50% of GE veterans surveyed felt UK commercial sector could do more to support veterans making the transition to commercial life
GE launches UK Veterans Network to bolster existing campaigns to recruit, retain, support and develop military veterans
With a 20% downsize of UK forces by 2015, the commercial sector will soon see 20,000 new job applicants and the job market will get even more competitive. As a major employer of veterans in the UK, over 7.5% of GE's 18,000 employees have served in the UK Armed Forces or continue to serve as reservists. GE surveyed its veteran employee population in the UK and found that more support is needed to help veterans market themselves to employers and transition to working in the commercial sector.
Using the expertise of GE veterans who have successfully made the transition into the civilian workforce, the Company has launched a Veterans' Network in the UK to take on issues faced by veterans returning to work today. GE UK & Ireland CEO Mark Elborne said, "The Network aims to focus on four key areas of recruiting, retaining, supporting and developing veterans. We aim to put veterans on an equal playing field with civilian job candidates and help our veterans lead successful careers at GE."
As part of the UK Veterans' Network scheme, GE is focused on recruiting from the British Armed Forces. Of the 50 service leavers who submitted CVs to GE recruiters at a recent employment fair in Perth, Scotland, 46% received conditional job offers from GE. GE is committed to supporting service leavers and veterans through the Career Transition Partnership recruitment fairs around the UK, delivering CV workshops and 1-on-1 interview techniques, as well as recruiting.
The Company currently has approximately 400 open positions in the UK, many of which are ideal for ex-military applicants. These positions include such diverse roles as Field Service Engineers, Logistics Specialists, EHS Specialists, Software Team Leaders, Programme and Project Managers as well as the Experienced Military Leadership Programme, part of a globally-recognised programme to fast track select candidates by means of a number of short-term rotations providing exposure to the GE Leadership structure.
According to GE's research, while veterans are known to possess valuable skills and expertise, they often struggle to translate their abilities and market their experience to employers. GE veterans will leverage their understanding of the armed forces as well as the private sector to conduct CV writing workshops for those entering the workforce.
The Veterans' Network aims to influence policies to support GE's ex-military employees and current reserve forces at all career stages. These include reviewing the current special leave policy to cover time away for reservist training as well as a robust mobilisation policy to ensure that GE-employed reservists will not find themselves financially compromised when training or deployed. In addition, GE will provide pre and post-deployment support, as well as assistance to employees' families during deployment.
Internally, the Network will offer development opportunities for veteran employees through the internal coaching scheme. In this, veterans, along with all other GE employees, have access to senior leaders who can advise on the appropriate technical skills and leadership training. For example, GE Aviation in Cheltenham and the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering set up a networking programme for apprentices from both organisations. GE in Scotland is also trialling a leadership fast-track programme which, if successful, will be rolled out across GE in the UK. The Network will partner with Human Resources to evolve the programme to provide necessary training and career development.
The UK Veterans Network will follow in the footsteps of the 10,000-member United States Veterans Network, helping local leadership understand the value veterans bring to the workforce and supporting the families of deployed GE employees.
Mr. Elborne said, "We are proud to launch the Veterans Network in the UK and hope it will be as successful as our US scheme. In the US, we have found that ex-military personnel possess skills and expertise which are highly valued by our infrastructure business, as well as soft skills and values which we look for in GE employees. We hope other UK businesses will follow our lead and implement similar support networks within their businesses to harness this asset in the UK economy."
About GE in the UK
GE has been operating in the UK since the 1930s. Today our 18,000 employees serve the energy, oil & gas, healthcare, aerospace and financial industries. We have a strong and continuing commitment to the UK economy, having invested £13bn in our British businesses since 2001. From our 60 major locations, including 25 world-class manufacturing and R&D facilities, we deliver high-tech innovative solutions to the global marketplace. Our locations include London, Aberdeen, Amersham, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Leicester, Nailsea and Southampton.
GE works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at www.ge.com/UK .
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