If asked the question, it’s likely that the vast majority of employers would acknowledge the advantages of recruiting well-educated, highly trained and skilled individuals who can really make a difference to their business. Yet they would not automatically think to add talented ex-military personnel to their workforce.
As a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant we’re committed to supporting not only current service personnel (reservists), but also those who have left the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force to start a new life in a civilian occupation.
In abiding by the Covenant pledge, we try to go the extra mile when it comes to treating veterans and their families with fairness and respect. Through our contracts to manage Ministry of Defence (MoD) assets across the globe we enjoy close links with the Armed Forces, whilst our sponsorship and fundraising initiatives – channelled through our specialist division, Briggs Defence – are purpose-designed to support the vital work carried out by military charities such as SSAFA, Help for Heroes and ABF, The Soldiers’ Charity.
Transitioning into a civilian career
According to the latest MOD population projections, there will be 1.6 million UK Armed Forces personnel living in Great Britain by 2028. Although the overall number is set to decrease year on year over the next ten years, the percentage of veterans of working age (16-64) is set to rise from 37% in 2016 to 44% by 2028.
Veterans will attest to the fact that switching into a civilian role can be challenging, but there are a number of schemes, including the Career Transition Partnership, run by the MoD, and the REME Association Job Agency, that were set up specifically to help service personnel make the transition and we would encourage employers to get involved.
With the overall percentage of working age veterans trending upwards, the support that businesses working in conjunction with these schemes can provide to help ex-military personnel establish new careers is likely to become increasingly important.
Businesses don’t always realise that general, non-military training in the Armed Forces is aligned with the NVQs and BTECs with which they are familiar, and that many service personnel take up opportunities to achieve degree and masters level qualifications.
So, veterans are well-educated individuals and the vast majority enter civilian life with enviable technical capabilities, too. Employing them is therefore a sensible way for businesses to develop their workforce or tackle a skills shortage.
As hardworking individuals accustomed to coping with, and embracing change, veterans don’t expect to walk straight into a job that fits them like a glove, but are willing to retrain to enhance their long-term career prospects. That said, it’s also important to bear in mind that military personnel may have undergone extensive training in specific roles and so are more than equipped to take up opportunities as qualified chefs, pilots, lawyers and medics.
Former service personnel have worked in some of the most challenging environments all over the world so, irrespective of the grade they attained in the overall chain of command, they have developed valuable leadership attributes, including strategic management, problem-solving and decision-making skills. Since they are trained to the highest of standards to arrive at and execute a solution in a situation where factors are beyond their control, veterans can be relied upon to stay calm under pressure and focus on getting the job done.
In a variety of military scenarios the stakes can be extremely high so training is geared towards ensuring that people can communicate well. The ability to give clear and concise instructions and feedback means that ex-servicemen and women are well-versed in breaking down complex issues and explaining them in a way that others can easily understand.
Discussing mistakes does not make them feel uncomfortable and it is possible to have open and honest dialogue because they will not shy away from challenging your solution if they believe there is a better way to resolve the problem.
In the Armed Forces personnel are inherently task-orientated and goal-driven and understand how to motivate both themselves and their teams to get the right result. As a consequence they tend to excel in jobs that involve an element of coaching and mentoring.
Since working collaboratively is the accepted way to achieve the target in the military, veterans are team players whose instinct is to co-operate with colleagues, pulling together to achieve the objective, so they thrive in highly structured organisations.
Sound business sense
Working so closely with the military community, we appreciate the key qualities that servicemen and women offer to business. We’re proud to count both reservists and veterans among the highly skilled members of our team, not only within Briggs Defence, but also across the business as a whole. We benefit enormously from the skills and strong work ethic instilled in service personnel.
It’s often said that employing former servicemen and women is the right the thing to do and the MoD is quick to acknowledge this with the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Awards. Irrespective of the industry in which you operate, employing the right people for the job is essential if you are to drive productivity with a view to increasing profitability so that you can grow. Tapping into the UK’s talent pool of well-trained and highly skilled military veterans therefore makes sound business sense.
You can find out more about Briggs Defence, and our role as a valued MOD partner, at: https://www.briggsdefence.co.uk/Pages/Home.aspx