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Labour is today launching a new scheme in which companies voluntarily guarantee an interview for job seeking ex-Forces and other forms of employment support for veterans. 22 leading UK employers have signed up to the scheme.
Participants include O2, Crossrail, Greggs, Centrica, John Lewis and New Look. Other organisations taking part include the English Rugby Football Union, the Scottish Football Association as well as Celtic and Tottenham Hotspur Football Clubs.
Many UK Armed Forces are being made redundant and in difficult economic circumstances there will be an increasing number looking for employment. They have a wide range of experiences and skills arising from Service, including leadership, teamwork and organisation, and Labour believes we must all do more to provide additional support to help former Service personnel find employment.
Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, said:
“Labour is out of government but not out of power. Opposition is about making criticisms when necessary but it’s also about making a difference when you can.
“We want to strengthen the Military Covenant by finding new ways to support our Forces.
“We should start by recognising that the experience of Service creates not just brilliant soldiers but also great citizens who have much to give to our country.
“The talents of those leaving the Services are a big asset to business, but we must raise awareness of their skills and increase access to employment.
“Initiatives such as this underline our country’s respect and goodwill towards the Service community. This scheme is voluntary and valuable, and I hope all parties, charities and many businesses will get involved.
“A job is the route to a family home or settling at school. It is wrong that someone who has served in Afghanistan is expected to join the back of the queue at the local job centre. This is not about special treatment but overcoming barriers to provide a level playing field for service people.
“It is all of our duty to help provide a smooth transition from military to civilian life. This is a priority for Labour.”