Chamber project launched

November 21, 2018

A new initiative bringing Chambers of Commerce and military units closer together was launched at Dundee City Chambers today. 

The programme is a partnership between five Scottish Chambers of Commerce supported by Highland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (HRFCA), and personnel from the Army, Royal Navy and RAF Reserves.

Each Chamber has been assigned its own special military “buddy” and the partners will work together to build a mutually-beneficial relationship.

  • Dundee & Angus Chamber partners with 225 Medical Regiment of the Royal Army Medical Corps.
  • Fife Chamber partners with 154 (Scottish) Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps.
  • Dunbartonshire Chamber partners with 7 SCOTS.
  • Aberdeen Chamber partners with the Naval Regional Command for Scotland and Northern Ireland.
  • Moray Chamber partners with RAF Lossiemouth.

Chamber members will be able to access a range of benefits such as help with recruiting highly skilled ex-military personnel, access to exclusive networking and briefing events, and a range of free leadership and staff development opportunities such as Exercise Executive Stretch and Exercise Mini-Stretch, both of which proved hugely popular this year.

Dundee Lord Provost Ian Borthwick speaking at the event.

Dundee Lord Provost Ian Borthwick said: “We have a duty to do all we can to assist reservists and veterans, as well as those who are currently serving and their families.

“We are also committed to doing all we can to encourage other organisations and businesses to follow our lead. I am delighted that this project is being launched by Highland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association and the Chambers of Commerce. This is another important step in supporting those who have given their time to serve their country.”

Michelle McKearnon, Regional Employer Engagement Director for HRFCA and a former CEO of Chambers of Commerce, said: “There was already a very strong relationship between Chambers and the military, but we wanted to streamline it and make it more productive for all involved. It is important that the defence establishment recognises the vital role Chambers play in the business community, and that we give something back to all the employers who support our people. This project harnesses the power of the Chamber network and the resources available to businesses from the military, so it is a win-win situation.”

Tim Allan, President of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, welcomed the initiative.

Guests at the launch.

He said: “The launch comes at a critical time for business and will act as an important enabler to showcase the talents and skills of those with military experience. With many sectors and companies continuing to cite recruitment challenges and skills shortages as a barrier to growth, this is an excellent example of how partnership working can tackle the big challenges facing our economy.

“Leadership, agility, resilience and adaptiveness are just some of the attributes that businesses need in a fast-moving economy and I look forward to supporting this project as we unlock these talents and grow Scotland’s economy.”

The project has also been widely welcomed by the military personnel involved.

Lieutenant Colonel Matt Sheldrick, Commanding Officer of 7SCOTS, said: “7SCOTS is privileged and delighted to be involved.

“Our Army Reserve men and women are ‘citizen soldiers’ who live and work in the local communities alongside their civilian counterparts; employers, work colleagues, family and friends.

“It is important that there is an open and honest relationship between the Reservist and their employer, and that employers are aware of the range of benefits of employing a member of the Reserve Forces and the many and varied hard and soft transferable skills which they learn and develop during their Reserve training, and take back to the workplace at no cost whatsoever to the employer.

“This initiative presents a unique opportunity for Chambers and 7SCOTS to work together to maximise ‘Business skills in Reserve’.

Along with representatives of each of the military units involved: Lt Col Sarah Lambirth (CO 225 (Scottish) Medical Regiment); Lt Cdr Garth Atkinson (Naval Regional Command Scotland & Northern Ireland); Major Susan Duthie (154 Regt RLC); Sqn Ldr Jason Aslett (612 Sqn); and Capt Alan McEwen (7SCOTS), the launch was also attended by Dundee Lord Provost Ian Borthwick and the CEO’s of Dundee & Angus Chamber and Fife Chamber along with Colin Loveday, representing the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

From left: Lt Cdr Garth Atkinson (Naval Regional Command Scotland & Northern Ireland), Alan Mitchell (Fife Chamber), Major Susan Duthie (154 Regt RLC), Alison Henderson (Dundee Chamber), Sqn Ldr Jason Aslett (612 Sqn), and Capt Alan McEwen (7SCOTS).