Yesterday, we marked the centenary of the end of The Great War.

Even in times of comparative peace, former and serving armed forces personnel bear great burdens.

A national newspaper reported that over just six days this autumn, four veterans and one active solider died suddenly. And moreover, that 42 current or former service-people had committed suicide since January.

Statistics show that:

• 42 current and former military personnel have taken their lives since January.
• Ex-armed forces personnel have burdens to bear but wonderfully transferrable skills for business.
• The Armed Forces Covenant provides a framework to take on people who’ve left the armed forces.

Alison Schreiber, from The HR Dept Durham discusses what employers can do to help veterans adjust to civvy street. Alison begins: “Veterans leaving the armed forces are not afforded an easy transition back into civilian life. Some will have suffered terrible physical injuries, and many more carry mental scarring such as PTSD – something which the BBC’s Bodyguard highlighted to millions earlier in the year. Even leaving a highly structured environment – such as that in the armed forces – can be difficult to cope with.

“Equally, many people leave the armed forces with excellent skill sets. These may be vocational, such as engineering, medical or culinary. And/or softer skills like resilience, organisation, teamwork, clear and concise communication and leadership.”

The Armed Forces Covenant is an initiative that businesses (as well as charities, local and central government and community groups among others) can sign up to. It helps members of the armed forces obtain the same access to what our society has to offer as everyone else. This could include education, healthcare and starting a new career.

Alison continues: “Veterans have sacrificed so much for our peace and security. This November, finding out more about the Armed Forces Covenant and signing up would be a fantastic way for Durham businesses to make a tangible difference to their lives.”