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An image of Air Vice Marshall greeting a guest at an employer engagement event.

Written by Jack Parry, Events Coordinator, GL RFCA

Engagement between the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and civilian employers through events is crucial for the comprehensive support of military personnel. These events serve as platforms to bridge the gap between military and civilian life, ensuring that Defence personnel receive the support they deserve while benefitting employers, the economy, and national security.

To facilitate and nurture this relationship between industry and Defence, the MOD founded Defence Relationship Management (DRM) which was subsequently tasked to engage with employers and deliver the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) and the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) on the MOD’s behalf. To better to implement these schemes the responsibility for delivery was split between DRM and the 13 regional Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Associations to produce a focused and regional approach which has led to 12,217 accounts signing the AFC so far.

Part of this success is due to the use of events as an essential tool to connect with employers and to promote the benefits of employing members of the Armed Forces Community by advocating for the AFC and ERS. These events can range from Gun Salutes hosted by the Honourable Artillery Company to networking breakfasts. These provide an opportunity for employers to meet other like-minded organisations as well as members of the Armed Forces community to gain valuable insight into the benefits of working with Defence.

As the Events Coordinator for the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Greater London I am extremely privileged to be in the position I am in, to help facilitate this very necessary and supremely impactful drive to engage with employers through events on behalf of Defence. Below I have outlined the key benefits of employer engagement events ranging from allowing the smooth transition from military to civilian life to the infusion of military skills into the civilian workforce.

1. Facilitating Smooth Transition for Military Personnel

Employer engagement events can play a significant role in the transition process for military personnel moving to civilian life. These events, such as job fairs, workshops, and networking sessions, provide direct interaction between service members and potential employers. They Offer an opportunity for Service Leavers to showcase their skills and for employers to gain first-hand understanding of the unique attributes that Service Leavers bring to the table. By participating in these events, employers can learn how to create a supportive work environment for members of the Armed Forces community, thus facilitating a smoother transition from military into civilian life.

2. Showcasing Military Skills and Experience

Employer engagement events are excellent opportunities to highlight the valuable skills and experience that military personnel possess. Through presentations, demonstration, and one-on-one discussions, Service Leavers can illustrate their leadership, teamwork, problem-solving abilities, and specialised skills in areas such as logistics and cybersecurity. These events such as the yearly Exercise Sharpe Shooter and 3MI Intelligence Challenge help demystify military experiences and translate them into terms that civilian employers can readily appreciate and utilise. By seeing these skills in action, employers are more likely to recognise the potential benefits of hiring Service Leavers as well as Reservists and integrate these strengths into their workforce.

3. Enhancing National Security through Reservist Support

Events that focus on the dual roles of Reservists are crucial in ensuring that these individuals can balance their military commitments with civilian employment. By engaging directly with employers, the MOD can foster a better understanding of the needs of Reservists and the importance of their role in national defence. These events can provide employers with the information and tools needed to support Reservists, ensuring that they can fulfil their military duties without jeopardising their civilian career. Enhanced employer support for Reservists contributes to overall military readiness and effectiveness, improving the capability of the British Armed Forces through the ‘Whole Force’ model.

4. Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility

Employer events provide a platform for business to demonstrate their commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) and diversity. By participating in these events, employers show their support for Service Leavers and Reservists as well as the wider Armed Forces community. These events highlight the diverse perspectives and experiences that the Armed Forces community bring to the workplace, promoting a more inclusive and innovative workforce. Engaging with the MOD through these events helps business fulfil their CSR goals while benefitting from the unique contributions of the Armed Forces community.

5. Building a Supportive Community

Events that engage employers with Defence foster a sense of community and mutual support. These gathering create opportunities for employers to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of the sacrifices made by military personnel. This understanding can lead to broader community support for the Armed Forces and their families.

Conclusion

Employer engagement events organised by DRM and the RFCAs are essential for supporting Defence personnel. These events facilitate the smooth transition of military personnel to civilian life, showcase their valuable skills and experiences, and enhance national security by supporting Reservists. They also promote corporate social responsibility and diversity, and build a supportive community. By fostering strong relationships with employers through these events, the MOD ensures that the Armed Forces community receive the support they deserve and that they are not disadvantaged because of their or their spouses service, while employers gain access to a talented and diverse workforce. This mutually beneficial partnership serves the interests of individuals, businesses, and the nation as a whole