Local businesses and Reservists gathered for a Partnering with Defence event hosted by Wood Plc on 21 March in Aberdeen.
With over 50,000 employees and 60 offices worldwide, Wood employs large numbers of Reservists, Veterans and Military Spouses from all three Services and prides itself on being an Armed Forces Friendly employer.
Opening the event, Malcolm Norman, Chief Information Security Officer for Wood said: “Wood looks to the Armed Forces as a parallel career which allows us to do business and take advantage of mutual opportunities. The Armed Forces Community shares our company values of care and commitment, and delivering to the highest of standards. Supporting them in any way we can is not just good business practice, it is also the right thing to do.”
Since signing the Armed Forces Covenant in 2017, Diversity and Inclusion Manager Louise MacDonald has continued to develop the company’s pledges of support and has successfully renegotiated workplace terms and conditions for serving personnel. These ensure that Reservists and Cadet Adult Volunteers have a workplace policy that works alongside their Armed Forces and Service Cadet commitments, allowing them to fulfil both careers simultaneously.
Louise believes that getting involved in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) helps keeps the business focused and works collaboratively with both Defence and HRFCA to develop armed forces friendly working practices.
Guests also heard from Royal Engineer Major Keith James, the OC of 503 Specialist Team Fuels Infrastructure of the Army’s 170 (Infrastructure Support) Engineer Group; and Captain Niall Raeper, OC Forbes Company UOTC and a Wood employee.
Both stressed how vital it is to have a supportive civilian employer in order to have a successful Reservist career and how a successful Reservist career makes for an invaluable civilian employee – the two careers are mutually beneficial with a host of transferable skills.
The event ended with a presentation from Paul Barrett and Ian Clark from IED Training. Paul and Ian represented the large percentage of smaller businesses across Scotland who support the Armed Forces Community, and shared their story of transition from being Royal Marines to being business owners. Ian feels very strongly that the military ethos of professionalism and a “can do” attitude which underpins their company, is vital in the world of commerce and that former service personnel are a huge asset in any workforce.
Wood are currently working on their submission for an ERS Gold Award and are hoping to take their support for the Armed Forces Community international.