“For ex-servicemen and women, reinventing your career can be the most challenging mission yet. That’s why we’re happy to help you join the civilian ranks.”
In March 2015 Jeroen Hoencamp, Vodafone’s UK CEO, signed the Armed Forces Covenant with the Ministry of Defence, pledging to support the Armed Forces community. The mobile phone network has created an environment where Armed Forces personnel can translate their unique skills within the company, as well as being a strong advocate for supporting military charities and spouses.
SaluteMyJob spoke to Amanda Thrower, Programme Lead for Vodafone’s ex-military programme about the company’s dedication to help former military personnel find a new career path at Vodafone.
Amanda said Vodafone signed the Armed Forces Covenant as it was the “right thing to do, to support the transition into employment”. “This was helped by a former military CEO, so very much driven from the top,” she added.
On Vodafone’s website the company further states: “Your skills and experience with teamwork, loyalty motivation, problem-solving and leadership can help us adapt to the future, serve our customers better and make a real difference to their everyday lives.”
Vodafone works with the Careers Transition Partnership (CTP), attending all the key CTP careers events, and they also run a number of web chats on different subjects. The company has a number of job opportunities for former service men and women, including project and programme manager, field service engineer and supply chain and logistics roles. Vodafone also has a number of opportunities for military spouses, including roles in their stores, contract centres and head office.
The main components of Vodafone’s military programme are:
- Internal network of former military personnel
- 30% discount SIM only deals for service personnel and their families
- Encourage employees to raise money for military charities
- Support the transition to work/recruitment.
“It is much more a CSR agenda than business, for example providing education, advice and support (insight days, CV workshops, dummy interviews) as well as a significant discount on our SIM only product to the advantage of all military families,” added Amanda. “We also employ three WIS veterans in order to help their journey into employment.”
Amanda said there are a number of hard and soft skills that former military personnel bring to the workplace.
“They bring hard skills primarily, such as technical knowledge, but also soft skills such as self-discipline, doing what they are asked to do and reliability,’ she said.
Amanda said there are a number of things that could help a company implement a successful Armed Forces programme.
She said: “A better understanding of what ex-military/spouses were and were not and to understand how to target them more accurately. Educate transitioning military people and spouses about industry – and the realities of civilian life - and to beware of damaging attitudes and behaviours, such as a sense of entitlement or ‘you owe me a job attitude’ and to manage their expectations.”
Amanda said what would make it easier for ex-military jobseekers when searching for a new career path is more support in helping translate their language and skills into commercial employment.
The Programme Lead said she would give one piece of advice to employers thinking about an ex-military programme. She said: “Whatever you do you must aim to build on the team spirit, sense of positive competition and can do attitude which comes with military people and discipline.”
Case study: From the RAF to Delivery Management
Nick spent six years in the RAF after joining straight from school. Now he’s a Delivery Management Co-ordinator based in Bracknell, and he spends his time managing the logistics of connecting fixed lines to Travis Perkins sites around the country.
Nick didn’t have any specific technology experience before joining Vodafone. But he had plenty of logistics knowledge from supporting Chinook helicopters in their missions in the field, both in the UK and overseas – often transporting service men and women from across the forces back to base.
“There are actually a lot of similarities between the two, like having a really clear career path,” he told Vodafone. “But it’s the little differences you notice the most – like not having to wear a uniform, and not having to shave every day!”