Following the successful completion of the first phase of its Veterans’ Employment Initiative, the Royal Foundation was awarded a further grant by Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT) to continue with the second phase…

The aim of the Veterans’ Employment Initiative is to support serving men and women to secure employment as they transition into new civilian careers.

In the first phase, the Foundation commissioned Deloitte to investigate how Service personnel could be better supported to find and retain work. It involved companies who had developed successful veterans’ employment programmes and who could share best practice that could be applied more widely, key MOD stakeholders, and case studies from both a national and international context.

The research identified areas of best practice, and one of the key findings focused on the importance of building awareness amongst businesses of the opportunities that surround military hiring.

The aim of the next phase of the Veterans’ Employment Initiative, which is currently underway, and which FiMT is supporting with a £65,000 grant to The Royal Foundation, is to build on this research and create the capacity and knowledge within businesses to recruit service leavers.

The Royal Foundation have commissioned Business in the Community (BITC), a UK business-led membership organisation, to lead on this next phase by establishing a network of ‘military champions’ within businesses across the UK.

Over the past 6 months, BITC has run a series of events to raise awareness of the role and opportunity of employers in supporting ex-Service personnel into work. They have also published practical guidance on their website to help their 800+ company members to recruit and retain military candidates. These networks established by employers support ex-military employees, known as ‘Vet Nets’, provide support for ex-service employees in civilian employment as well as for those actively seeking employment.

For the remainder of the project, BITC will draw on the collective knowledge of the military champions’ network to produce an employer toolkit, highlighting the practical steps businesses can take to inspire, hire and grow ex-Service personnel in the civilian workplace.

At the end of the 12 months, the Royal Foundation will share in-depth feedback from the participants, assess the perceived value of military champion’s network, and share recommendations going forward.

Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “Ex-Service men and women have an enormous amount to contribute to the workplace, with many bringing a wide range of skills and experience to their jobs. Furthermore, we know that employment is a key component of a successful transition to civilian life. Last year’s research highlighted the good practice of employers who are supporting ex-Service employees and we are pleased to be supporting the next phase of the initiative, which will encourage further collaboration and the sharing of best practice.”

David Wiseman, Head of Military Programmes at The Royal Foundation, commented: “The work conducted by the Royal Foundation and Business in the Community is helping leading companies to utilise the incredible range of talent on offer amongst the Armed Forces Community. Vet Nets will assist these businesses to access and make the very best of this talent; the invaluable support from the Forces in Mind Trust is fundamental in making this happen and we are extremely grateful for the Trust’s ongoing support.”

Catherine Sermon, Employment Director at Business in the Community, added: “More and more businesses are recognizing the skills and talent ex-Service personnel can bring to the civilian workplace, yet many are still unsure about how to attract and retain ex-Servicemen and women. Through this project with the Royal Foundation, we are pleased to be supporting businesses to adapt their recruitment and retention practices in order to access this untapped talent pool.”