The Front line. What does that make you think of? Unrelenting volleys of shots between ruined houses in Mosul, relentless mortar fire across the attrited trenches of Ypres or maybe the abhorrent weather conditions as the first Marines landed on South Georgia, looking to recapture it from the incumbent Argentine forces.
As we remember Armed Forces Day 2020, the frontline that many of our fearless military personnel have been fighting on this year has looked very different from those of the past.
Across the nation, the contribution of the military’s 20,000 strong Covid Support Force has been there for all of us to see. The front-line military service of all our dedicated men and women will, of course, be celebrated but for many of us, the home-front contribution of the military’s 20,000 strong Covid Support Force on UK soil will be front of mind.
In the face of an invisible and deadly enemy, the country has called on the military’s problem solving and logistical capabilities to set-up the Nightingale Hospitals, country-wide Covid testing stations and the repurposing of derelict health facilities like Headingly Court into welcoming community hospitals, ready to support the long-term recovery of Covid-19 survivors. as they work to regain their physical and mental health.
As military to civilian career specialists, the Officers’ Association that I have the privilege to lead, has watched in awe as Colonel Ashley Boreham, Captain Carol Betteridge, Colonel Dave Richmond and so many others have project managed some of the most complex and challenging logistical tasks in double-quick time.
Leadership and teamwork may be second nature to them, but they have also demonstrated their ability to work seamlessly alongside owners, contractors, local councils, the NHS and other public services, to deliver urgently needed outcomes.
And in this most memorable of years, who can forget the inspirational, fund-raising efforts of Captain Sir Thomas Moore, who captured hearts and minds right across the world.
Like Captain Tom, the Officers’ Association is celebrating its centenary this year. In marked contrast, 70% of senior personnel leaving military service every year have yet to celebrate their 30th birthday. After 8 or 12 years in the armed forces, their transition from military to civilian career employment isn’t always easy.
Most employers recognise the numerous transferable skills that former officers can bring, and we are proud to have helped thousands successfully secure new jobs. But it pains me to say that a recent survey, which focused on senior military personnel aged 50 and over, found that 1 in 4 employers was only interested in technical skills and commercial experience.
We have numerous examples of jobs secured in professional and public services, banking, energy, IT & communications, aerospace, agriculture, pharma, retail and happily, the list goes on. We run insight days for would-be employees, training programmes and countless networking events aimed at forging new links and fostering greater understanding.
Now more than ever, the skills of former military personnel can help businesses of every size and sector, rise to the challenges presented by unexpected crises like Covid-19.
As we mark this year’s Armed Forces Day, let’s reflect on the military’s outstanding service, past, present and what may be possible in the future.
Please contact Lee Holloway at L.Holloway@officersassociation.org.uk to discuss how the OA can work with you and your business.