A crowd of 50 delegates attended Cumbria Chamber of Commerce’s Armed Forces Event last week held in partnership with the North West Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association and Energus.
The event gathered local businesses together with representatives from the Armed Forces for a series of talks on the Armed Forces Covenant and how best to support the armed forces community.
After a welcome speech from Deputy Lieutenant, Debbie Keighley MBE, Captain Mark Hankey MBE took to the stage and delivered a talk on his career as a media operations specialist in the Royal Navy working in over 20 countries and coordinating media during military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Participants then heard from local businesses including BEC, BAE Systems and Oxley Developments Ltd – who are all signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant – on the work they do to support veterans in the workforce and the wider Armed Forces Community.
Jane Moorby, marketing director at Oxley Developments said: “As a defence manufacturer, having a veteran there who can actually tell you how a component works in real terms is extremely valuable.”
There was also a roundtable discussion, where local businesses had the opportunity to ask questions about the Armed Forces Covenant and employing reservists.
With the presentations over, Cumbria Chamber member Neil Jurd signed the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation to those who serve or who have served, and their families should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.
By signing the Covenant, Neil pledged to honour this promise and to look for opportunities within his business, Leader-Connect, to offer support for reservists, veterans, service personnel and their families.
Suzanne Caldwell, managing director of Cumbria Chamber of Commerce said: “A huge thank you to all of our participants, speakers and partners who helped us put on such an engaging and uplifting event all about the Armed Forces Covenant.
“The event was a great opportunity to discuss the work already underway by businesses in Cumbria to support the Armed Forces community and discuss opportunities for further development.
“Considering the current recruitment challenges faced by Cumbrian businesses, getting involved in the Armed Forces Covenant is a great way of making your business more attractive to ex-service personnel who possess valuable experience, skills and qualities.”
Gary Oakford, regional employer engagement director for the MOD said: “The Armed Forces Covenant continues to grow across Cumbria reaching new audiences and creating real and meaningful opportunities for those who have served, our reservists and cadets, spouses and veterans.
“I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Cumbria Chamber of Commerce for their continued support and advocacy of the Armed Forces Covenant. Using the influence of the Chamber to support us demonstrates the power of working in collaboration on shared ambitions.”