BUSINESS leaders in Woking have taken part in a networking event with the Armed Forces to learn how the two communities can work together to provide mutually beneficial support.
In 2012 Woking Borough Council signed a Community Covenant pledging its commitment to supporting the forces community, and now local businesses are being invited to learn about the role they can play in helping the borough’s serving men and women, reserve personnel, veterans, and their families.
Forces representative Colonel Charlie Lambert, Garrison Commander at Aldershot,
co-hosted the breakfast briefing at Export House with local businessman, Shahid Azeem, the CEO of Arcom IT.
The Colonel spoke of the importance of creating employment opportunities for veterans and the need for flexible working conditions for spouses, partners and the reserve forces.
There was also a call on businesses to support local cadet programmes that prepare young people, not for active service, but to encourage them to get actively involved in their community.
Providing a business perspective, Brigadier Paul Evans, UK Defence Transformation Director at BAE Systems, was able to highlight some of the recruitment benefits a closer working relationship with the Armed Forces has brought.
BAE Systems formalised its working relationship with the forces community in 2013 by signing a Corporate Covenant. This represents an additional layer of support under the National Armed Forces Covenant, which the council, in collaboration with SaBRE, will be encouraging businesses to commit to at the end of March.
A Corporate Covenant is a voluntary statement of support for the forces community working for, and using the services of, a particular company, corporate entity or charitable organisation. It complements the existing elements of the Armed Forces Covenant and ensures that members of the forces community face no disadvantage in their engagement with business.
Council Leader John Kingsbury said: “The forces community can contribute real value to business, both as employees who bring a wealth of skills and experience, and as customers.
“Organisations can also benefit significantly from the Corporate Covenant scheme as it offers an opportunity to build a reputation as a forces-friendly business at a time when public support for the Armed Forces is high.
“The council is supporting this process as committed signatories of the separate, but linked, Community Covenant. Furthermore, we are delighted to facilitate this introduction because we recognise the benefits the Armed Forces can provide in terms of economic development, due to the wealth of talent and skills leavers and reservists possess.”
Whether as an employer of the Armed Forces community or simply as a public declaration of support, Woking Borough Council and its partners will be inviting businesses to become signatories of the Corporate Covenant at an event in March.
BUSINESSES should email email@example.com to find out more information or to register their support.