Supporting Armed Forces Veterans

On this week’s blog I’d like to talk about support for Armed Forces Veterans and the young people of the three uniformed cadet forces. First though I have to admit being slightly biased, my Dad was in the RAF and I spent my formative years being dragged from one posting to another including living for 4 years in Cyprus something which I’m sure lots of kids would enjoy, I know I did! I also have two sons in the Sea Cadets so I see the incredible training opportunities and skills they gain, from leadership, people skills, self motivation and reliance to sailing and power boating.

At the recent Northampton Logistics Forum meeting I was lucky enough to hear a presentation about the Armed Forces Covenant which is an MOD scheme to encourage businesses to be more receptive to employing and helping those who have served in the armed forces as well as those reservists who continue to give their spare time to the Army, Navy or Air Force.

It reminded me pretty starkly how my own Father a 20 something veteran of the RAF struggled to come to terms with what he described as civvy street, it was a world unknown to him, he had skills but no idea how to use them in the commercial world and while he was offered some retraining it was real life opportunities not training which he needed.

It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been in the Armed Forces or isn’t part of a family who have been exactly how institutionalised you become, from moving when and where you are told to wearing a uniform to socialising exclusively with other service families. That’s the thing that you won’t really understand unless you’ve been part of it, it’s not a job or even a career it’s your family and your whole life…

So when you lose all of that how do you cope in the alien world outside, well the services themselves give far more help to leavers now but all that help won’t make any difference if employers don’t open themselves up to being positive recruiters of ex-service personnel, their spouses and partners as well as providing support to reservists and cadets.

You as a business can make a real difference to the experience of those veterans by actively encouraging applications from Armed Forces Veterans. You could also consider recruiting young people as apprentices from the cadet forces of Northamptonshire, I met a great organisation recently called the Cadet Apprenticeship Company an organisation who aim to match highly skilled cadets with apprenticeship positions.

What’s in it for you? Well it’s very simple what you will be getting are employees who are highly skilled, great leaders, team workers and problem solvers all proven in the most challenging of environments imaginable is there any organisation out there in Northamptonshire who DOESN’T need that??

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme encourages employers to support Defence and inspire others to do the same.

If you’d like to find out more about how your business could benefit from becoming an Armed Forces Covenant certified business and how you can engage with and support veterans take a look at the Armed Forces Covenant website.

If you’re a veteran yourself and need help and support, no matter when you left each branch of the Armed Forces has a support organisation you can contact. Just click on the links below to find out more.

Royal Air Force Association
Royal Navy Association
Army Service Leavers & Veterans
Royal British Legion

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