Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s largest automotive employer, took on 85 ex-service personnel last year to start new careers in the automotive industry. Andrew Macfarlane, Process Leader in Solihull advanced manufacturing plant, who joined Jaguar Land Rover last year said: “I spent 22 years in the Army and thanks to my skills and qualifications, I was very lucky to transition straight from the forces into the company at the end of my military career. Working at Jaguar Land Rover has been even better than I hoped, everyone is very friendly and supportive and happy to help. Ex-military people have a lot of transferable skills and experience and I think it’s great that those who need extra support preparing for the automotive industry can take part in this new course.”
Jaguar Land Rover Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ralf Speth believes that former service personnel have made a huge contribution to the UK and have valuable skills that could be used within the car industry. Speaking ahead of the Business in The Community annual awards ceremony, Dr. Speth said: “Military servicemen and women are extremely well trained. Their unique skills and behaviours will be an asset to any company.”
Dr Speth said that the ex-military traineeship programme was part of a series of ongoing programmes developed by Jaguar Land Rover as its legacy from winning the UK’s ‘Responsible Business of the Year’ in 2013. He added: “Last year’s winners challenged us to “do something special as expectations are high”. I hope we have exceeded that goal. We have also been inspired by initiatives led by The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry – such as The Invictus Games – and our involvement with that initiative will help create a legacy from our year as Business In The Community’s Responsible Business of the Year.”
Jaguar Land Rover’s latest traineeship programme aims to address the social and economic issues of high unemployment among former service personnel. One in 10 homeless is ex-military and this year, 24,000 military will leave the forces, 6,500 of whom will be Early Service Leavers with no military qualifications, which may make it more difficult for them to find work.
Simon Weston, Falklands War veteran, added, “This is a brilliant idea to back our ex-servicemen from Britain’s biggest car firm. The country has a major problem finding employment for thousands of ex-servicemen who had served their country. This gives them a great opportunity to prove what they can do and start a new career with a real future.”
The programme builds on the company’s ‘Inspiring Tomorrow’s Workforce’ initiative which started last year and offers dedicated training for unemployed young people, aged 16 to 24, who have missed out on apprenticeships and have struggled to find a job. Jaguar Land Rover has already trained 100 unemployed youngsters and 80 percent of those who have already completed the training have gone on to gain a job, including apprenticeships, or undertake further education at college.
Jaguar Land Rover is also offering its training experiences to other leading companies and firms in the UK parts supply industry to encourage them to adopt similar schemes to give thousands of unemployed a jobs life-line.
Jaguar Land Rover is one of 100 UK businesses signed up to the Armed Forces corporate covenant which supports the reintegration of the military forces into successful civilian careers and supports a wide range of events linked to the military. Jaguar Land Rover is the presenting partner for the Invictus Games, the international sporting event for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women, championed by Prince Harry and taking place in London during September.
Jaguar Land Rover was the first ever manufacturer to win the UK’s top responsible business award in July 2013 for placing sustainability at the heart of its business strategy. Over the past 12 months, the company has delivered various events across the UK to demonstrate how responsible business can secure a fairer society and a more sustainable future.
Stephen Howard, Chief Executive, Business in the Community said: “Jaguar Land Rover has been a truly impressive Responsible Business of the Year, whose achievements are a compelling example of how responsible business can drive growth and innovation.
“We know that one of the most powerful ways for business to bring about change and bring value back to business is through creating employment opportunities that nurture talent in our society. So we fully support Jaguar Land Rover’s plans to provide opportunities for the many skilled returning ex-servicemen. This is a practical legacy that we hope will encourage many more businesses to fulfill their contract with society.”