the specific needs of each veteran, many of whom face significant challenges due to life-changing physical or mental disabilities as a result of service.
As a not-for profit enterprise, it will immediately reinvest 100% of its surplus back into the company, offering greater opportunities to Scottish veterans and ensuring that the factory has state-of-the-art industrial equipment.
The factory will produce rail and road signs, recycle wooden products, and provide print & mail and fulfilment services.
Erskine, which is currently extending the services it provides, is planning to support those veterans employed by SBMC by providing access to community social facilities and accommodation adjacent to the factory on their estate at Bishopton.
Steve Sherry CMG OBE, chief executive of Royal British Legion Industries who is heading the factory development, said: “We know from extensive stakeholder engagement that there is an immense hunger within the military communities of Glasgow and the surrounding areas for skill-based employability initiatives for veterans.”
The brigadier, whose 38-year military career culminated in a senior leadership role in Pakistan, added: “SBMC will be based on a tried and tested, commercially competitive but also socially proactive business model, ensuring a positive and rewarding environment for the Scottish veterans who will work in the factory.
“This, when coupled with the full wrap-around welfare and residential support provided in in partnership with Erskine, will offer a life-line to hundreds of Scottish veterans who have found themselves in difficulty following their return to civvy street.”
Veterans’ charity Erskine is embarking on a service development programme on their estate which is 15 miles from Glasgow. They will be introducing a new activity centre to provide a venue for veterans from the local community to meet and learn new skills and building five new assisted living apartments, with plans for a new apartment block for single veterans and ten new family homes in addition to the existing 44 cottages on the estate well underway.
These developments are expected to support 200 veterans and will completely transform the estate – creating a mixed community, a vibrant hub for support, and with progression opportunities within the village, as veterans gain increased independence.
Steve Conway, CEO of Erskine, said: “I am delighted that Erskine has been able to support Royal British Legion Industries to establish Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company on our estate at Bishopton. This is one of several initiatives Erskine is taking forward to extend the services it provides to veterans, which will see a true Veterans Village being established with accommodation, employment, an activity centre and our well-known care homes being available on the same site. We very much look forward to seeing Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company not only become a leading social enterprise but provide vital employment opportunities to our nation’s veterans.”
Peter Holbrook, CEO of Social Enterprise UK: “The newly formed Scotland’s Bravest Manufacturing Company will create more opportunities for former armed forces personnel, changing more lives and helping build the fairer, more inclusive economy which is at the heart of the social enterprise movement.”