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Wales survey shows military skills and values are essential for workplace success

People in Wales believe skills and values developed in the military are essential for good performance in the wider working world, according to new research published in Armed Forces Week by veterans’ employment charity The Poppy Factory.

Communication and team work were the highest-rated workplace skills in the survey of adults in Wales, with 4 in 5 people saying these skills are vital. Organisation and problem-solving were also in the top four.

All of these skills are cited by the Ministry of Defence as being typical of veterans who are transitioning to the civilian world after leaving the Services. Other attributes, including IT skills, commercial awareness, networking and creative skills, were seen by fewer people in Wales as critical when it comes to performing well at work.
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The Poppy Factory, which supports veterans with physical and mental health conditions back into employment, also asked people to choose which values they believe are most essential for success in the workplace.

Respect for others – a core value of the British Army – was the top-rated workplace value, with nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of those surveyed in Wales saying this is essential for success. Integrity, discipline and loyalty were also key Army values that members of the public placed in their top five.

Fewer people in Wales viewed other values, including kindness, optimism, openness and curiosity, as important for success at work.

Deirdre Mills, Chief Executive of The Poppy Factory, said:

“This survey shows that men and women who have served in our Armed Forces develop a wealth of skills and attributes that can benefit every kind of employer.

“The veterans we support back into work in communities across Wales often do not realise their value and part of our role at The Poppy Factory is to help them understand the incredible skills and experiences that they have to offer.

“With the right support, mental and physical health conditions should be no barrier to meaningful and sustained employment beyond the Services.”

The survey was carried out by YouGov on behalf of The Poppy Factory for Employability Day on June 28th. This year’s Employability Day theme is Closing the Gaps, highlighting the work being done by organisations like The Poppy Factory to support disadvantaged people to enter, sustain or progress in work.

The Poppy Factory supports around 300 veterans back to work each year, such as Mark Stanley, from Swansea, who served in the Royal Signals for seven years, in Germany and Cyprus. Despite a successful move into a civilian role with South Wales Police, Mark was troubled for years by a tragic accident that he witnessed while on exercise.

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Pictured: Mark Stanley

After developing post-traumatic stress disorder and suffering a breakdown, Mark was referred to The Poppy Factory for support getting back into work. With help from his employment consultant Natalie, he is now inspired by his new job supporting others with disabilities, as an Employability Co-ordinator at Leonard Cheshire Cymru.

Mark said: “There was one incident that happened while we were on exercise in Germany which really affected me. A truck that my friend was sleeping in caught fire and he couldn’t get out of his sleeping bag. He was badly burned and died in hospital 10 days later.

“Within two years of leaving the Army I was working for South Wales Police in the control room, and I didn’t think I’d been affected that much. But in 2010 I had a breakdown and it was like a tsunami – everything came back.

“Natalie from The Poppy Factory has been brilliant from the start. It felt like we’d known each other for years. She’s ex-Navy, and for me it was very important that through her own experience, she could understand where I was coming from.

“Natalie helped a lot with my CV, because I wasn’t really selling myself very well. CVs weren’t really around when I first moved into the police, and I hadn’t really thought about the skills that I’d built up over the years. Natalie helped me bring those to the foreground.

“I’d been out of work for seven years, so when I got an interview and was offered the job the next day, it really felt like I’d achieved something. Before, I felt like I was on the scrapheap, so to get the job was fantastic.”

Global investments company BNY Mellon, which supports The Poppy Factory, gave its backing to the research.

Eric Warren, Chair of BNY Mellon’s EMEA Veterans Network, said: ““At BNY Mellon we value the skills that veterans bring to our workforce. Each individual is different, but those who have served in the Armed Forces tend to have attributes that are valuable to any business. Communication, team work, organisation and problem-solving are all vital for success in our sector, and these skills are second nature to most veterans. Military values such as integrity and respect for others are just as important. For those who possess these qualities, a physical or mental condition should be no barrier to success.

“We support The Poppy Factory’s mission to ensure that wounded, injured and sick veterans are able to use their transferable skills to benefit employers across the UK.”

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