New website will link ex-military personnel with fresh starts

Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

More than 50 businesses across East Anglia have pledged to make use of the skills and expertise of military leavers – and help them into a new career after the forces.

They have offered their support to VETS East, the first regional hub for the national Veterans Employment Transition Support Programme, which provides mentoring and in-work support services for former military personnel.

A new website – – has been launched to pair ex-servicemen and women looking for pre-work advice, work experience and job vacancies with businesses across Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex.

The regional programme has been spearheaded by Andy Wood, the chief executive of Adnams, in his capacity as the Prince's Ambassador for the East of England.

He said the scheme could tackle the need for more rewarding careers for service leavers, and the skills gap many businesses in the region are facing.

'This is an economic imperative for the growing economy in the East of England. Ex military personnel have many skills to offer and can bring those skills to businesses in the East,' said Mr Wood, who also chairs New Anglia LEP's skills board.

'So I would urge anyone about to leave the armed forces, or who have left and are struggling to find work, to register on the website, see what job opportunities could be out there for them and access personal support and advice on how to get back on the career ladder.'

Businesses can post vacancies on the site's jobs board for free, allowing veterans to access new work opportunities. More than 50 public, private and voluntary sector organisations have pledged their support, including Norse and Anglian Water.

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The matching service means SMEs have access to an under-used future workforce, and can save on recruitment fees.

The project has been supported locally by Business in the Community, Barclays, New Anglia LEP and other public bodies and military charities.

Tim Seeley, head of corporate and business banking East Anglia, said: 'We have been incredibly encouraged by the level of support from the business community following our launch.

'Barclays has business clients across the East and we will be highlighting the work of VETS East in our conversations with them.

'We hope they will see this as a great opportunity to support members of their teams to sign up as mentors, consider work placements and advertise their vacancies on'

Are you helping ex-servicemen back into the workplace? Email or call 01603 772426.