• Laura Lyth

Supporting veterans: Partnering with Defence 2020

Updated: Aug 15, 2020

Despite the air of social uncertainty due to Coronavirus, it was still a well attended conference. Our director feels that this is "a testiment to the resilience in the face of adversity, and commitment to the military family that the AFC community has. Many of us at some point have made the oath to Queen and Country of duty before self. Once we become civilians this commitment doesn't simply switch off. Instead, it diversifies in some way. For me and my business, that is in the form of volunteering with the Sea Cadets and committing to the AFC".

The day began with a chance to 'find your feet', registering and getting some well needed refreshments after the commute on the tube. Although we were yet to be under any restrictions, it was still decided that it was more appropriate not to handshake during networking introductions. It made for a great ice breaker, going in for the tradition gesture only to stop as sharply as receiving the command 'halt' when on parade!

The sessions we attended included a series called 'Whole force by design". The initial focus was based around the views of defence and academia, followed by a very thought provoking panel session. Being our first year in the AFC community and attending the conference, we dedicated our day to this theme. We had a view of gaining a better understanding of the concept of partnering with defence as a future outsource and possibly employer.

Throughout the day, the overarching theme of the whole force by design sessions resonated with the goals of partnering with defence:

  1. To deliver an adaptable and sustainable workforce.

  2. To maximise the use of talent.

  3. To provide attractive offers to attract and retain talent.

  4. To build a stronger effective and collective people function.

The day was concluded by a fantastic keynote speaker. None other than Karen Brady - Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge CBE. As it happened, Laura was sat only three seats from Baroness Brady until she took the stage. At one point, shortly before taking the stage, Baroness Brady looked around the room slightly, catching eye contact with Laura. She gave a warming smile and mouthed 'good day?' Laura returned the smile, and rather than interputing Neil 'Jacko' Jackson's Introduction, Laura nodded in agreement. Baroness Brady gave an enthusiastic return gesture and went onto commence her closing speach (which at times had the audience laughing a lot). She was also commited to signing West Ham United FC to the AFC - we all wanted her to get the club achieve the Gold ERS Award! The main lesson that we took away from Baroness Bradey's keynote was that within a business, regardless of size, everyone needs to do everything within their skill set to meet the needs of the business. But most importantly, everyone in the team needs to show each other respect. In addition, nothing can replace persistence as business is no different to life - it has highs and lows which you must learn to roll with and adapt to.

So want did we take away from the day for Océanie? In brief A LOT! Now let's put some content to that statement.

  • As signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant, Océanie is a brand ambassador for the AFC community.

  • It is vital that employers recruit the right people, with the right skills at the right time for our business, as staffing is one of the largest costs to a business.

  • By having a diverse workforce, an organisation obtains a high preforming workforce.

  • When supporting the Armed Forces community, this includes the cadet forces, reserves, and families (spouces and children) as well as full service leavers.

  • Sharing transferable skills by resilient and flexible employees - both from service leavers who transition into their second careers and reservists.

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