Veterans employment: the case of Barclays

Barclays has been actively involved in the recruitment of ex-Service personnel for a number of years. It’s Armed Forces Transition, Employment & Resettlement (AFTER) Programme, which was set up in 2010.

The AFTER programme was spearheaded by former Army Colonel Stuart Tootal, has supported over 3,500 ex-military personnel through a combination of work placements, CV & interview coaching, and money management sessions, and hired 350 veterans for roles within the bank.

More recently, Barclays has been the driving force behind a new initiative, which was piloted in September 2015 in response to a perceived need for better education for employers around the value veterans can bring to the workplace. The Veterans Employment Transition Support (VETS) is backed by the MOD and Career Transition Partnership (CTP), services charities like Help for Heroes and Walking with the Wounded, along with a range of companies, including Barclays, Jaguar Land Rover and Amazon. It aims to join up the existing transition support initiatives into a single, coherent programme in order to improve and optimise employment outcomes for veterans and employers alike.

Both the AFTER and VETS programmes are supported by Barclays’ internal veterans network, which is made up of 500 employees who have either served in the armed forces or have an interest in supporting veterans. This group meets quarterly to drive forward the military agenda within the business and provide support to new recruits. 

“The economic value that ex-military employees can contribute should not be underestimated, and at Barclays we want to ensure that companies see hiring veterans as not just a ‘nice-to-have’ part of their CSR activity, but as a business imperative”

- Stuart Tootal,
Chief Security Officer and Head of Barclays AFTER programme.

The process

The VETS programme uses a 4 stage model to help Service leavers make the transition from the military to “civvy street” with a fifth stage, Reserve Service, an option when veterans are successfully in work.

It includes all the necessary work interventions, such as CV & interview workshops, as well as access to a list of roles across all of the partner businesses. Veterans that sign up to the programme are assigned a mentor who provides continual and on-going support. Veterans and mentors are matched based on location and experience.

The programme is managed by a small team of ex-Service personnel, many of whom were recruited via the AFTER programme.

Registration & skills assessment

  • Veterans are directed to the website via the MOD, Service charities, company partners and other sources.

  • Once they register, they are allocated a mentor. This is typically an employee from one of the partner organisations.

  • A 1:1 meeting will take place between veteran and mentor to assess skills and understand what interventions are required.

Targeted interventions

  • Veterans will work with mentors to decide what interventions are required, drawing on a range of activities listed on the VETS hub including: Insight Days, CV & Interview workshops, work placements, internships, and webinars.

  • Mentor will match the veteran’s skills to their preferred sector, function and industry and consider whether any industry sector qualifications are required.

  • Once interventions and skills gap is identified a career roadmap is mutually agreed.

Job application

  • A wide range of jobs are advertised on the VETS website.

  • Mentor helps veteran prepare for job interview by providing job application advice, tailoring CV to the job, and conducting a mock interview.

Employment support

  • The VETS programme works with corporate partners to ensure veteran recruits are supported once in employment. Tools available include induction packs, Line Management support packs etc. 

  • Original mentor remains accessible throughout.

Outcomes and benefits

VETS gives employers direct access to a well-trained, highly motivated and disciplined workforce, significantly reducing the considerable cost of hiring.  Through the VETS programme employers can access support and guidance on how to recruit veterans and how to get the best from veterans in their workforce.

All of the participating companies are committed to encouraging their staff to volunteer as mentors on the programme. This has a number of reported benefits, including improved interpersonal skills, professional development and enhanced employee engagement. The programme has received wide interest and support from the private sector, as well as influential military organisations. Since the first pilot took place in 2015, the programme has provided support to 400 veterans and successfully placed 95 into employment. 

Both the AFTER and VETS programmes form an important part of Barclays Citizenship agenda and contribute to Barclays’ overall commitment to change 5 Million Young Futures. As the oldest British bank, Barclays also feels it has a responsibility towards the British forces and is keen to help other employers take advantage of the unique skills and behaviours that veterans have to offer.

Looking ahead

According to VETS Project Manager, Nick Allen-Perry, the focus moving forward will be in scaling up support for the programme and ensuring there is an equal pool of mentors and veterans. To achieve this, Nick and his team aim to raise awareness of the programme amongst Service leavers via CTP employment fairs and events. They will also work closely with the businesses involved in the programme to encourage more employers to come on board and develop an armed forces-friendly recruitment process.

Visit the VETS website for further infomration or watch this video to find out more about AFTER, Barclays internal employment programme for veterans.