Veterans Work: Access took place earlier this year, a collaborative conference between Deloitte, Forces Employment Charity, and Forces in Mind Trust. With the Right Honourable Johnny Mercer MP, Minister for Veterans Affairs, making the opening address, over 100 delegates attended.
John Cunningham, Director of Executive Services at the Forces Employment Charity, shares more about the conference and how it busted some myths about veterans and Service leavers…
The conference, several months in the planning, focussed on de-bunking long-standing stereotypes about the lack of diversity amongst those veterans working in the Financial and Professional Services sector. It also represented a call to action for policymakers, government officials, industry employers, MOD, and charities in attendance. To do more to ensure that the sector is genuinely accessible to all service leavers, veterans, and their families
Some of the myths that were debunked, in large part through the presentation of some fantastic case studies of veterans currently working in the sector, are outlined below:
Myth: Employment in the sector is limited to those with specific demographic characteristics such as rank, education, and socio-economic background
The reality is that evidence from the case studies and veterans at the conference demonstrated true diversity amongst those enjoying successful careers in Financial and Professional Services.
Myth: Employment opportunities are limited to London
The reality is the sector has numerous firms with HQs and offices across the UK.
Myth: Applicants for employment need specific qualifications and experience
In reality, many veterans and Service leavers already have fantastic aptitude and valuable transferrable skills from their time in the military.
Myth: You need connections
The reality is that the sector welcomes diversity of thought and experience; it strives for that diversity in its recruitment. Many firms run programmes and internships to open up opportunities for veterans and Service leavers.
The well-known broadcaster and newsreader, Kate Silverton, skilfully hosted and compered the conference. She encouraged fantastic contributions from the floor, asked challenging questions herself, and held panellists to account fearlessly.
Kate is no newcomer to Veterans Work, having previously hosted the 2021 series of podcasts. She is one of a long list of celebrities and veterans who have supported the Veterans Work initiative by appearing in numerous short films, podcasts, and previous conferences since 2016 when the collaboration published their report:
As suggested by Johnny Mercer, the event fired all those in attendance with enthusiasm to “ruthlessly collaborate” in continuing to advocate and ensure that the Financial and Professional Services sector is genuinely open for business for all veterans, Service leavers, and their spouses or partners.
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