News Jun 26, 2019

UK Armed Forces Week

Meet some of our armed forces veterans and reservists bringing diverse experience and skills to their roles in and out of the workplace.

Air cadets marching in London

Organized by the U.K. Ministry of Defence (MOD), Armed Forces Week is a national celebration of the U.K. Armed Forces, with many employers hosting activities and events to highlight their support. Hundreds of events are taking place throughout the week all over the U.K. to recognize today’s Reserves Day (June 26) and Armed Forces Day on June 29.

These events provide opportunities for civilians and employers to get involved, find out more about military life and show their support and appreciation to the Armed Forces community of serving troops, reservists, service leavers and their wider community. The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of the U.K.’s Armed Forces personnel and as such are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas, particularly providing capability in areas such as cyber, logistics, engineering and project management.

Today, Jacobs joins the celebrations, welcoming our reservists to come to work in their uniforms, and hosting events across the U.K. to raise awareness of the opportunities as a reservist, and the diversity of perspective and shared learning our military family bring to the organization. Across the globe, Jacobs' armed forces veterans and reservists bring diverse and complimentary experience to the business, and we're proud of the valuable contribution they bring to their roles in and out of the workplace.

Elaine Wardle receiving award

Jacobs Risk Manager Elaine Wardle joined the RAF Air Cadets as a 13-year old looking for a new challenge. She progressed through the cadet ranks and at the age of 21 moved into a staff role gaining the Queens Commission in 2004. In 2011, she was given command of her own Squadron and this year was promoted to Squadron Leader responsible for five Air Cadet Squadrons totaling 130 youths and 50 staff. Joining Jacobs nearly 16-years ago, Elaine has developed her civilian career in risk management and is also an active STEM promoter, supporting some of Jacobs' STEM activities with the Cadet Forces.

“I am proud to see the cadets develop from the shy young people that join the squadron to the confident adults that leave eight years later,” said Elaine. “Knowing you have helped shape the person they have become and provided them the skills to handle the challenges that life brings.

“Being a Squadron Leader has challenged my people management and problem-solving skills and enabled me to transfer the tools and capability back into my civilian role to deal with demanding situations quickly and efficiently.”

Jacobs Senior Archaeologist and 1st Troop Sergeant with the Queen’s Own Yeomanry, Robert McNaught has worked on a wide range of projects in the infrastructure, water and energy sectors with Jacobs since 2002. Rob joined the former Territorial Army in 2001 and has since served on Scimitar reconnaissance vehicles in a cavalry regiment.

“With a lifelong interest in all things military, I joined the Reserve Forces to stretch myself mentally and physically in a way that was different to my day job,” said Rob. “My reservist role has helped me develop my ability to keep calm and focused under pressure and, to plan and prioritize tasks. Responsible for the welfare, training and career development of a troop of 12 soldiers, I’ve also been able to mature my people management skills and broaden my experience outside my civilian role.”

Successful second careers

Servicemen and women spend years adapting to roles and gaining valuable qualities that are hugely relevant to commercial environments. Increasing visibility of role models who have carved out successful second careers is crucial to empowering and inspiring service leavers and, educating employers on the value of supporting their transition into civilian careers.

Jacobs Director of Operations Alex Lane was recently named a Finalist at the 2019 British Ex-Forces in Business Awards, which recognize the value veterans add to businesses and the employers that support the transition. Alex served to the rank of Captain with The Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, where he developed many skills that have been invaluable through his civilian career. Alex now helps champion Jacobs’ work on positive mental health and engagement with the wider military family.

“Reservists and veterans add richly to Jacobs, they bring significant transferable skills and experiences. We are proud to support them and Reserves day,” said Alex.

Last month, Jacobs re-signed the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC), pledging to continue support and advocacy of the U.K. Armed Forces and provide sustainable employment pathways for former service personnel and reservists. Already a signatory of the AFC, Jacobs recommitted to the Covenant following the acquisition of CH2M in December 2017 and the introduction of an enhanced benefits and support package for military and former military employees and their spouses. The enhanced support doubles the number of days available to reservists, as well as greatly improving military training and secondment opportunities.

Jacobs has a long-established relationship with the U.K. Armed Forces, having supported the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for over 30 years, and also holds the Silver Award from the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS), which recognizes organizations that demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and have values aligned with the U.K. Armed Forces Covenant.

The Jacobs Employee Network, VetNet, advocates for veterans and military reserve members of government military organizations and related groups from around the world. VetNet supports more than 2,000 Jacobs veteran employees, their families and other veteran supporters from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia, India and others, and welcomes all employees (veterans and non-veterans) to become members. It also connects employees with organizations that assist veterans and reservists and their families.

Leadership challenge 2019

Jacobs civilian employees also recently took part in a military-style leadership course at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in Berkshire. Offering a unique opportunity to develop leadership and teamwork skills under the expert guidance of the British Armed Forces, the Leadership Challenge 2019 saw participants tackle complex tasks in a variety of situations that military personnel undertake whilst in service – leadership and management skills that also benefit businesses and other organizations.

Participating in the Leadership Challenge, Jacobs Global Integrated Delivery Manager, Alison Flynn said: “I saw a whole different perspective on leadership which I can take with me through life and of course back into the business: the importance of looking after your team, understanding their strengths and weaknesses, shaping strategies for success and team-work in decision-making.”