Veterans offer UK businesses skills and behaviours for the future

  • Renewed call for business leaders to consider veterans in their hiring strategies
  • New ‘Veterans Work’ podcast series launched to raise awareness
  • The Armed Forces have responded outstandingly during the pandemic highlighting the skills, behaviours and values that are an asset to the culture of any organisation.

As the UK emerges post-pandemic, businesses are focusing on their future of work plans and how they adapt and reskill workforces to mitigate future disruption.

There are an estimated 2.6 million military veterans in the UK – and around 900,000 of them are of working age. The latest in the Veterans Work thought leadership series is calling for businesses to seriously consider these veterans as part of their hiring strategy and today launched a series of podcasts, hosted by Kate Silverton, featuring industry experts, veterans and business leaders. Veterans Work is a collaboration between Deloitte, Forces in Mind Trust and The Officers’ Association, and with significant input from Government via the Ministry of Defence and the Office for Veterans’ Affairs.

The first episode explores the narrative surrounding veterans and employment transition following military careers. Kate Silverton, journalist and broadcaster, said: “Ex-military personnel offer an unparalleled talent that business leaders would be foolish not to harness. Our podcast guests illustrate how perfectly veterans’ values and behaviours complement so many roles from digital and tech to professional services. I was humbled as our veteran guests candidly brought to life their own stories as well as challenging perceptions and stereotypes.”

The podcast series consists of five episodes and brings to life veterans’ behaviours, values and purpose through the guest speakers*. Topics are the veteran employment narrative, values and purpose, resilient people, skills for the future and the campaign’s calls to action.

Podcast introductions are also given by The Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Leo Docherty MP, some famous faces, veterans and allies: Joanna Lumley, Rory Underwood, Ray Winstone, Lt Gen James Swift-Chief of Defence People, with an endorsement from WW2 veteran former Paratrooper Jimmy Knox.

Lord Lancaster, Member of the House of Lords, Former Defence Minister, and serving Army Reservist was a guest on the first episode. He commented: “We talk about resilience, but what does it really mean? Veterans are drawn from the community and are of the community. These are individuals who have been trained to deal with extreme adversity and challenges, have the capacity to be highly adaptable and agile, keep a team motivated as well as being loyal and very hard working. Twin this with camaraderie and a positive outlook, no matter how much adversity they are up against – and this is a win-win for employers of all sizes and across all sectors of UK plc.”

The podcasts series also offers valuable advice to individuals looking to transition from their military careers, recognising that leaving the forces is the start of another journey. Listeners will hear how to fulfil their potential in the right role, advice on telling their stories to potential employers, and ultimately feel empowered to back themselves through the transition. The guests talk about the importance of mentoring, surrounding yourself with a support team, accessing help via the many organisations set up to assist transition and seeking out employers signed up to The Armed Forces Covenant. David Richmond, the UK Government’s independent Veterans Advisor and a veteran himself, recommended: “Instead of just ‘selling yourself’, ensure you tell your own story in order to bring your skills, experience and value alive.”

Ray Lock CBE, veteran and former head of Forces in Mind Trust, added:

“There are approximately 14,500 armed forces service leavers each year in the UK. We urge all employers to invest a little time in listening to Veterans Work: The Podcast series. Hearing from veterans, will go a long way to helping employers understand what veterans can offer and how hiring a veteran can make an impact on the future resilience and culture of their organisation.”

Lee Holloway, Chief Executive Officer of the Officers’ Association concluded:

“The Pandemic is shining a light on military personnel as they work to support the nation amid this crisis. UK business wants adaptable team players able to find solutions that can focus and excel on the tasks at hand to deliver tangible results. Skills can be trained, but mindset and behaviours cannot – considering veterans for roles will almost certainly bring success, now and in the future.”

Jimmy Knox, a WW2 Monte Cassino veteran who introduces the podcast series in an endorsement message explains his experiences leaving the Army and finding a job in 1945:

“When I came back from the war, there was work, but it wasn’t the work I wanted. Generally we found it difficult, because all the jobs you wanted to do were occupied and employers weren’t interested in taking people from the Forces if you didn’t have the right experience. So you retrained and did whatever you had to. It was a difficult period but after a couple of months you settled in and then just went forward’’.

Chris Recchia, Partner Deloitte and Veteran commented,

“Listening to Jimmy’s experiences of seeking employment when he left the Army over 70 years ago it is astonishing to realise that little has changed. Veterans still face the issue of employers not realising their full potential, their transferrable skills or how easily they can be retrained. Progress is being made, but there is more to do if we are to make the UK the best place to be a Veteran.”

In 2021 as the UK recovers from the pandemic, the message to employers is clear: veterans can be part of the solution to your business’s challenges.

The podcasts are both audio and video recordings and are available to stream and download free on all Veterans Work channels including YouTube, and wherever you get your podcasts.

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By @Cobseo 54 years ago

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