Speaking at the launch of the Barclays AFTER programme in central London, where Barclays called on businesses across the UK to join them in doing as much as they can to support members of the military and their families, the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, said:
I am extremely impressed by the range of commitments made by Barclays through the Armed Forces corporate covenant and Barclays’ AFTER programme which provides injured and wounded personnel with work placements and employment opportunities in recognition of the benefits they can bring to business, and to help them make a successful transition from the Armed Forces.
Calling on the UK’s top 100 companies to back our Reserve Forces, which are due to increase in strength to 35,000 by 2018, the Defence Secretary said:
So now we’re looking to British industry to take up the challenge and back our reservists. We’ve seen what large employers like Barclays are doing, both to support our wounded personnel in finding new careers and in taking on reservists.
To configure the forces of the future we need this enlightened approach to become the rule not the exception. So today I’m laying down a challenge to the UK’s top 100 employers to each support at least 100 reservists in their workforce. I want them to do this not simply because having a recruit in your workforce should be a badge of honour for your company but because the business benefits clearly outweigh the costs.
The Barclays AFTER programme provides employability training, work placements and employment opportunities at Barclays and its partner organisations, with the aim of making the transition to civilian life as smooth as possible
Armed Forces corporate covenant
At an event at Alhambra House in central London Barclays also signed the Armed Forces corporate covenant, which will help to ensure that no member of the Armed Forces community faces disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen.
Barclays was joined at the event by the Defence Secretary and David Richmond, Recovery Director at Help for Heroes.
Both the AFTER programme and Barclays key commitments within the corporate covenant look at ways to support the development of broader military talent and the Reserve Forces, as well as promoting fundraising efforts for military charities across the bank.
Stuart Tootal, Head of the Barclays AFTER programme, said:
The signing of the covenant will illustrate our recognition of the value serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to Barclays. We have learned an awful lot from the ex-military personnel who have joined Barclays as part of the AFTER programme. They have given us a unique insight into the difficulties members of the Armed Forces and their families face and we are determined to do what we can to address this.
Barclays also announced a number of changes to everyday banking which will help tackle some of the difficulties Armed Forces personnel can face when applying for mortgages or unsecured loans.