This month I have the exciting and absolute pleasure of talking about a topic that is very close to my heart, Armed Forces Day and Reserves' Day are coming up on the 27th and 24th June. They are an opportunity for us all to support the Armed Forces and provide a much valued morale boost for the troops and their families.
Coming from a long line of military personnel, or hero's as we like to think of them, I love any opportunity to celebrate, support and raise awareness for our amazing Armed Forces so here is one epic shout out to all of the troops, the service personnel, the Veterans, Reservists, Cadets and all of the service families from me Caree, and everyone here at Blue Arrow.
What is Armed Forces Day?
Armed Forces Day takes place on the last Saturday in June, which this year is the 27th although the celebrations actually begin on the 22nd when the Armed Forces Day flag is raised on buildings and famous landmarks around the country.
The purpose of the day is to support the men and women who make up the Armed Forces, those currently in service, service families, Veterans and Cadets.
Armed Forces Day is not a charitable event, but the Armed Forces do have the support of several UK charities, a list of all service charities can be found on the directory of services charities here.
It is not just charities who support the Armed Forces, many local events will provide opportunities to support them too.
The public show their support for the Armed Forces on Armed Forces Day, but it doesn't start and stop there. The Armed Forces personnel past and present are also supported by the Government, businesses and communities throughout the year under the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
Who are the Armed Forces Personnel?
The Armed Forces
The UK Armed Forces is made up of the Royal Navy, British Army and the Royal Air Force, they defend the UK and its interests. Armed Forces Personnel are always active and you will find them busy working around the world, promoting peace, delivering aid and providing security. You can find out more about what each of the Armed Forces are doing at home and around the world by visiting their official sites:
The Cadet Forces are made up of the:
- Sea Cadets
- Army Cadets
- Air Cadets
Cadets learn some amazing life and career building skills while gaining vocational qualifications throughout their teenage years and young adult years. Many Cadets go on to serve in the Armed Forces when they come of age. The Combined Cadet Force currently supports over 130,000 young people in more than 3,000 locations across the UK.
Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces to ensure that should their country require them; they would be ready to serve. Reservists work hard to balance their military career and their civilian life and job.
National Reserves Day always falls on the Wednesday before Armed Forces Day, this year Reserves Day is on 24th June. Reserves Day is an opportunity to celebrate the Reserves contribution to the Armed Forces and the military community.
Our Armed Forces couldn’t do their job without the incredible support of their family and friends. Being a service family is hard. With loved ones often away in challenging environments, children, spouses, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and all of the extended family are playing an important role in service to their country by supporting our serving and Veteran personnel.
A Veteran is anyone who has served in the HM Armed Forces at any time including National Servicemen, Regulars and Reserves. Long after their official service has ended their role continues within the military community.
Veterans are officially supported on a government level by Veterans UK, a part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) that helps ex-service personnel get the appropriate support from government, local authorities, independent bodies and the charity sector.
Military service can have long lasting effects on forces personnel and these effects that can make it difficult for ex-service personnel to adjust to civilian life. Mental health and adjustment issues, a limited knowledge of civilian job seeking practices, limited academic qualifications, geographic locations, age, salary expectations and even employers lacking the sufficient knowledge to understand military skills and how they can be transferable are all major factors that play a big part in the transition experience a Veteran has.
Veterans Gateway is made up of a consortium of organisations and Armed Forces charities, including The Royal British Legion, SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, Poppyscotland, Combat Stress and Connect Assist. Many of the teams within the Veterans Gateway are Veterans themselves so they understand the issues that people face after leaving the Armed Forces. Working with people on a one-to-one basis, they help to connect them with the right support as quickly as possible.
The Veterans Gateway is funded by The Armed Forces Covenant, and it is the first time a group like this has come together formally to deliver a service to help the Armed Forces community.
With an estimated 2.6 million military Veterans in the UK, 900,000 of which are estimated to be of working age it is important that businesses recognise and harness the transferable skills that Veterans have to offer by opening up the employment opportunities and broadening their hiring parameters to accommodate applications from ex-service personnel.
The Hire a Hero Charity supports all service leavers and Veterans, regular or reserve from all three services, regardless of time served, make the successful transition to meaningful, sustainable civilian employment.
The ‘Veterans Work’ report highlights some of the challenges faced by UK veterans entering employment, and the significant benefits organisations can realise by recruiting from the Veteran talent pool including:
- Exceptional qualifications
- Valuable proactive attitudes
- Adaptable and flexible natures
- Skilled practical workers
Alongside these charities and organisations there are other collaborators working hard to open up the employment opportunities for ex-service personnel.
FiMT: The Forces in Mind Trust aims to provide an evidence base that will influence and underpin policy making and service delivery in order to enable ex-service personnel and their families to lead successful civilian lives.
Deloitte: the Deloitte Military Transition and Talent Programme supports Service leavers making the transition into new careers. This programme is part of Deloitte’s One Million Futures social impact strategy.
Officers Association: The Officers’ Association (OA) supports serving and former officers transition to new careers outside of the military and works closely with employers to support the 'Military is Good for Business' agenda.
Supporting Veterans and Reservists
Businesses, managers and colleagues can support veterans and reservists in many ways, a few suggestions include:
- Demonstrate veteran friendliness from the top down by preparing a written statement - explaining why the business is committed to hiring military candidates from a member of the senior leadership team.
- Establish an internal military network for veterans, reservists and military spouses -The creation of an internal military network as a forum for networking and information is a positive way to connect with the military community.
- Provide clear progression routes and training opportunities -Military candidates are used to a very structured career path of continuous learning programmes, so it is important to be explicit about the opportunities to progress within the organisation.
- Ensure HR policies support reservists - Having a visible reserves policy will help to attract and retain military recruits that would like to continue as a reservist.
Throughout the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak, our Armed Forces personnel have joined forces with the frontline key workers across the country who have dedicated their time and risked their health in service to their country to help stop the spread of the virus.
Our frontline key workers, work across many roles and industries:
- Health and social care: NHS and private doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics and social workers.
- Education and childcare: those in the social care sector, teachers, specialist education professionals.
- Key public services: journalists, those working in the justice system, religious staff or charity staff.
- Local and national government: Public and behind the scenes staff including those working in the payment of benefits.
- Food and goods provisions: workers in the food production and distribution supply chain, as well as those in sales and delivery. This also includes those who work in the production of hygiene and medical goods.
- Public safety and national security: police, Ministry of Defence civilians, armed forces, fire service employees, security, prison and probation staff.
- Transport: workers in the air, water, road and rail transport systems.
- Utilities, communications and key financial services: workers needed for essential finance provisions, telecommunications, oil, gas or electricity suppliers, postal and delivery services, waste disposal and more.
Staff on the frontline are supported by The Operations Welfare Fund. Public donations to the Operations welfare Fund are used to buy things that service members have asked for.
The combined efforts of our Armed forces personnel and frontline key workers has been crucial to the UK's COVID-19 response and so it is wonderful to see so much support and appreciation for all staff on the frontline not only with Armed Forces Day and Reserves Day but also the Clap for Carers community support and the NHS' 72nd birthday celebrations on the 5th July.
Armed Forces Day - GET INVOLVED
#SaluteOurForces is a simple way for anyone to pay tribute to the British Armed Forces community for their hard work, dedication and efforts to and keep us safe in the UK and across the globe.
- Even if we can’t attend the usual celebratory events due to the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines you can still get involved. Send a photo or video of yourself or your friends and colleagues saluting to the Armed Forces Day Twitter by Tweeting @ArmedForcesDay using #SaluteOurForces or to Facebook by commenting on one of the Armed Forces Day Facebook posts.