Kent’s support for the military has been reinforced at a conference, whose aims included ensuring that those who have served in the armed forces and their families are not disadvantaged as a result of their service.
The annual conference was organised by the Kent and Medway Civilian Military Partnership Board, with about 150 attendees sharing an interest in promoting the Armed Forces Covenant.
The purpose of the event, held at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone, was to provide an update on changes within the armed forces and to plan activity for the coming year.
It was opened by Councillor Jenny Hollingsbee, the Deputy Leader of Shepway District Council and its Armed Forces Champion. The event also included a dance demonstration by children from Gurkha families. Some are pictured here, along with Capt. Rai Ramkumar, KCC Armed Forces Champion Debra Exall, Col Andrew Barr (Deputy Commander 11 Brigade SE) and Tim Woolmer, a Policy and Partnerships Adviser at KCC.
A number of workshops were organised and the agreed key action points included:
Informing and educating employers, to seek work placement opportunities and adult apprenticeships;
A specific marketing campaign in relation to Gurkhas and their wives, and a specific Gurkha training day within the Career Transition Partnership;
Greater engagement with employers which have signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant and those that have been awarded through the Employer Recognition Scheme to ensure that they are delivering on their pledge to support the Armed Forces community;
Working out the civilian equivalent value of reservist military training and the commercial value of military qualifications and civilian accreditation;
Clarifying the pathway for education, training and funding for ex-service personnel;
Promoting the value of adult volunteering;
Monitoring the process for securing school places for children of military personnel;
Creating a package of support for military families from overseas moving to the UK;
Promoting the value of adult volunteering to universities and new employers (those involved with youth – leisure, sports clubs etc) and identifying barriers to volunteering
Local authorities are to be asked to consider:
Undertaking staff surveys to find out numbers of Reservists, ex-service personnel and partners;
Publicising the Armed Forces Covenant via local media and council publications;
Building more relationships with local businesses and organisations, encourage them to sign up to the Covenant and apply for Employer Recognition Scheme awards;
Encouraging staff to consider becoming Cadet Adult Volunteers;
Meeting the Task Force Commander and local business leaders to promote the benefits of employing Reservists, serving personnel and their spouses.
KCC’s commitment and support for defence personnel and their families was recently recognised with a bronze award from the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Scheme.
Highlighting the council’s support for those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, the award recognises KCC’s ‘statement of intent to support defence personnel’ as well as its participation in Armed Forces Day.
“We are proud to employ both Reservists and Ex-Service Personnel across KCC and we greatly value their contribution and work ethic,” said Canon Peter Bruinvels, KCC’s Civilian-Military Liaison Adviser. “The British Army has a major presence in Kent with the Military making a large contribution to the local economy and to the workforce.”