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Re-settling military leavers can be key in helping employers plug skills gap

Businesses in haulage, hospitality, retail and manufacturing suffering with recruitment issues need to consider exploring opportunities around hiring personnel looking to re-settle after leaving the Armed Forces.
Re-settling military leavers can be key in helping employers plug skills gap

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce is highlighting to all businesses in the region the benefit of signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant, giving them access to a recruitment service supporting some of the most well-trained and skilled potential employees.

With it currently being Armed Forces Week, the Chamber decided it was good timing to review its Armed Force Covenant commitments.  Managing Director Suzanne Caldwell, re-signed a refreshed Armed Forces Covenant on Monday and is encouraging Cumbrian regional businesses to engage actively – not least exploring the opportunities to employ service leavers.

Cumbria is one of the hardest hit areas in the UK’s current staffing crisis as bosses struggle to get the necessary staff needed for the economy to roar back to life.

Across the UK there are approximately 700,000 vacancies, twice as many as a year ago, despite there still being two million workers on furlough. Cumbria alone had more than 3,000 new job vacancies in May alone, according to the Cumbria Intelligence Observatory.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) estimated that there were currently between 60,000 and 70,000 unfilled driver jobs, with there being a significant quantity based in Carlisle and Penrith due to their north-south and cross-Pennine connectivity.

Suzanne said: “We as a Chamber have been hugely engaged with businesses in a variety of sectors that have been hit by the current shortages in recruitment.

“No matter where you look, whether its hospitality, haulage or a different industry, employers are suffering with a skills shortage so it makes sense to look wider and explore all the avenues available to them.

“Thousands of ex-military workers are looking to re-settle into civilian life every year and there is no better area for them that Cumbria. A lot of employers forget that while in the armed forces a vast majority of non-military specific courses now align with accepted civilian standards such as NVQ’s and BTEC’s.

“Ex-military workers are used to dealing with difficult factors and remaining focused on delivering success and getting the job done in a way that’s others may find inspirational.

“According to a Deloitte (Veterans Work) survey in 2016, 72 per cent of organisations which have employed ex-military staff would recommend this approach to others. At a time when many industries are struggling to plug a significant skills gap, one solution for that talent crunch could be for businesses to think about ex-military personnel.

“Career Transition Partnership (CTP), with the Ministry of Defence and Right Management Ltd, offer a great opportunity to work with a specialist consultancy to access a great pool of talent.”

Victorian Doran, MOD Regional Employer Engagement Director for Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Cumbria said: “Recruiting ex-military personnel who have a breadth of aptitude, skills and training which are transferable could add real value to any business.

“There has been a reluctance previously by employers in some areas to recruit ex-military personnel but hopefully this is steadily changing.

“The Armed Forces train personnel to the highest standards. Engineers and technicians have worked with some of the world’s most advanced defence systems, with specialisms in aeronautical, avionics, electrical, mechanical, nuclear, communications and marine engineering, to name a few.

“Many ex-military candidates also have access to funding for training courses, in order to prepare themselves for civilian life. With access to grants and funding through the MOD’s Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme (ELC) ex-forces candidates can obtain the necessary supporting qualifications needed to support their application for a variety of job roles.”

More information for employers is available here https://www.ctp.org.uk/employers and they can contact the armed forces engagement team via www.nwrfca.org.uk

**This Saturday is Armed Forces Day and a number of events by local authorities and other groups are due to take place across the county, if your business is involved in any then please get in touch and let us know.


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