National Armed Forces Day - why aligning our social impact creates mutual benefits for our people, our clients and our communities

Tim Redfern, Business Director
21 June 2021
Image of military personnel on a bridge.
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Once again, we come together to celebrate National Armed Forces Day which offers an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the enormous contributions that our service personnel – abroad and at home – continue to make to the nation.

Frustratingly, as a consequence of Covid 19, we are still unable to come together en masse, however that should not diminish the importance of the day or the esteem with which our service personnel are held in society.  The day gives us an opportunity to reflect on how we are living the commitments we laid out in the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant, supporting members of the Armed Forces community who work within Amey, access our services or are part of the wider community. Importantly, the Armed Forces Covenant will be enshrined in law and with senior members of DIO, I was pleased to be able to give evidence to the Bill Committee earlier this year in support of this change. 

As a business, we believe it is our role to work with and empower our employees, suppliers and customers to create positive change and long-term benefit to society. We believe that by aligning our values, we can ensure that Amey’s social footprint not only resonates with our employees but reaches the people who need it most. Earlier this year we launched our Social Value Plan and we have been developing a detailed roadmap of targets and objectives in consultation with defence stakeholders to guide us through the next five years. 

A key objective within the plan is to open doors to those within our armed forces communities. We recognise the unique skills and experience service leavers and veterans possess and proactively encourage and support their employment and personal development. As a result, we have a large and growing population of ex-service personal working across the entire Amey Group, with 9% of our defence workforce coming from a military background. Likewise, we support and promote Reservists within the organisation – currently providing an additional paid annual leave to support with annual training requirements.  We were recently successful in a bid to provide specialist mechanical plant under the new Project MITER programme and this obligates us to provide Sponsored Reserves from Autumn 2022 – further strengthening the links between Amey and the Front-Line Commands.  

Our national footprint means we are well placed to support the continued employment of military spouses or partners when they are called to move – and through our partnership with SSAFA, the armed forces charity, we can also provide practical and emotional support. This activity has helped Amey attain Gold status in the Defence Employment Recognition Scheme. 

This year Armed Forces Day offers the chance to refocus our attention and shine a light on some of these fantastic organisations we are working alongside. Each offers an opportunity for us to create an impact across a diverse group of stakeholders. 

SSAFA has been at the forefront of our efforts over the last five years and we are close to reaching our £300,000 fundraising target. Its mentoring programme provides practical and personal support to those leaving the Services and struggling to make the transition back into civilian life. As well as taking part in a wealth of fundraising initiatives, Amey team members have also become specialist mentors themselves, whilst others have used their Service experience to help mentors better understand how it can feel to leave the military community. This results in both employees and beneficiaries receiving a tangible benefit from the partnership.  

We have recently started supporting Women in Defence (WiD). The organisation’s mission is closely aligned to our continued drive for diversity. Created in 2011, WiD aims to improve gender balance in the Defence sector and support the development and growth of women by providing fair opportunities for female employees to succeed at all levels. We recognise that as a business we need to continue to push for fair representation and ensure we are reflective of the communities we serve. 

In April 2020, we strengthened our links with the Armed Forces by partnering with the Open University - supporting their Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund (DVSF).  The scheme provides support for disabled individuals injured in or due to military service as they look to forge new careers in the civilian world. It provides free education and a wraparound disability and careers support service and is the first of its kind in the UK. It enables disabled veterans to study for free and receive specialist disability support and careers advice helping them to thrive in a post-Service career.  

Because of Amey’s long association with the Armed Forces we recognise that these transferable skills span all Service leavers and veterans. With around 14,000 personnel leaving the Forces each year we are delighted to have formed an alliance with BuildForce, to help reduce the skills gap in the construction industry by recruiting ex-military personnel.  One of the senior team in Amey, Richard Castell, has been leading our relationship with BuildForce and Richard recently took part in a mentoring programme sharing his experiences. 

Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC), part of the Royal British Legion Industries, is the UK's leading social enterprise for providing employment opportunities to members of the Armed Forces community. It provides veterans and people with disabilities with access to new technologies to make a wide range of items and services – including rail and road signage. Any profit from the products made is re-invested to either provide further employment opportunities to ex-servicemen and women or support the wider charity’s aims of providing welfare, housing and employment to the country’s most vulnerable veterans. Amey is one of the biggest highways’ services providers in the UK, looking after around 30,000km of roads. Since 2013, the business has spent £2.5 million with BBMC – purchasing around 20,000 signs for use on its contracts across the UK. This means that Amey buys around half of all its road signs from a social enterprise. 

By partnering with these inspirational organisations Amey has been able to provide support to hundreds of people within the Forces community.  Aligning our social impact strategy to the values and mission of our clients and our wider networks has enabled us to be a genuine force for change.  Amey’s success is intrinsically linked to the communities we work in.  We are proud to support the Armed Forces and proud to be supporting such amazing organisations as these.  

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