“We can support these people if we understand their difficulties”
As an IT project manager, I deliver multi-million pound projects in the public and private sectors, but my background was in the military. At 16, I joined the Army where I spent 14 years in the military posted in various places around the world. Unfortunately, in 2009, I was injured by an IED incident and had to be medically discharged.
Spending 14 years in an organisation where they put all your food on, your accommodation and everything is dealt with, to then leaving and looking at the outside world and seeing what you can do for work, is quite a daunting task.
Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have some Forces charities help me, they put me in touch with Jaguar Land Rover, whose business is going from strength to strength. It seemed like a good fit so I went in for interview. I had a lack of industry specific knowledge, my engineering skills had been very focused around military equipment, so I asked myself would I be able to make the transition? They put me in a very temporary role initially to see how I would do, but within three months, they had given me a permanent role and said, "how do we get more people like you?"
The thing is, I was the rule and not the exception. There are hundreds of people like me, with my training, and so Jaguar Land Rover started to look at different initiatives for how we could engage the Armed Forces community including looking at sponsoring military type events.
I then looked to relocate to the south-east and found Atos, and when I got into Atos, it was almost the same situation where they put me in a bit more of a junior role. I took a pay cut to get in there. Again, as soon as I started demonstrating my transferrable skills and I’ve been here 18 months. Since my appointment Atos have signed the Armed Forces covenant and are looking at different ways we can engage the military community.
One of the key things we have looked at, it is about being fair to people who have been in the Armed Forces and making sure they are treated as such. One of the things we looked at is forces' spouses, they probably get overlooked quite a lot, people in the military get moved around a lot, they are back home, the wife is there with the kids, and they get moved around every 2-3 years.
We can support these people if we understand that it is difficult, if you are moving, to develop a career. Being able to support these people as they move around the country and identify roles they can be mobile in, all they need is an internet connection, and they can have a career going forward. They are not just an Army wife.
Have a look at the Armed Forces covenant, see what a difference you can make, your business will benefit!
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