Building Bridges Between Defence and Employers

At a time when public support for the Armed Forces is reaching a new high, a new Ministry of Defence organisation is drumming up support from willing, smart and dynamic organisations in the UK who wish to tap into the many benefits of partnering with Defence.

Hundreds of employers across the UK are waking up to the fact that the Armed Forces community can contribute amazing value to their workforce. Service leavers and reservists bring a wealth of talent, skills and experience to employers who open their recruitment doors and create exciting careers for them. Likewise, by creating flexible working conditions for spouses, partners and members of the reserve forces, companies can do the right thing for society and generate goodwill and loyalty among their staff.

But if navigating the world of Defence can be bewildering even for the likes of Google and Tesco, imagine what it must be like if you are a medium size printing business in Yorkshire.

With this in mind, the Ministry of Defence’s Relationship Management team (DRM) has been established. Since April 2014, DRM has been providing a new accessible interface for employers  in the UK to establish long term relationships with Defence.

The DRM team provides a point of contact for employers to discuss all the different opportunities to engage with the broader Armed Forces community. For many companies, the first step is signing up to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant – a public pledge to support the UK’s Armed Forces. Anyone from major multinationals to small local businesses can sign up and make pledges to support parts of the Armed Forces community that are important to them.

In particular, DRM aims to enhance employers’ understanding of the unique challenges and circumstances faced by the families of serving members of the Armed Forces and assist them in providing a flexible and supportive working environment.

Fleur Thomas, Director Engagement of DRM said: “We want to encourage employers of any size and sector to see things from the perspective of Service forces personnel and their families. What’s important for employers is that they feel they have a choice about how they can support Defence in a way that really matters to them.”

A total of 450 organisations have now publicly pledged their support – and support can take different shapes, so it is tailored to employers’ own needs. For example, some businesses are working with Career Transition Partnership to find great positions for veterans, or are actively encouraging spouses and family members to apply for vacancies, or supporting Reservists who are already on their staff books.

If you’re on the job market and you’re seeking a company that will listen with interest to your military training or association with the Armed Forces, check which organisations have declared themselves as Armed Forces friendly by signing the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. Visit Look up who is in your area and read about the pledges they have made. You will find that many companies out there are hugely supportive.

If you’ve already found a great employer who has supported you – whether you are a Reservist, a military personnel spouse, or a veteran of the Armed Forces, you can pay them back. You can nominate any company that you think has gone above and beyond to support the Armed Forces community for a Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition award. Awards bring recognition to those who walk the talk of support and encourage others to get involved.


As well as regularly employing service spouses and dependants, Sodexo raised more than £20,000 for charities including SSAFA Forces Help last year. Eight hundred Sodexo employees cycled on exercise bikes at 75 locations in the UK,  Cyprus and Falkland Islands, covering over 14,000 miles, or the equivalent of cycling to Afghanistan and back.

Boeing, Tesco and EY all recognise the important contribution that Service families make to society, and show that the companies will endeavour to support service spouses before, during and after their partner’s deployment.

Vodafone are about to launch a career portal especially for service leavers and veterans. The portal will help them translate the specialist skills they gained during their time in the Forces into directly transferable skills and seek job  opportunities in Vodafone’s communications networks teams. They hope to broaden this to include Forces’ families looking for opportunities across their retail business later in 2016.