The benefits of work placements from an employers perspective

Creating work placement opportunities for Service Leavers is a win win situation for both your company and for the person undertaking your programme. They are a great way for transitioning military personnel and Service Leavers to gain vital first-hand experience of the civilian workplace and employers can find out about the benefits of employing ex-military personnel.

Here we chat to Sue Bomphray, an HR Director at Barclays based in Scotland, who left the Army 20 years ago, about their Armed Forces Transition programme (AFTER).  

What is the Barclays AFTER programme?

Our Armed Forces Transition, Employment and Resettlement (AFTER) programme runs a series of one to two-week work ‘taster’ placements designed to give Service Leavers exposure to a wide range of functions across the business and valuable business experience that will help with their transition into civilian employment. Successful candidates not only gain a unique insight into how a financial institution operates but also develop tangible career skills including CV enhancement and interview techniques.

Are Barclays placements just for those in resettlement?

No we offer opportunities to those in resettlement and to those who have left the Services and may not have found the right career path. We find that work placements are a useful tool for getting an insight into what it is like to work for a large financial institution like Barclays. It also gives them the chance to understand whether it is the sort of place they would like to pursue a career in the future.

It’s about giving them the chance to actually see people doing their jobs, chat to them and get exposure to working in a civilian work environment.

What do Service leavers do on their placement with Barclays?

Service leavers taking part in the placement have the opportunity to find out about the key business and functional areas in Barclays, such as Private Banking as well as Risk & Operations. They find out more about certain roles within the business through ‘a day-in-the-life’, taking part in call listening, as well as gaining interview and CV advice. A lot of our one-to-one support is about speaking to people about what type of roles their skills could be suited for and helping generally with advice on transitioning.

How do work placements to Service leavers benefit you as a business?

From a business perspective, it allows us to gain exposure to a range of different people and for us to see what military candidates can bring to the workplace. Some business areas in Barclays may not have thought about employing ex-military people at all - so by doing these work placements, we have actually created a lot of interest in military candidates. Once you have military candidates coming into the organisation, people can quickly see the positive impact they have on the business.

What’s your advice to other employers about work placements?

I think that more businesses should offer work placement opportunities. For us, it started off as an altruistic thing - particularly focused on Wounded, Injured and Sick veterans and was very much about helping them. What we quickly saw was that it was such a great talent pipeline. Veterans bring such a fresh perspective into an organisation and a huge amount of transferable skills. And by offering a work placement, rather than just an interview, you get to really see what people have to offer. It’s almost like a try before you buy - for both employer and candidate.

Want advice on setting up your own work placement programme for veterans?

If you want some advice on how to set up your own work placement programme for veterans, get in touch with us today by calling 01249 691415 or by emailing Andrew Jackson

Want to find out more about employing veterans? Download the full Capitalising on military talent: Everything you need to know about employing veterans here.