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[ 30-09-2015 ]

  • Ever growing employment gap now more like ‘chasm’ says former senior General
  • Staggering total of 154,000 working age veterans now live in Scotland
  • Further 1,800 more leaving the Armed Forces to live and work in Scotland every year
  • Statistics show one in five Scottish veterans report problems  finding employment
  • New veterans scheme launches today  for Scotland mirrors hugely successful US model

Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Veterans Scotland and specialist consultancy SaluteMyJob, today launched a new national employment and training programme designed specifically for Armed Forces veterans.

The new Scottish Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (SVETS), is the first programme of its kind to be launched anywhere in the UK, and will provide a specialist recruitment and advice service for  employers plus a comprehensive  employment, training and education package of services for veterans.

Led by Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Veterans Scotland and SaluteMyJob, SVETS is designed to give firms direct access to ex-military talent, while addressing skills shortages and helping bridge the ever-growing gap between veterans and employers.

Over 700 businesses have signed the Ministry of Defence’s Corporate Covenant, with commitments starting from simply supporting Armed Forces Day, to supporting employees who are members of the Volunteer Reserves, right through to directly recruiting former Service men and women. The new SVETS programme is built to help employers deliver on their commitments by putting words into action.

General Sir Nick Parker KCB CBE, Chairman of SaluteMyJob and former Commander-in-Chief Land Forces Afghanistan said: “As far as employment is concerned I sense that there is a gap emerging between even the most willing employers and the ex-military community, especially jobseekers.  It seems as if former Service men and women often struggle to translate their acquired military knowledge, skills and experience into the language, and sometimes the qualifications, of commercial employers.

He went on: “However, present-day corporate HR policies, the centralisation of systems and an aversion to risk seem to ever tighten recruitment and selection processes. As a result these processes frequently operate to the accidental detriment of the ex-military applicant. He or she appears to represent an unconventional candidate, and is therefore a risk. If we add to this: veterans’ fears of the commercial unknown, lack of confidence in this unfamiliar environment, often poor presentation of CVs, and evidence and performance at interview, (and) the gap begins to look more like a chasm!”

According to a report into the health and welfare of the ex-Service community produced by Poppy Scotland, approximately 260,000 veterans live in Scotland. Of these there are 154,000 of working age.  Every year an additional 1,800 veterans relocate to Scotland and are actively looking for work.

One in five Scottish veterans report a problem with employment, according to the report. While problems are not spelled out, it is clear that there is a collective need to better understand the barriers faced by ex-military jobseekers - and provide them with improved support before, during and after finding a job.

Veterans’ Secretary Keith Brown MSP said: “The Scottish Government is fully committed to supporting our armed forces veterans in securing employment. One of my main priorities as Secretary for Veterans is to promote the many useful and transferrable skills that veterans and reservists bring to the workplace.

“As such, I am delighted to have been invited to the launch of the SVETS initiative, which aims to pull together the resources already in place to make a more joined-up approach to veterans support in Scotland and ensure that the transition from service to civilian life and civilian employment is successful.

“I encourage employers across Scotland to look at this initiative and to recognise that our ex-forces personnel are a huge asset, bringing valuable skills, experience and commitment to the civilian workplace.”

Liz Cameron OBE, Director & CEO of Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: “Chambers of Commerce are rooted in local communities and this partnership, with business playing a core role, is a shining example of the difference we can make when we work together. Not only will this transform the lives of thousands of veterans but will also contribute to growing Scotland’s small and medium sized businesses.

“Our veterans are a valuable resource for Scottish businesses that bring a wealth of talent and an abundance of skills to the workplace. This initiative is a tool which will empower the business community to employ and recruit dedicated ex-service personnel and we are proud to play our part.”

The new SVETS programme launched today helps bridge the gap between Scottish employers and veterans.  Adapted from a hugely successful model created in the United States, it creates an unprecedented programme designed to streamline links between bosses and the ex-military community. It could then be rolled out across the United Kingdom – through ties with chambers of commerce nationwide, potentially transforming the future for tens of thousands of unsettled veterans.

Studies show that while small and medium-sized businesses are aware of the capabilities of former military personnel, they find it difficult to match job opportunities with the new generation of veterans. The SVETS scheme is designed to fill that gap, delivering direct routes into internships and placements, as well as professional support and funding for veterans’ education and training.

Andrew Jackson, CEO of SaluteMyJob said: “The partnership with Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce is the first of many we hope to roll out over the next 12 – 18 months. Although we can work centrally with bigger employers, providing this new service to Small and Medium sized businesses through the Chambers of Commerce is, we believe, critical to the successful employment of veterans. Employers who wish to get involved should contact us at SVETS@frothvalleychamber.co.uk


For more information, media should contact:




SaluteMyJob is a Social Enterprise dedicated to: Providing expert, veteran focussed consultancy, recruitment and assessment services to employers. Our model is founded on the principle that we can do more for former Service men and women by driving up employer demand for them as employees, consultants and reservists.

Veterans Scotland

Veterans Scotland aims to enhance the welfare of the veterans community in Scotland by acting as the prime vehicle for: joint working between its member charities; for the dissemination of information to its members and the coordination of joint approaches to UK; Scottish Government; Local Authorities and other organisations whose business is of benefit to veterans.

 Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce

The Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce was founded in September 2012 with the aim of sharing opportunities, knowledge and expertise across the Forth Valley.

Affiliated to both the Scottish and the British Chambers of Commerce, we offer a range of products and services aimed at helping our members to grow and develop their businesses.