Stars Gather to Support Films About Getting Veterans into Work

Posted on October 28, 2017

Joanna Lumley leads stars in emotive film series promoting British war vets’ job prospects

AN ARRAY of film and television stars have lent their voices to a series of new films aimed at increasing job opportunities for Britain’s military heroes.

Celebrities including Joanna Lumley, Ray Winston, Richard Wilson and High Bonneville all appear in a new film project designed to change perceptions about what former armed forces personnell are capable off after completing their service to the country.

The project, called “Veterans Work” highlights the skills military veterans can bring to employers and some of the barriers that need to be broken down if military veterans are to land meaningful employment after service.

The films, by The Drive Project, have been produced with the express aim of trying to encourage UK employers to consider veterans as part of their hiring strategy.

They follow a study produced by professional services firm Deloitte, in association with the Officers’ Association and the Forces in Mind Trust, that show despite nearly 2,000 British businesses having signing the Armed Forces Covenant – a Ministry of Defence scheme designed to encourage companies to hire veterans – many companies are still failing to realise the potential of veterans.

The research revealed that while 71 per cent of employers say they would consider employing veterans, just 39 per cent would employ someone without industry specific experience; often a major stumbling block for veterans who have only known military service.

Joanna Lumley, herself the daughter of a Royal Gurkha Rifle Officer, said: “I think that people who’ve served our country- whether land, sea or air, deserve the greatest protection and affection and support that we can possibly give them.

“The idea that they leave service and then find themselves cut off at a loose end. These are the people you want, they know everything.

“They can do everything, they’re punctual, they’re used to hard work, they take responsibility – they are just the people you need.”

The Drive Project founder Alice Driver said: “The films are a creative interpretation of the Veterans Work report produced by Deloitte, the Officer’s Association and FiMT.

“I hope these films continue to change perceptions and help raise awareness of the transferable skills that veterans have and the positive impact they can have on employers businesses.”

When it came to defining the term ‘veteran’, additional polling carried out by Deloitte and the Officers’ Association, found that there was a ‘chronic lack of understanding’ among civilians.

In the survey, 2,000 British adults were asked what challenges they thought armed forces veterans might face when entering the civilian workplace.

The results revealed that 65 per cent of respondents thought veterans would probably suffer from some form of physical, emotional or mental health issue such as PTSD, despite official Government statistics showing that only four per cent of Service leavers suffer from the condition – broadly equivalent to the incidence rate amongst the civilian population.

When it came to defining the term ‘veteran’, additional polling carried out by Deloitte and the Officers’ Association, found that there was a ‘chronic lack of understanding’ among civilians.

In the survey, 2,000 British adults were asked what challenges they thought armed forces veterans might face when entering the civilian workplace.

The results revealed that 65 per cent of respondents thought veterans would probably suffer from some form of physical, emotional or mental health issue such as PTSD, despite official Government statistics showing that only four per cent of Service leavers suffer from the condition – broadly equivalent to the incidence rate amongst the civilian population.

There are an estimated 2.6 million military veterans in the UK, of which some 900,000 are believed to be of working age.

Despite these figures, one in five people aged 18 to 34 say they most associate the phrase ‘armed forces veteran’ with the word ‘retirement’.Perhaps more bizarrely, one in 20 people in the younger age group thought a veteran was someone who looked after sick animals, and two per cent think they repair vending machines.

Lee Holloway, chief executive Officer of the Officers’ Association, said: “Some of the statistics show a chronic lack of understanding of those leaving the military which is troubling, but hopefully these films go some way to promoting the transferrable skills and benefits veterans can bring to a civilian employers.”

Other celebrity appearances include Hugh Bonneville, Matt Barber and Paul Copley, Nick Knowles, former EastEnders’s actors Larry Lamb and Michelle Collins, ‘Judge’ Rob Rinder, BBC presenter Claire Balding, West End stars Ray Fearon and Olivia Poulet and ex-soldier and TV presenter Rav Wilding.

The films also feature veterans and business leaders from some of the biggest veteran employers in the UK.

Catherine Sermon, Employability Director at Business in the Community said:“At a time when many employers are suffering skills shortages and recruitment challenges, veterans can represent an attractive talent pool. But employers need to take more active, yet simple, steps if they want to be more armed-forces friendly.”

The Express >