In November 2015, a group of 12 ex-forces Virgin Money colleagues began getting together once a month to offer mutual support to one another in the transition from the Armed Forces into Virgin Money. This small network wanted to do something practical and positive to support others who may be on a similar journey, leading to the now named ‘Veterans at Virgin Money’ or ‘Vets@Virgin’.
Determined to progress their idea, our colleagues made contact with the Officers Association and the Career Transition Partnership, where they received advice and guidance on tangible activities that would support ex-service men and women looking to find their place in the civilian workforce. Vets@Virgin built relationships with Royal British Legion , RFEA and Changing Lives allowing them to reach out to the Armed Forces community.
Ex Forces Events
Working with our People Department and the Career Transition Partnership, our first Careers Insight event ran in May 2016 introducing ex-forces men and women to the kind of employment that aligns with their skill sets and the employers looking to recruit in that field. Following on from this initial event, we ran a Strive2Thrive for ex-forces – a three day event in which we worked in detail through a range of employability and life skills, including resilience, interview technique and aligning work with your passions and transferable skills.
Developing our offering
Most recently we ran a second Careers Insight Day where we imparted some of the practical content from our Strive2Thrive event, notably around the psychology of positivity. In line with our first Careers Insight event, we ran sessions on the impact of presence and communication skills, a talk on employers’ viewpoints on CV applications and how to use Linked-In. In addition to this, we were joined by eleven employers who took part in a “Speed Dating” exercise which provided a networking event for those employers who were looking for the skills sets often found in former Armed Forces candidates.
At our Strive2Thrive event, we measured the benefits of holding the session by asking a series of questions at the start of the day and then the same questions at the end. The reported results of the impact of our events have been outstanding, with attendees showing a significant improvement in confidence and understanding (results can be found at the foot of this article).
Earlier this year, Virgin Money CEO Jayne-Anne Gadhia signed the Armed Forces Covenant solidifying Virgin Money’s commitment to honour the Armed Forces Community. We look forward to sharing our progress.