Working with our Servicemen and women
To find out more about our evolving relationship with the Armed Forces, I spoke with two colleagues close to the heart of it, Jeni Burton and Jamie Black.
“The support we provide takes many forms” Jamie explained, “from Holt’s, and the dedicated Military banking service they offer, to the work we’re doing from an employment perspective to make sure Service Leavers, Reservists, Veterans and their families, get the support they need. The cornerstone of all this is the specially tailored Armed Forces Covenant we signed in 2015.”
Jeni elaborated on the challenges Service Leavers can face when it comes to finding another career. “People can have amazing potential yet still encounter barriers translating skills and experience from their role in the Forces into civilian occupations.”
“When we signed the Covenant, we really wanted to address this. So we’ve been working hard to focus recruitment conversations on transferability, and creating awareness of the skill and capability of Service Leavers. We’ve run events to link Service Leavers with areas of our business where there’s a good skill match, and to introduce them to a range of career options. We’ve also provided mentoring from Service Leavers who’ve already been successful in our business.”
We’re looking to support people at all stages of their careers, and we’ve even jointly organised secondment placements and exchange days for senior figures. This is a reflection of the level of trust that exists between our organisations, and a great opportunity to share ideas and expertise on issues like leadership and technology.
As both Jeni and Jamie went on to explain, another part of the picture has been making sure we’ve got the structure and flexibility in place for Reservists, so they can fulfil their commitments with the Armed Forces, while still having peace of mind that their job here is protected. “It’s not an option a lot of people necessarily know about” Jamie said, “and we’ve been raising awareness about reservist opportunities. Right now we have around 150 people in our Armed Forces Network, and 62 of them are Reservists.”
I could see just from speaking with Jeni and Jamie, the passion they had for their work. As Jeni said, “for a lot of people it’s an emotional thing –it’s about the complex history that connects us, and the sacrifices that have been made and felt by so many people, on all sides, reaching back to the First World War.”
We’re hugely proud of the relationship we’ve built with our customers and colleagues in the Armed Forces, and we’re looking forward to seeing it grow in the years ahead.