Vodafone UK signs Armed Forces Corporate Covenant

Vodafone shows commitment to employing ex-military personnel at event hosted by minister of state for the armed forces Mark Francois

Vodafone UK has signed the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant at an event hosted by the minister of state for the armed forces Mark Francois and vice-chief of the defence staff air chief marshal Stuart Peach.

The Armed Forces Corporate Covenant enables businesses and charities to voluntarily pledge and outline publicly how they are willing to commit to the armed forces community.

Vodafone signed the covenant during the Partnering with Defence: National Employer Conferencein London and pledged to implement flexible working conditions for members of staff who are reservists.

Flexible working will enable reservists to continue training and to be deployed on exercise when required by the Ministry of Defence.

As part of the Career Transition Partnership, Vodafone is proactively recruiting ex-service personnel and reservists.

Working with the the Royal Corps of Signals, Vodafone has simplified its recruitment process for Royal Corps of Signals’ service leavers and will be piloting the process in spring 2015. Once the policy is established, it will be made applicable to other army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy personnel.

Vodafone UK CEO Jeroean Hoencamp, who served in the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps, said the firm was proud to be supporting Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

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"We already employ many former service personnel and today’s commitment through the Armed Forces Covenant reinforces the close relationship that we have with the UK armed forces," he said. "We look forward to supporting both veterans and reservists in the years ahead.”

Minister of state for the armed forces Mark Francois said it is right that everyone, including businesses, recognises the contribution the armed forces make to the UK.

“I am pleased to see Vodafone taking the opportunity to formally support our armed forces community, both those still serving and those who have left, and to make a real difference to their lives by signing the Corporate Covenant.”

Vice-chief of the defence staff, air chief marshall Stuart Peach, said the commitment being made by Vodafone illustrates the company's high regard for the skills held by veterans and reservists.

“It is clear that employers, such as Vodafone, view reserve service as an asset and that their employment is mutually beneficial to both the country and the company,” he said.

IT service provider FDM Group signed the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant in 2014, pledging to show its commitment to the armed forces community.

National Apprenticeship Week

Throughout National Appreticeship Week (9-13 March 2015) the army has been highlighting the importance of apprenticeships to create the next generation of communication specialists.

Recent research revealed about half of the UK public is unaware that the British Army offers careers in IT and communications.

The study, carried out for the army, showed that 45% of 2,000 respondents did not know the army offers careers in communications and only 52% were aware it offers careers in IT.

With unemployment among young people still very high, the army is playing a significant role in providing the younger generation with skills for life

John Ogden, Army Recruiting Group

Communications apprentice lance corporal Kirsty Ralphs has been chosen as an ambassador for the British Army’s apprenticeship programme.

Ralphs, 26, is a communications specialist with the army’s 3 Logistic Support Regiment. She is training for an intermediate apprenticeship for IT, software, web and telecoms professionals.

She said before joining the army she did not have any specific qualifications but now she is on an apprenticeship programme training towards an NVQ.

“My NVQ will be recognised by civilian companies so it’s reassuring to know the training I’m receiving is for life, not just for the army," said Ralphs. "I’ve also become more confident since working on my army apprenticeship, and have higher goals and more established priorities. It’s not just about the hard work though.

“The army gives you the opportunity to travel the world and meet some amazing people along the way. Being deployed to countries around the world have been the best moments of my career – and something I’d never have got the chance to do in a civilian job.”

Army Recruiting Group director of operations brigadier John Ogden said the army provides "world-class" training in a range of roles, whether someone has ambitions to be a chef, engineer, mechanic or IT specialist.

“Our apprentices get unrivalled opportunities to travel the world, take part in adventurous training and earn a good wage, while benefiting from a high level of personal investment and training that very few other employers can provide," he said.

“Our unique offer means our apprentices can grow their confidence and gain qualifications which apply to civilian careers, and knowing they’re doing something meaningful with their lives.”

Ogden said no matter what someone's background the army has something to offer. 

“Whether you’re a school-leaver or not planning to attend university, our apprenticeship success rate typically exceeds the national average by 15%," he said. "With unemployment among young people still very high, the army is playing a significant role in providing the younger generation with skills for life.”

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