A new and simple guide to help more businesses in Wales employ Ex-Armed Forces personnel is being launched today.
Welsh Government say: “We know that while employment levels in Wales have grown steadily in recent years, employers have often found it difficult to recruit skilled vacancies to support their growing businesses.”
“We also know that Wales has a pool of uniquely-qualified, high-performing people who may just need a little extra support to bring them into the workforce. By working with employers to increase sustainable employment opportunities, we can help to prevent the more serious social and health issues that come with unemployment such as homelessness and poor mental-health.”
Welsh Government say that is why the Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services Alun Davies asked Business In The Community Cymru to work to develop a toolkit (available here) for employers in Wales, which is being launched at an event with employers and veterans in Cardiff today.
The Employers’ Toolkit – Inspire, Hire, Grow: How to capitalise on military talent – aims to raise awareness to prospective employers of the unique and broad range of skills ex-Service personnel possess and how those skills and experience could benefit a company.
Alun Davies said, “We all recognise the value of our Armed Forces in Wales and we are proud of our veterans and our shared military history.
“I am delighted to launch the Employers’ Toolkit to raise awareness to those companies who may not have considered the advantages of employing Service leavers and veterans before. It shows how employers can enhance their workforce by capitalising on the skills and disciplines gained during Service, including leadership, resilience and organisational skills.
“Our veterans deserve every opportunity for a successful second career after giving so much for their country.”
Matt Appleby, Director at BITC Cymru, said: “It makes sense for us to make the most of our veterans in Wales. There is a skills shortage here with some 6% of employers having at least one vacancy to fill – and, in veterans, we have a pool of uniquely-qualified people who, with support, can be brought into the workforce. As one of our members who employs veterans says, military people are flexible and versatile as they are used to being thrown blind into situations and getting on with it. They can also possess organisational skills and resilience which can be an asset in business.”
“The Welsh Government and businesses work closely together to make the most of veterans’ talents. BITC offers businesses who want to capitalise on military talent practical step-by-step advice, a toolkit for businesses to follow and many inspiring case studies.”
David Manners is Health, Safety and Environment Advisor, Admin Manager and Rope Access Coordinator for the Rail Division at civil engineering and construction firm Alun Griffiths Contractors, one of Wales’ leading civil engineering firms. He served in the British Army and is now an Army Reserve Officer.
Mr Manners said: “We pledged to support the local cadets and support people in the business who are reservists. Army Reservists have a 27-days-a year minimum commitment, though a lot of that takes place at the weekend. For employers there is huge value in employing reservists; the military gives them people who have had additional training in communication, leadership skills and more, plus professional training in the role they do in the reserves.
“Military people are flexible and resilient. They’re used to being thrown blind into situations anywhere in the world and getting on with it. Military people also have a lot of soft skills. For example, they’re used to working with people they hardly know, in very austere circumstances – where you can’t clock off and walk away at 5pm.
“In the civil engineering and construction industry, communication is important. In the military, the first time you’re promoted you’re sent on public speaking courses so you become used to speaking in public and to large groups. When military people write a CV they think of public speaking, for example, as an inherent skill everyone has and they don’t mention it. But recruiters don’t realise that military people have this skill, resulting in a missed opportunity for both parties.
“Companies need to have a much more open mind about recruiting ex-military people. Give them a chance and they’ll shine, because if you don’t give them that experience, they won’t have it.”