Employers attend networking event at RAF Benson

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Colin McGregor is the Director of the Oasis Partnership that provides a wide range of support services. Oasis are interested in recruitment of ex services personnel, as they have a lot of the skills that could add value to the charity and wanted to build a link the Employer Engage teams to work more effectively with ex serving personnel.

Colin was asked about his interest in the event:  “We work with people that have had drug and alcohol problems and look to help their employment opportunities when they have worked through their issues. We want to build our understanding of what opportunities are actually available and will now be circulating a newsletter to our staff to make them aware of the benefits of the Reserves. I think the key thing of today is learning that reservists are actually paid quite well and they get some great training.  It is something that more people should look at getting involved with.  We will be looking at becoming involved with the bronze, silver and gold employee scheme.”

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Richard Rowland chairs the advisory committee for employer engagement, which is a body of employers and we act as critical friends and active supporters of reserve forces, cadets, spousal employment and for career transitions. Whilst serving as a police officer for 30 years, he was responsible for the specials and there is a synergy between specials and reserves.  With his son currently in the air cadets, he can see it from both sides as a parent as well as being a supporter of volunteers.

Richard said there are many benefits to employing Reserves and Service Leavers:  “Core military values such as self discipline so you know that people are going to turn up to work, be loyal and punctual. They have good leadership skills plus specific industry skills, so join the club and reap the benefits of having well educated staff who have benefited from military training.”

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Hayley Smith is the Group HR Manager at Acorn Limited who are currently working towards a CTP (Career Transition Partnership). Within the maintenance industry, the company noticed a gap within certain skill areas and are looking for ex services personnel to come into the business as their skills are transferable and they are able to fill that gap.

Hayley said: “ Wealready a couple of reservists within the company and now have more of an insight about what they actually do. Ultimately we want to have that partnership approach and talk to our staff to educate others on what is available to them and how we could support them. For training budgets that are tight within the business, you can utilise the Reserves Forces to train and develop your staff, which is a massive incentive especially in leadership training. The reserves look at the business from a different prospective.  There is a huge difference in their approach to the business and we are considering adopting a military style structure within the business.

I am also really tempted to sign up as I think it would be really amazing.  I was studying before so I could do this in the time that I spent studying.  I’m really looking forward to promoting the reserves more and getting more information out there about what is available.”

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Karen Archway Services which is modular German designed scaffolding system, already have reservists working with them but were unaware of who they were.  Following from the Employer Engagement Event they hope to support them further and would like to employ more reservists.

When asking Karen what she had got from the day she said: “I am very impressed with the leadership qualifications that they have and the communication training that have. The other training that they receive is invaluable, such as first aid which is important on a building site.  If there is an accident, it is the service personnel that get everyone organised and those skills are invaluable in our industry.

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James Boyle works for CAE, a company that provides simulator training for civil aviation and working towards making flying safer. James spoke about why he had come to the event:  “ There appears to be a misconception about what being a reserve actually entails and wanted to find out more about what they do. The benefits of the diversity of both the training and the experience that they have received through the services, you just can’t replicate it and I think it’s a good idea to employ reserves especially those businesses who are contracted to the military. Ensuring companies working alongside the military, have a have a better understanding of what the military actually experience on the ground.

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Adam Liddle from Aijlon Technology attended the Employer Engagement event as their company do a lot of work with the MOD and employ 55 ex services personnel as part of our security framework.

When asked about why he had attended, he said:  “We are trying to get more people from the Armed Forces covenant into our employment not only as a part of our corporate responsibility but also to get that training and talent back into businesses.  I believe that employing and supporting Reserves, gives companies better retention because we are giving something back to employees. Today has also been a really good networking event and I am interested in finding out what the other companies do. I think it’s really important to bridge the gap between service leavers and future employers.”



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