Defence Secretary welcomes employment pilot for veterans

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has today welcomed the launch of a pilot scheme designed to assist Armed Forces veterans in finding jobs that best match their skills and experience.

Initiated by Barclays, the Veterans Employment Transition Support programme (VETS) is a partnership of leading companies and charities. It will support the Ministry of Defence and Career Transition Partnership (CTP) in helping service leavers as they seek to find employment, and provide mentoring, training and advice to veterans, regardless of when they left the Armed Forces.

Through the partnership, veterans will also be matched to work experience and job opportunities that best match their skills and career aspirations, while employers will get advice on how to recruit and then utilise the particular skills of veterans.

The partnership will build on the work of the CTP which ensures that Armed Forces personnel are well supported when they leave service and can translate their skills, experience and qualifications into a successful civilian career.

The CTP helped 84 per cent of Service Leavers in 2013/14 to find sustainable employment within six months of leaving the Armed Forces, thanks to benefits available such as training grants, allowances, travel warrants, resettlement leave, transition workshops, one-to-one career guidance support, subsidised vocational training support, housing advice, financial briefs and job finding support. A new contract to provide CTPservices and support, potentially worth up to £100million over the next decade, was awarded to Right Management Ltd and implemented on 1 October 2015. More than 200,000 service leavers have been helped by theCTP since 1998.

Mr Fallon welcomed the launch of VETS at the MOD’s Welfare Conference where representatives of the Armed Forces, charities and other stakeholders discussed the Department’s first ever Armed Forces Families’ Strategy.

The strategy, which was announced in September, continues the MOD’s commitment to uphold the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. Enshrined in law in 2011, the Covenant sets out the nation’s obligation to ensure personnel and their families are treated with fairness both during and after their period of service.

The Armed Forces Families Strategy is recognition of the unique challenges faced by Armed Forces personnel and their families, and the fact that the performance of Service personnel is inextricably linked to the welfare of their loved ones. Conference delegates have been invited to help shape the Strategy and the priorities that will flow from it.

Monday’s conference will provide delegates with an opportunity to discuss a wide range of topics and will play a key role in shaping and directing the strategy.

The Defence Secretary said:

Veterans have valuable skills that can benefit businesses but not enough employers understand what they have to offer. This new scheme will help match firms to the talent pool of all those who have served and who can help their firms to grow.

Strong families also mean strong Armed Forces. The Families’ Strategy will help give families, partners and Service children the support they need in times of trouble and help them make the best decision for their loved ones. Above all it will guarantee that the golden thread of fairness, increased choice, self-sufficiency and resilience runs through everything we do.

An array of initiatives under the Covenant, including those listed below, is already ensuring fair treatment for Service personnel and their families. The Families Strategy will build on this work:

  • Spouses and older children of personnel will now be able to claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) as soon as they return to the UK rather than waiting three months
  • Thousands of members of Armed Forces families who are posted overseas will be able to suspend their UK mobile phone contracts after the MOD reached agreement with the major suppliers
  • As part of a trial under the CTP, more than 400 spouses of service people are being offered a grant of up to £1,000 to be spent on education and training to enhance their employment options
  • The Schools admissions code has been amended to allow all schools in England to allocate a place in advance of a Service family arriving in the area, if the family has a posting notice. It also enables infant schools in England to admit Service children over the normal class size of 30
  • The MOD announced an extension of the Enduring Families’ Free Mail Service on 1 September this year that will benefit a further 1,200 military and deployed civilian personnel overseas
  • A total of 46 FTSE 350 companies have signed the Corporate Covenant to date – formalising their commitment to the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. Around 20 others have expressed an interest
  • More than 300 grant applications have been made to the Covenant Fund since it opened to bids in August
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