Centrica hopes to recruit as many as 500 former soldiers, sailors and airforce personnel into roles across British Gas and the wider group by the end of 2023, to assist in the transition to Net Zero.
The energy services company has asked Matero, led by former Army Colonel Stuart Tootal, to help design and build a programme that attracts significant numbers of service leavers and represents a best-in-class civilian career offering to the former forces’ community.
The first intake of 12 ex-forces trainee gas engineers have begun their 42 week training, and should provide a template recruiting programme which the company can scale up later in the year.
"This is a fantastic initiative that will provide support to our service leavers and veterans by helping them find employment once they leave the military"
Veterans Minister Leo Docherty MP
They include Alex Smith, 33, from Wolverhampton, a former sniper with the 2 Rifles based in Northern Ireland. He was medically discharged in 2013 after being involved in two IED explosions during tours of Afghanistan, which damaged his hearing and eyesight. After suffering from PTSD, he sees the programme as his route back to normality, “I have always wanted a trade and this offer was amazing. It’s a skill to be proud of, which will give me stability in my working life to provide for my family and it opens up lot of routes for progression into green energy.”
The Veterans Minister Leo Docherty MP is supporting the initiative, he said, “This is a fantastic initiative that will provide support to our service leavers and veterans by helping them find employment once they leave the military.
“I am delighted with the opportunity this provides to those who have served our nation’s military and recognises that the military gives you skills for life.”
The ex-forces programme will be run in-house, following the Matero template, with the initial emphasis on recruiting and training gas engineers. The company is particularly keen to attract women into the programme, resulting in greater diversity within the Centrica workforce. With women representing just 12 per cent of the armed forces, Centrica is encouraging military spouses to apply for roles within the organisation.
Across the Centrica group there is an ambition that 50 per cent of those starting careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) roles are women. As well as boiler maintenance and repair, Centrica’s 7,000 strong engineering force works across EV charge point installations, smart meters, heat pumps and solar and battery storage projects in support of the company’s ambition to reach net zero by 2045.
It comes as Centrica research has found that more Brits than ever are seeking out a second career, with 50% of trainees and apprentices now over the age of 25.
As well as benefiting from the career pathway, individuals entering the programme during the design phase will also help develop the initiative and set the conditions to scale the programme once it’s up and running.
Greg McKenna, Managing Director of Centrica Business Solutions is sponsoring the programme, “Supporting our customers to get to net zero is at the forefront of our plans, but we need the skilled workforce to deliver at the scale and pace necessary. The market for recruiting ex-forces has become increasingly competitive, but we plan to use our extensive heritage of delivering world-class training alongside dedicated support to bring on board the talent required to deliver on our Net Zero plans.”
Andy Prendergast, National Secretary, the GMB Union said: “The GMB are pleased to work with Centrica in taking the lead by actively recruiting former service personnel into the company. This programme offers practical training, leading to good, secure careers which can really help to ease the transition back into civilian life. As someone who has had family members serve in the forces, I know that this can be a difficult process but by having employers willing to work with veterans to get good jobs, it can make a really positive difference.”
"The market for recruiting ex-forces has become increasingly competitive, but we plan to use our extensive heritage of delivering world-class training alongside dedicated support to bring on board the talent required to deliver on our Net Zero plans"
Greg McKenna, Managing Director of Centrica Business Solutions
As part of the pathway Centrica will work with military charities that specialise in supporting the transition to life after service as well as service and regimental associations and ex-forces networks.
Matero founder Stuart Tootal, said, “Centrica offers an attractive package to service leavers, however, this will be enhanced by providing a career transition pathway to support interested service leavers on every step of their new career journey. By providing mentors, called ‘oppos’, we hope to make the transition to civilian life that little bit easier by supporting with interview preparation, professional training, membership in the Centrica Ex-Forces Network and physical and mental health support.”
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