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