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Ex-forces join automotive front line to boost industry know how and plug skills gap

07 March 2019 #Event News #SMMT News
  • New Armed Forces initiative, Mission Automotive, helps ex-military talent into new careers and plugs vital skills gaps in manufacturing, infrastructure and logistics.
  • Led by Mission Motorsport, the Forces’ Motorsport Charity, in partnership with The Royal Foundation, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and backed by the Ministry of Defence.
  • 1,700 veterans have already found new careers in the sector since first Invictus Games in 2014.

Major players from across the automotive industry today joined forces with the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and the Ministry of Defence, to launch Mission Automotive, a new charitable partnership that helps service leavers and veterans into jobs in the sector.

Unveiled at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and delivered by Mission Motorsport, the Forces’ Motorsport Charity, Mission Automotive distils the charity’s seven years’ experience in placing veterans into employment across the UK automotive industry.

Since the first Invictus Games in 2014, Mission Motorsport partners, including Jaguar Land Rover, DHL, Westway Nissan, Alcon and Bicester Heritage, have already helped 1,700 veterans, including over 150 ex-servicemen and women categorised as wounded, injured or sick, into work.

Mission Automotive maps military skills to qualifications required by the sector, delivering sustainable and relevant employment opportunities for service leavers, veterans and their partners. It also lets the industry tap into a pool of unrealised talent to fill skills gaps in everything from components, infrastructure and software through to manufacturing, logistics, maintenance and repair.

As the move to electrification and related technology gains pace, the initiative will also provide a welcome boost as ex-forces personnel across all three services already possess highly relevant skills in high-voltage technologies and systems.

James Cameron, Mission Motorsport CEO, said,

It can be difficult for service leavers to translate how their military experience allows them to fit into civilian careers. Mission Automotive helps organisations to recognise, foster and retain that talent through developing and implementing their own Armed Forces engagement strategies. By promoting these positive business behaviours, the Mission Automotive initiative gives member companies the tools to unlock not only human potential, but also brand and corporate opportunities through embracing the Armed Forces Covenant.

Working as part of the MoD’s Defence Recovery Capability, our partner companies have helped over 1,700 veterans into employment since the first Invictus Games in 2014. Our service men and women are a national resource, and have much to offer to society beyond their military service. By helping them and their families we boost British industry, and by association the communities in which they resettle.

Gavin Williamson CBE, Secretary of State for Defence, said,

Engineering is one of the range of skills which personnel hone in our armed forces and can be transferred to civilian life. Mission Automotive will be instrumental in ensuring that these exceptional skills are harnessed, bolstering this vital sector of our economy and providing high skilled jobs for the ex-forces community.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

From electrification to digitization, autonomous driving to cyber security, the automotive industry is changing rapidly and we need talent to address some critical skills gaps. Ex-military personnel can provide some of these in-demand skills and the industry can provide them with a new career path. SMMT has supported Mission Motorsport for a number of years with ex-service people, including many with disabilities, joining the sector and rapidly becoming an asset to their respective companies. Mission Automotive expands these opportunities and will let us attack the future challenges with highly trained and targeted talent.

Commentary from veterans (download high-res photos via Dropbox here)

Stuart Olden, Williams Advanced Engineering, Ex-Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, said,

My military experience has really helped my transition into the industry roles that I have held up to now, not only from a technical perspective, but the soft skills the Army taught me have really come in handy too”

Colin Murphy, Jaguar Land Rover Special Vehicle Operations, Ex-Royal Navy, said,

I have been on the most amazing journey with Mission Motorsport and it has culminated in a fantastic new job with an amazing company. I’ve worked really hard to make the most of everything that I have been offered – and it has paid off in the end.

Mission Automotive is already working to place personnel with highly relevant skills in the UK automotive industry. Companies want to find out more can visit the website www.missionautomotive.org or contact info@missionautomotive.org for more information, and an induction pack.

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