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.
This 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 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.”
For editors, the Toolkit will be available here:https://gov.wales/topics/people-and-communities/communities/safety/armedforces/package-of-support/?lang=en
“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.
“Civil engineering and construction has an ageing workforce. One of things we’re trying to do is persuade people leaving the military to consider entering this industry and also support reservists as a way of attracting talent. Reservists connected to the military can extol the virtues of civil engineering and construction to people leaving the military.
“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.
“The British Army runs the biggest apprenticeship scheme in Britain – proper, qualified apprentices in mechanics, engineering, as dental technicians, doctors, HR, IT.
“The misconception is that you join at 16 and spend your whole life doing one job. But you don’t do one job for life when you’re serving. I started as an infantry soldier and when I left I was looking after a regiment’s HR and finance. You train as soldiers but you also train in whatever your trade is and military people are used to training. You start off doing one job, then you’re told to go away and do another job and with every change comes training. Training is completely embedded in the military.”
“We built the bypass at Newtown, Powys. The Royal Engineers military unit run a BTEC course in civil engineering and construction for personnel to get promoted to Warrant Officers. We provided the 4-6-weeks industry placement on the Newtown Bypass. That came about because of an ex-Royal Engineer in the business. Alun Griffiths Contractors has 800 direct employees and 150 contractors and sub-contractors. With the HR director, we’re trying to tease out who all those ex-military are. Once you know how large your military network is, you can work out how this might benefit the business.”
Supply chain engagement
“One of our principal clients is Network Rail, who hold an MoD Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award. Network Rail demands things of their supply chain and we are pleased to have the bronze award and will go for the silver award next year. Going forward, we’ll be passing the message down our supply chain and saying: ‘We’re a member of this scheme. As one of our suppliers if you wish to know more, get in touch’.”