Written by Matt Hogsden, Industry Secondee

This week we celebrate Armed Forces Week, a chance for the whole country to appreciate active service families, veterans, reservists and cadets alike. The week will be celebrated throughout the country, including on social media using #SaluteOurForces, and culminates in Armed Forces Day on Saturday 27th.

The Armed Forces play a pivotal role protecting the UK’s people and interests through both military and civil operations. Recently they have built hospitals, airlifted patients and fought misinformation in response to COVID-19. The week’s celebrations provide an important morale boost and recognition of this valuable contribution.

As a vital part of the Armed Forces’ capability, an important way that industry supports the Armed Forces is through the UK Government Armed Forces Corporate Covenant. This is a pledge to treat those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces with fairness, respect and understanding. Companies honour this promise in several ways, for instance:

  • encouraging reserve service,
  • supporting employment of veterans and service spouses/partners,
  • creating internal Armed Forces Community Groups/networks,
  • fund-raising for Armed Forces and Veterans’ charities.

Reserves Day (Wednesday 24th) highlights the valuable but often unseen contribution that Reservists make to our Armed Forces. Many ADS members support reservists through accommodating training and mobilisation needs and encouraging Reservists to wear their uniform on Reserves Day as a celebration.

Working with the Career Transition Partnership is another important step that employers take. This high quality, no cost recruitment service has helped over 235,000 motivated and experienced veterans to find employment. In addition, many companies offer flexibility for service families such as helping them to transfer locations when required, and by guaranteeing interviews for veterans or spouses.

All this support exists on top of the day-job – delivering critical equipment and services to the UK Armed Forces and our allies. Recently the UK defence industry has partnered with the Armed Forces in responding to COVID-19. For example, both civil and military personnel have produced and delivered medical equipment such as ventilators and PPE. Meanwhile many companies remain focussed on maintaining military readiness by continuing to deliver critical capabilities. This has involved innovative working practices such as developing a new breathing apparatus to keep pilots safe in cockpits or using virtual platforms to deliver training.

ADS encourages our members to show their appreciation to the Armed Forces this Armed Forces Week and throughout the year.