The Ministry of Defence has announced the 2015 Gold Award Winners of their Employer Recognition Scheme
A stable, motivated workforce with top technical skills and a pragmatic approach is a key priority for design, engineering and project management consultancy Atkins. The company undertakes diverse, technically challenging and time critical projects across the world. For many years, Atkins has opened its recruitment doors to reservists and veterans to tap into the right mix of technical skills and emotional intelligence.
In December 2015 Atkins launched its Partnering with the Armed Forces programme. This company-wide initiative encompasses Armed Forces advocacy, improved HR support for reservists and ex-service personnel, recruitment of service leavers, graduate and personal development and support of the UK Defence enterprise skills agenda. The company also reinforced its existing Corporate Covenant pledges to formalise this improved commitment.
Atkins believes that its involvement with Defence has had positive effects on employee engagement, brand awareness among current and potential recruits and business development opportunities at home and overseas.
Unit: Commander Maritime Reserves HQ
Role at Atkins: Consultant
“As Commander responsible for the Royal Naval Reserve National Branch of Warfare (Seaman), I manage 300 personnel and the many enquiries I receive can’t be addressed out of working hours. I simply couldn’t meet the demands of my role without the support and flexible working structure Atkins offers its reservist staff.”
The Automobile Association (AA)
The AA has a longstanding history of support for the armed forces community, being among the first 50 employers in the UK to sign up to the armed forces corporate covenant. They see the covenant as a living document and they have recently strengthened their pledges at a new signing. They have agreed to review their support every year and actively invite feedback on their performance.
Former service personnel are considered to be a natural fit with the AA for their skills and positive mindset. Last year they hired over 60 service leavers from several Army regiments, including the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), the Royal Logistics Corps, the Guards and the Parachute Regiment among others.
The AA promotes the benefits of the reserves among its employees and has developed HR supportive policies. It also works with The Poppy Factory charity to help place injured soldiers into work.
The AA is an enthusiastic supporter of Armed Forces Week – marked this year by holding key events every day of the week, including the launch of an internal defence network and workplace engagement sessions.
Rank: Veteran/Former Corporal
Unit: 26 Squadron Royal Corps of Transport (Northern Ireland)
Role at the AA: AA Recovery Patrol
“Working at the roadside presents various challenges, so you need to act calmly and decisively in whatever situation you face. The experience and skills I gained in the military help me deal with the unexpected and bring a professional focus to the job. These qualities are ideal for the AA, which offers a range of support for former service personnel and reservists.”
Babcock’s outstanding commitment to the armed forces community goes back many years. They have approached Defence with a “what can we do to help?” attitude, which has led to many initiatives across all Defence Personnel areas. Babcock employs over 80 reservists, hundreds of veterans and cadet forces adult volunteers – and wants to employ more. They offer a guaranteed interview for any reservist who applies for a post via the Babcock International website.
Babcock understands that employer support is vital to the recruitment of reserves and encourages their current employees to consider joining the reserve forces.
From line managers to senior directors, Babcock’s management stands firm behind their reservists, offering support and showing flexibility for their training or mobilisation. Babcock has developed a clear and supportive HR policy, which includes paid time off for training, additional leave and protection for those mobilised.
Babcock is always looking for new ways to demonstrate advocacy for the armed forces by hosting events such as the 2014 Babcock conference for reservists, which celebrated their skills and contribution.
Rank: Lance Corporal
Unit: D Sqn, Royal Wessex Yeomanry
Role at Babcock: Through Life Management Engineer
“Babcock has fully backed my involvement in the Army Reserves since joining the company in 2008 from top to bottom. My line management and HR have been commendable in providing flexibility and additional paid time off to attend military training as well as supporting me before and after deployment to Afghanistan.”
One of earliest employers to actively recruit armed forces personnel and sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant, Deloitte has remained a stalwart supporter and advocate for the Armed Forces community. Following their silver award in 2014 in recognition of their longstanding work to recruit service leavers and reservists, the firm has stepped up their support with robust policies and campaigns.
Deloitte has taken a championing role, promoting the vital role of the armed forces and the value of reservists widely among their clients through their corporate website. The firm has also worked hard to identify and communicate regularly with their reservists internally and through their military network.
Deloitte promotes the value of military skills in the workplace to their supply chain, speaks publicly in support of Defence at national events and provides pro-bono consultancy time to develop the Voices of Employees That Served (VETS) Programme.
The firm has also championed the value that Armed Forces personnel bring to professional services organisations in prominent industry publications Economia and CIMA magazines.
Rank: Sergeant – Army
Role at Deloitte: Cyber
Risk – Risk Advisory
“Deloitte’s Military Transition and Talent Programme provided me with the opportunity, training and support I needed to translate my military skills and experience into a rewarding civilian career in cyber risk. Transitioning from the military was made easier thanks to the support and encouragement provided by my Deloitte colleagues as well as our internal Deloitte Military Community.”
Fujitsu has long demonstrated a steady and strong advocacy role in support for Defence and is continually looking for new ways to promote the benefits of the business-Defence partnership. They do this by speaking at industry events such as the Partnering with Defence Conference 2015 and promoting their commitments to Defence in their internal publications, their intranet and through their graduate, apprenticeship and industrial placement communities.
Fujitsu employs reservists and service leavers and welcomes military skills into the business. To attract service leavers, they have set up a recruitment process that recognises Armed Forces skills and qualifications. They work closely with CTP, providing access to vacancies through their internal recruitment system.
Fujitsu is fully supportive of reservists’ mobilisation and reintegration at all levels and departments, from strategic to operational. Their HR policy grants 10 days’ paid leave and 10 days’ extra unpaid leave to attend annual training. Fujitsu proactively seeks to employ injured servicemen and supports them in their transition to a fulfilling career.
Rank: Squadron Leader
Unit: 600(City of London) Squadron
Role at Unit: Chief of Staff
Role at Fujitsu: Innovation Consultant
“As an RAF reservist with 10 years’ employment with Fujitsu, I have received extraordinary support and encouragement to deliver my reservist duties. This support has made the preparation for my two operational tours and return to employment seamless and given me the confidence to remain an active RAF reservist.”
Gateshead Council is one of the most forwardleaning Armed Forces authorities within the North East, if not the country, proactively supporting the Armed Forces community. They have hosted reserve awareness events within the Borough for staff, young people aged 18+ and local businesses.
Their inclusive HR policy offers reservists up to two weeks additional paid holiday for training. The council also employs many ex-service personnel and has links with CTP and Catterick’s Early Leavers Project.
Since 2012, the council has employed a dedicated Armed Forces Outreach worker and has taken the lead in launching the Tyneside Armed Forces Outreach Service, which it currently manages. It also provides front line staff with information outlining employment and support services for veterans.
Gateshead Council showcased this good practice at the MoD Regional Community Covenant Conference 2014 in Manchester. The organisation has provided the Outreach Service as a case study for Local Government publications and assisted in the Reserves 2020 Green Paper consultation. In addition, it has facilitated employer focus groups and assessed online toolkits for the MoD.
Councillor Stuart Green, Armed Forces champion for Gateshead Council, says:
“Gateshead Council has always maintained close links with our armed forces, so when we signed the Armed Forces Covenant we were determined to do all we could to provide the kind of support that serving and ex-service personnel clearly need.”
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust are extremely and visibly supportive to the Armed Forces Personnel community, reservists in particular. Driven by their senior management, this support has been advocated in many ways through their internal and external channels.
Gloucestershire Hospitals have created an online presence supporting reservists in their ‘Work for Us’ section of their website, advocating the benefits of joining the reserves and providing a host of links to make joining as easy as it can be. This public web presence also goes to show that Gloucestershire Hospitals position themselves as the reservists’ employer of choice, backed up by the publication of their reservist-friendly HR policy that clearly highlights their special paid leave of two weeks plus an additional unpaid week to accommodate training commitments. Gloucestershire Hospitals has also taken a lead on forming a Regional NHS Medical Reserves Committee to build specific relationships for the benefit of Medical Reserves.
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Associate Director of HR, Dr Mike Seeley is delighted by the announcement:
“This hugely prestigious award recognises the commitment of those in our organization who in some way support the armed forces, whether it be serving personnel, veterans or family members. We are particularly proud to support our medical reservists, nurses, doctors and others who dedicate their time and skills to helping others in need.”
ISS leads the way among facilities management and service companies in its strong commitment to Defence. Through its seven activity streams: recruitment, reservists, training, placements, VETS, cadets and families, ISS has demonstrated a pioneering approach towards the entire range of armed forces community members.
At ISS sites, a large number of staff are spouses, partners or children of service members. The company is campaigning to increase current number of reservists and has a standing offer of work placements for Air Cadets.
To support reservist employees, ISS has a new policy in place and offers additional paid leave for training and a single point of contact for employees and managers. ISS has also produced in-house guidance for reservists and their line managers to ensure a collaborative internal approach to reserve service.
ISS is also a strong advocate for veterans and the wounded, injured and sick. In support of the VETS initiative, the company provides bespoke job appraisal, mentorship and CV support services and creates work placements.
ISS’s charitable work is commendable, focusing fundraising efforts on service charities such as RAFA, RAFBF and ABF.
Unit: 1 Military Working
Role at ISS UK: Defence Business Analyst
“ISS’s positive and proactive support for Armed Forces service leavers has had a profound impact on my life, one that will continue throughout my new career in the civilian sector.”
Jaguar Land Rover
A longstanding advocate for Defence, JLR has worked hard to go beyond their Armed Forces Covenant pledges. In the last two years, they have stepped up their initiatives and boosted employment of service leavers, offering career opportunities to over 200 ex-forces personnel.
JLR encourages their supply chain to recruit service leavers, recommending candidates to their suppliers. Working closely with the Recovery Career Service and Mission Motorsport, they arranged seventeen placements for wounded, injured and sick personnel leading to eleven full time jobs at JLR and suppliers.
JLR support their 45 reservists with 15 days paid leave for training. When their employees are mobilised, they ensure a seamless return to their jobs. JLR encourages and supports an Ex-Forces Society which this year coordinated Armed Forces Day and Reserves Day celebrations.
The company’s charitable work is commendable. Their support of service charities includes Help For Heroes, Rally for Heroes, ABF and individual regimental associations. Recently, they sponsored the Invictus Games, which also counted with 150 JLR volunteers, vehicles and drivers.
Rank: Staff Sergeant
Unit: Queen’s Royal Lancers
Role at Jaguar Land Rover:
Process Leader, Solihull Manufacturing Team
“I am delighted to have been offered a permanent position at Jaguar Land Rover after taking part in the company’s placement programme to help rehabilitate wounded, injured and sick ex-service personnel and aid transition into civilian careers. This means security for my family’s future and a great confidence boost. I hope this will inspire others also leaving the forces.”
The firm has long championed strong initiatives of support for the Armed Forces community. For five years, JP Morgan has been running a market-leading Ex- Military Internship Programme to help service leavers of all ranks transition into successful careers in the private sector. Through the programme, JP Morgan provides candidates with the opportunity to gain exposure into financial services, strengthen their skills and experience and build a network within the firm.
JP Morgan grants reservists ten days’ paid military leave per year to attend training camps, fully accommodates employee mobilisation, allows flexible leave around a partner’s deployments and works closely with CTP to assist the transition of veterans into the workplace. JP Morgan supports charities with a forces connection at national and local levels and actively supports employee volunteering for military charities.
To spread the message more widely and reaffirm their advocacy role, the firm recently contributed to a City AM piece to promote the value of the skills and attributes that Armed Forces personnel bring to business.
Unit: 7 Rifles
Role at J.P. Morgan: Executive Director, Fixed Income Portfolio Manager, J.P. Morgan Private Bank
“J.P. Morgan has fully supported my commitment to the reserves and gives me additional leave for my annual military training. My colleagues, many themselves ex-military, are interested in and supportive of my role in uniform. Although it is challenging pursuing two high-pressure careers, J.P. Morgan’s support has given me the confidence and time to develop as an individual – which ultimately benefits both my employers.”
M-EC Consulting Development Engineers
M-EC’s Reserve Forces Policy formally acknowledges that military training develops skills and attributes that lead to improved performance in the workplace such as leadership, communication, team working and organisational ability.
The company has a very positive attitude towards reservists and service leavers when recruiting. They have encouraged two reservist employees, providing additional paid leave for training commitments and support during mobilisation.
In support of Armed Forces Week, the company organised a vehicle safety demonstration and a team building event in association with their local reserve unit.
M-EC’s support for reservist employees and their activities with the local Reserve unit have delivered significant media coverage in the press, Chamber of Commerce magazines and their company newsletter, leading to an increased awareness with other businesses. This award to a small private sector employer recognises the significant way in which the company has demonstrated supportive attitude and behaviour towards the Reserve Forces – a great example to other private sector SMEs.
Eddie Mewies, Managing Director, at M-EC, said:
“We have actively been supporting the reserve forces since 2013 and have found many mutual benefits of employing Reservists, particularly in terms of leadership and organisational skills. To see this support recognised with a gold award is a source of enormous pride as it highlights our commitment to date and inspires us to continue to be creative with our future support.”
National Express was the first company to sign up to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant at its launch in 2013. Since then, they have been active supporters of the Armed Forces. From generous travel discounts for reservists, service personnel and their families, to year on year support for Armed Forces Day, National Express has a long tradition pioneering forces friendly initiatives.
National Express is keen to offer careers to service leavers, offering guaranteed job interviews to those leaving with a PCV driving licence.
Recognising the Armed Forces’ huge contribution to society, the company supports their reservists with additional paid annual leave for training.
National Express enthusiastically promotes itself as forces friendly by advertising their support on their coaches and campaigning on social media.
They work closely with the Poppy Factory, holding free workshops for veterans looking for work and work placements. They also partner with Canine Partners to provide life-changing assistance to those injured in service and support the British Legion by offering free travel to serving and ex-serving personnel and their families to much needed holidays at the Legion’s Break Centres.
Unit: 23 Pioneer Regiment
Role at National Express: Coach Driver
“I am tremendously proud to work for National Express, which really gets behind the Armed Forces community. I was honoured to be chosen to support Armed Forces Day, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with personnel from the Army, Navy and RAF. It is fantastic to work for a company that publicly flies the flag for the Armed Forces and recognises the contribution they make.”
Offering support to the Armed Forces lies at the heart of PwC’s ethos to give opportunities to all. The firm demonstrates an advocacy role not just within the firm but also among the professional services industry.
PwC has recruited over 100 ex-service personnel who are successfully employed across the firm’s business areas, some at partner level. PwC’s Military Network provides invaluable guidance to those transitioning from the services and the many veterans and reservists employed throughout the firm.
In addition, PwC offers work experience for ex-forces individuals and runs workshops to guide veterans on how best to interview, present and be best placed to gain employment in civilian jobs.
PwC has a strong track record as a key contributor to numerous initiatives in support for Defence. Their sponsorship of the Invictus Games, provided financial support and volunteer staff to assist during work hours. The firm’s support extended beyond the Games to include CV and career coaching to athletes.
PwC are an enthusiastic contributor to press to promote the contribution that military skills and qualities bring to commercial environments.
Rank: Ex- Army Captain
Unit: 4 Rifles
Role at PwC: Manager in PPM – Consulting
“I have been fortunate enough to be both involved in and supported by PwC and its Military Network. Whether through bespoke training packages within the Business Unit and Line of Service to fill the gaps in my professional knowledge, time off to brief the Invictus Games competitors on my personal journey of transition, or planning and hosting PwC’s Ex Military Insight Day for over 45 service leavers, PwC fully supported. The firm certainly recognises the value and skills of those from the Armed Forces and works incredibly hard to allow them to achieve their potential from day one.”
Serco has continuously provided support for UK Defence for over 50 years. Integrating military personnel within the company is truly embedded in their culture.
Their proactive approach is spearheaded by a steering group engaging all business areas that has piloted collaborations with reserve units. The team has focussed on the transferability of skills between industry and Defence, with Sercoproduced recruiting materials encouraging members of the workforce to join the reserves and advocating the benefits of reservists to their business managers. As a result, Serco has seen a significant increase in people joining the reserves, helped by the 12 extra days’ paid leave for training that the company provides and the support it gives to the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant.
Recognising the value of military training to the business, Serco employs around 3,000 ex-service personnel – 10 per cent of their UK workforce. The company hosted a high profile Reserves Day at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham this summer to internally publicise this approach.
Serco has also spread the reserves message externally, with contributions to the Evening Standard, local BBC radio and trade sector press.
Rank: Lance Corporal
Unit: 167 Catering
Role at SERCO: Refuse and Recycling Driver
“Serco are great, they allow me 12 days’ paid leave to carry out my annual training and organised a great celebration for Armed Forces Day in June – it was brilliant.”
Tesco is one of the biggest employers of reservists and former service personnel and has a record as a forces friendly organisation – their founder Jack Cohen set up his first market stall with his demob money after serving in WW1.
The first supermarket to publicly declare itself as forces friendly, Tesco has contributed resources, creativity and energy to supportive campaigns. The retailer actively supports the recruitment of service leavers and has been a key partner of the Career Transition Partnership since 2007, enabling forces leavers to see if retail is for them.
To support existing employees, Tesco offers the most generous reservist policy in the industry, as well as launching and funding an Armed Forces Network to give a voice to the armed forces community, both inside the business and externally.
Many Tesco stores enthusiastically supported this year’s Armed Forces Day by inviting local serving personnel for a “Heroes Breakfast” in their canteens.
Since 2015 Tesco has raised over £30 million for Armed Forces charities including Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion.
Unit: The London Regiment
Role at Tesco: Procurement Manager, Logistics
“Tesco’s flexible reservist policy means I can pursue my passion of serving in the Army while enjoying the benefits of civilian life. I can now take part in more training and activities which will develop my military skills, without being out of pocket or using annual leave. Tesco has made it easier for people to balance their day jobs with their military roles, and I’m pleased the business recognises the commitment we make.”