When people think of military veterans, it’s easy to forget that each of our forces – from the
Royal Navy to the RAF – are institutions in their own right and behind those on the frontlines,
there’s a whole organisation supporting them.
Even so, Paul Lewis, MD of Veterans Employment & Training Services (V.E.T.S), believes
that there is a general misperception of ex-forces personnel that makes some employers
less likely to hire veterans.
“You associate the armed forces with conflicts, war, security, driving and things like that, we are more than that and there are many people behind the scenes. My background and experience is in HR, administration and finance within the armed forces.”
Fighting the stigma
Despite any misconceptions around ex-forces working as civilians, Paul has managed to
place veterans in a wide range of different positions, which is a testament to their
transferable skills and willingness to learn.
“I would say that for about 80–85% of jobs out there, a military person could fulfil. They will
either have the transferable skills, or if the employer is willing to train them into those
positions then they’ll be only too willing to learn because as a culture, we are always willing to train – that’s what we’ve been doing for our whole life within the military.”
“On the other hand, I know people that have gone from the forces into sales roles. It’s a
less-common transition but they’ve done it. I’ve got another friend that runs a business
growth network specifically aimed at exporters… I could go on.”
Diversifying the workplace
Whilst the pool of military veterans includes a wide range of highly skilled individuals, it’s
also worth noting that it’s becoming increasingly diverse. “30–35 years ago, the military w
a male-dominated industry,” says Paul. “Well, not any more as there are many hard-working,
highly qualified females as well.”
Having access to such talent can be a valuable asset to any company looking to grow adverse and inclusive workplace, especially in typically male-dominated industries such as