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Businesses back ex-servicemen and women as VETS EAST website goes live

News ArticleBusinesses back ex-servicemen and women as VETS EAST website goes live

Local Employment Initiative

Businesses back ex-servicemen and women as VETS EAST website goes live (www.vetseast.com)

Military leavers looking for mentoring, work experience and job vacancies can now log on to a brand new website matching their skills with businesses across Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk.

Former servicemen and women can register at www.vetseast.com and have access to companies offering mentoring and pre-work assistance, such as preparing for an interview or CV writing, or for work experience or placements.

Businesses can post vacancies on the site’s jobs board for free, allowing veterans to access new work opportunities. Volunteer mentors will also receive training as part of the programme. Already representatives of over 50 public, private and voluntary sector organisations have pledged their support.

VETS East was launched last November and is the first regional hub for the national Veterans Employment Transition Support Programme VETS – which provides registration, mentoring, ready to work and in-work support services for former members of the armed forces.

The regional programme has been spearheaded by Andy Wood OBE, CEO of Adnams, in his capacity as The Prince’s Ambassador for the East of England – an appointment made by Business in the Community (BITC)* on behalf of HRH The Prince of Wales to promote responsible business in the region.

Andy Wood OBE, who also chairs New Anglia LEP’s Skills Board, said that VETS East aims to tackle both the need for more rewarding careers for service leavers and the skills gap many businesses in the region are facing.

“This is an economic imperative for the growing economy in the East of England. Ex military personnel have many skills to offer and can bring those skills to businesses in the East.

So I would urge anyone about to leave the armed forces, or who have left and are struggling to find work, to register on the website, see what job opportunities could be out there for them and access personal support and advice on how to get back on the career ladder.”

VETS East, focuses on matching service leavers with the region’s businesses – in particular, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) – so employers will have direct access to this under-utilised future workforce as well as benefiting from savings in recruitment fees.

The project is also supported locally by Business in the Community, Barclays, New Anglia LEP and a range of other public bodies and military charities.

Tim Seeley, Head of Corporate & Business Banking East Anglia said “We have been incredibly encouraged by the level of support from the business community following our launch. Barclays has business clients across the East and we will be highlighting the work of VETS East in our conversations with them. We hope they will see this as a great opportunity to support members of their teams to sign up as mentors, consider work placements and advertise their vacancies on vetseast.com.”

Paul Winter, MBE, Chief Executive of Ipswich Building Society said, “The Society’s inclusive approach to recruitment has already seen successful appointments of apprentices and interns, and now we’re pleased to be part of the VETS East initiative. We’ll ensure our own vacancies are posted to the VETS East website and we’ll be supporting equal access to the jobs market for those returning to employment after a career in the armed forces.”

Patrice Love, board director at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce said: “I am proud to support VETS East and would encourage local businesses to consider service leavers when recruiting. Service leavers offer a wealth of expertise including leadership, problem solving and strategy and offer an opportunity to address the skills gap that businesses currently face, which can only be good news for our local economy and future prosperity.”

Tricia Fuller, Group HR Director, Norse Commercial Services said, “Norse are really pleased to be part of VETS East. The online platform provides great links to service leavers and the organisations who support them, allowing us to connect better with people who have the skills and experience to make a valuable contribution to our business. We recognise that service leavers may need additional support and guidance to gain employment outside of the military and are fully prepared to support that through job opportunities, work placements and mentoring.”

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia LEP and Group Director at Anglian Water, said: “It is very important that we do not lose the wide range of skills that ex-military men and women can bring to our economy. My company Anglian Water has signed up to the Military Covenant and we are doing all we can to recruit and support those leaving the armed forces with new career opportunities across a range of areas. We will also be registering with VETS East and I would urge other companies, small and large to follow suit and demonstrate a united front of support.”


*Business in the Community is the Prince’s Responsible Business Network. Its members work together to tackle a wide range of issues that are essential to building a fairer society and a more sustainable future.

It engages thousands of businesses through its programmes driven by a core membership of over 800 organisations from small enterprises to global corporations. www.bitc.org.uk

By Jim Brown, Business Development, Suffolk County Council, (February 2016)