A charitable partnership that helps armed forces veterans find jobs in the automotive industry has been launched with royal backing of Prince William and Prince Harry.
Unveiled at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and delivered by Mission Motorsport, the forces’ motorsport charity, with the support of the Royal Foundation, Mission Automotive distils the charity’s seven years’ experience in placing veterans into employment across the UK automotive industry.
The Secretary of State for Defence was present, along with executives from automotive firms such as Jaguar Land Rover, Westway Nissan, DHL and the SMMT.
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.
West Way Nissan is one franchised retailer that has lent its backing to the scheme. Veteran and managing director, Tony Lewis, said: “We are proud to employ veterans, from managing director through to regional manager, technicians and customer facing staff, so I know first hand the exceptional qualities that ex-servicemen and women bring to our business.
"We also benefit from engagement with the Armed Forces Community through wider initiatives like sponsorship and the Armed Forces Covenant.”
James Cameron, Mission Motorsport's chief executive, 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. ”