Veterans Minister Keith Brown MSP officially launched a toolkit yesterday, written by Business in the Community Scotland, in partnership with SaluteMyJob, to help businesses embrace the skills of veterans and support ex-military personnel into second careers.
Capitalising on military talent: How to develop an Armed Forces friendly recruitment practice, offers a range of practical suggestions to help employers attract, recruit and retain ex-military talent.
With a range of skills in short supply across Scotland, veterans represent a unique and high-performing source of talent that can help to fill the skills gap. However many employers are missing out on this talent due to a lack of knowledge about the military or negative preconceptions.
Veterans still face a number of barriers that hold them back from fulfilling their potential, with many struggling to translate their skill set in a manner that resonates with employers. In addition, many employers simply don’t know enough about military hierarchies and culture to interpret military CVs and job applications.
Developed with input from leading employers, BITC Scotland’s new toolkit will equip business leaders and HR professionals with the knowledge and expertise needed to set up an effective ex-military employment programme. Employers making the extra effort to support veterans into meaningful second careers will be rewarded with loyal, skilled and committed employees. The programme is supported by the Scottish Government.
Keith Brown, Veterans Minister, launching the toolkit said: “Veterans and their families are a significant asset to businesses and I am committed to continuing to work with employers and partners to focus our efforts on boosting their career opportunities once they leave the Armed Forces. That is why I am delighted to launch this toolkit which aims to help those who may not have considered employing veterans before. Employers can benefit from the extensive range of skills and experience veterans can offer and this toolkit could help companies recruit and retain talented veterans. It offers employers real working examples of best practice and outlines how they can enhance their offering to veterans.I hope that the toolkit will encourage businesses across Scotland to recognise the positive contribution veterans can make to their workforce – those of whom we ask so much, deserve nothing less.”
Speaking after the event, Mr Brown, said: "This has turned into a project of real substance that went beyond my initial ask, and it gives us some useful material to build on."
To promote the toolkit and encourage employers to engage in this agenda, Maurice Corry MSP, Convenor of the Scottish Parliament's Cross Party Group for Veteran and Armed Forces Communities, hosted a 'meet the experts' session with BITC Scotland on Tuesday evening. Employers were invited to come with questions on how they can become Armed Forces-friendly employers and the benefits of doing so. It was also a chance to share their experiences of employing veterans, network with other employers and find out how you can access this exceptional talent pool in your business.
Managing Director of SaluteMyJob, Andrew Jackson, who attended the event in Edinburgh yesterday, (21st March) said: “The positive attitude of MSPs, employers and veterans at the launch and the Employers’ Forum that preceded it is hugely encouraging. Employers are keen to mentor and support other employers who are using the Toolkit to build new programmes. We look forward to providing professional advice and support to employers in any way we can”.
Virgin Money, Standard Life and Barclays are among employers who have initiatives supporting veterans into employment. Sandy MacDonald, Head of Sustainability at Standard Life, said at the launch: “When entering the workplace Armed Forces veterans bring with them a unique set of skills and experiences, which we have found to be ideally transferable to our business. Despite this, we are well aware of the challenges and difficulties that many veterans face when making this transition and are fully supportive of efforts to help tackle these problems.
“Through our Armed Forces Network, we are actively engaged in a number of initiatives and programmes that help raise awareness and increase support to veterans. These range from work placement opportunities for veterans, support for veterans’ charities, and many more. We are very proud to be supporting the launch of this toolkit, in the hope it can provide guidance and encouragement to employers who want to support the military community and benefit from this rich source of talent.”
Sue Bomphray, Director of Premier & Mortgages HR at Barclays UK, said the launch was a "great launch". She added: "We are lucky at Barclays to have such great support from the top and as such we have a comprehensive suite of support for veterans, however, it was fantastic to see so many employers interested in this agenda and wanting to find out more about how to make this work in their organisation”.
Mark Bevan, Director of Business in the Community Scotland, added: “Business in the Community Scotland is calling for the business community to reap the rewards from recruiting hard working, good humoured, highly skilled problem solvers who are used to performing well under difficult circumstances. With 3,500 veterans returning to Scotland they represent a significant boost to our labour market.
“We are proud to be working with the Scottish Government, SaluteMyJob and responsible businesses to promote an employment programme which supports returning servicemen and women into long-term civilian careers. The toolkit we have created together will equip employers with the expertise to set up effective military employment programme which will in turn reward them with loyal, skilled and committed employees. Scotland’s responsible business movement is growing in size and ambition. By supporting this engagement, the Scottish Government is enabling organisations, both large and small, to invest in social change and tap into a wealth of resources that will help to create both a vibrant economy and vibrant communities where people can flourish.”