A thriving Armed Forces community
The traditional perception of a veteran is changing. No longer will they be at retirement age when they leave the forces, as stated in the 10-year UK Veterans Strategy. Instead, serving personnel will return to civilian life to continue making positive and meaningful contributions to society. Most likely, veterans will be seeing opportunities to secure, sustain, and succeed in employment.
The Forces in Mind Trust’s Veterans Work: Moving On (2018) report found that:
- 70% of veterans under the age of 30 said that career progression was an important factor when searching for a civilian job
- Veterans are prepared to work hard to progress their careers, and willing to try new careers
- Veterans place great value on a job which offers work/life balance in the right location, with good opportunities for career progression, above all else, a good salary.
As the experience of veterans has changed, so has the landscape that supports their future employment prospects. The creation of the Scottish Government’s Veterans’ Employment Strategic Group has been successful in reviewing the wider veterans’ employment landscape. Employers are also making positive contributions to supporting veterans to find work and then providing them with in-work support. Nevertheless, more can and needs to be done to ensure veterans are seen as assets who have a positive contribution to make, both in the workplace and wider society. The Fair Work agenda could also do more to help change the narrative about how veterans are viewed by employers and society.
The Scottish Government is best placed to lead a public awareness campaign to promote the positive message that veterans and their families are assets, are highly skilled, and are worth investing in throughout Scottish workplaces and society. A wide range of stakeholders would be involved. This includes the Fair Work Convention, Scottish Veterans’ Employment Strategic Group, Scottish Veterans Commissioner, Scottish employers, trade unions, military, public, private and third sectors. In conducting this public awareness campaign, a greater focus would be placed upon employers to recruit more veterans. A key measurement of success would be seeing an increased employment rate amongst veterans and their families and an increase in those opportunities being meaningful jobs. Overall, the campaign would help change society’s perceptions of those who have served and their families.
Over the course of the next Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government should:
Lead a public awareness campaign to promote the positive message that veterans and their families are assets, are highly skilled, and worth investing in throughout Scottish workplaces and society.
"I joined the WRAC in January 1990 at the age of 17 and reflecting on my life in service, I can see the transferable skills I have developed allowed me to contribute in many sectors and roles in civilian life. This has enabled me to serve my community in a different way. I decided to try to work for myself again and began cleaning homes. I have worked in a supermarket and for Royal Mail. I joined the Lady Haig Poppy Factory in August 2016. I have had various roles within the Factory; in the Stores, utilising my Royal Mail and Storeman experience. I’ve also made poppies and now work in the wreath department, which is the job that suits me best."