Integral, one of the UK’s leading building services and engineering firm, has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a pledge that those who serve or have served in the armed forces and their families will be treated fairly in society.
The covenant focuses on helping members of the armed forces community have the same access to government, commercial services, and employment opportunities as any other citizen, including education and family well-being, finding a home, starting a new career, access to healthcare, financial assistance, and discounted services.
Each year, thousands of people leave the military and transition back into civilian life. Many veterans seek employment for the first time or after a very long period, finding themselves in unfamiliar situations and up against people with decades of experience. Research by the University of Warwick found that though ex-service members could find long-term employment, 45 percent felt unsuited to their positions over the longer-term, and 43 percent felt that their current work did not reflect their potential.
Integral has many long-term staff members, from leadership to its engineering teams, who are proud to be ex-armed forces personnel, making it a passionate cause for the business.
Gary Woods, who served in the Royal Navy as a weapons engineer and is now responsible for strategic and operational leadership across the UK and Ireland within the Integral Corporate Sector as Operations Director; Andrew Ferris, an engineering shift lead at a client Critical Facility in London who served as a Private for four and a half years before completing an engineering diploma and electrical apprenticeship at Canterbury University College, are some great examples of ex services staff who have successfully made the transition.
As a signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant, Integral can participate in the Employer Recognition Scheme, which acknowledges employers who provide exceptional support to the armed forces community and defence by going above and beyond their covenant pledges. The scheme comprises a three-tier system: bronze, silver, and gold, and allows the Ministry of Defence to thank and honour organisations that qualify for their support.
According to a 2022 Yougov survey, 71 percent of employers believe ex-service personnel bring a strong work ethic to their organisation, while 42 percent highlighted the potential benefits of recruiting them to fill skills gaps, an especially crucial factor at a time when all sorts of industries are feeling the impact of prolonged labour shortages.
Commenting on the news, James Baker, talent acquisition lead for Integral, said: “Veterans are often recognised for their broad skill sets – notably team-working, motivating others, communication, problem-solving, organisational skills and strategic thinking. With higher levels of staff retention and lower rates of absence, businesses can be confident when hiring veterans that their staff are loyal and resilient, as well as consistently reliable. Veterans are well-placed to meet critical gaps in FM because there are immediate opportunities for a second career in the sector.”
Peter Jones, Integral Managing Director added: “Integral is extremely proud to have signed the Armed Forces Covenant and determined to do what we can to help ex-service personnel transition back into civilian life. We have many excellent staff members who have served and know first-hand the challenges this brings.
“As an industry, we can make a difference for a crucial but underrepresented group by offering ex-service personnel and their family’s safety and security, job opportunities that harness their skills, learning & development, career progression and a community. The FM and Engineering industry has massive potential to support ex-personnel due to multiple transferrable skills, including the vital skill of being able to perform under pressure by remaining level-headed. This enables a smooth transition into civilian life which can be difficult for many veterans. In these roles, they can thrive, feel fulfilled, and have any additional support needed.”
Integral will be actively recruiting from multiple Armed forces recruitment agencies in 2023 and beyond.