15 January 2016

Supporting the Military Community

5 minute read

  • How we help Armed Forces personnel looking to buy their own home and recognise the specific issues they face
  • About our Military Transition Programme, recruiting ex-military personnel
  • How we work with Help for Heroes, SSAFA and the Royal British Legion

The support we offer the military community is something we’re very proud of at Nationwide. Whether it’s helping Armed Forces personnel looking to buy their own home or offering veterans a new career opportunity, Nationwide can play a large supporting part. These men and women have often had experiences and backgrounds that are very different to those of us who have only ever known civilian life.

January is a good month to take stock of what’s been achieved in the last year and looking back it’s clear we’ve come a very long way in this area in a relatively short period of time.

At the beginning of last year we renewed our focus on the various areas of the business that supported serving and former military personnel and their families. We recognised that our HQ’s location in Wiltshire was very important as the county will soon have the largest Army footprint in the UK as the drawdown from Germany takes place. We’ve worked with First Artillery Brigade which is based on the Salisbury Plain to better understand issues facing troops and their families. This, as well as our close proximity to the south coast and RAF bases such as Brize Norton, makes our HQ’s location very important in terms of recruiting veterans and offering them a second career.

The Military Transition Programme, which was launched in May last year, focused on recruiting former Armed Forces personnel into project manager posts within our Business Transformation Department. The programme offered new recruits extra support, recognising the challenges that often exist when moving from the military into a corporate environment. At the same time, of course, Nationwide benefits from their broad range of skills, talent and work ethic. What’s particularly significant about this programme is that it was devised and is driven by ex-military personnel who now work at Nationwide.

The progress we’ve made isn’t limited to recruitment though, it’s mirrored by the support given to troops and their families considering a move off base, including those looking to purchase their first home – we’ve delivered information both on base and through our independent, online Armed Forces Guide (PDF).

“Recognising the often transient lives of members of the military community, we’ve been working with the MOD to identify how these complications can be remedied to provide better support.”

We’ve also been working with military charities such as Help for Heroes, SSAFA and the Royal British Legion as well as other major employers – particularly in the south west. We’re sharing best practice in areas such as supporting reservists and recruiting veterans. And we’re also ensuring that the unique background that a member of the Armed Forces may have doesn’t hinder their access to services and products. For example, many financial organisations, including ourselves, have faced challenges as a result of British Forces Post Office (BFPO) addresses, which can complicate mortgage and loan applications, which require UK address history information. Recognising the often transient lives of members of the military community, we’ve been working with the MOD to identify how we can provide better support to solve these complications. We’ve also provided additional training to our frontline employees to ensure Armed Forces personnel receive the best possible service.

When we signed the Corporate Covenant in November 2014 we signed up to a pledge which states that ‘no member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen’. Since then we’ve learned a lot and thanks to our employees, military charities and other stakeholders, we’re determined to continue to drive this work stream forward and share what we learn.

2016 promises to be an interesting year with the launch of our Military Employee Network which will establish a formal group of ex-Armed Forces personnel and reservists, who will champion this cause, support each other and look for further business opportunities to support the military community. We’ll also be looking at how we can further assist the development of skills provided to ex-military personnel through our work with local government through the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership and we’ll be working more closely with military charities to see how Nationwide as an employer and an organisation which has a presence in communities across the UK can provide further support.

I’ll leave you with this short film called Armed Forces support Walk With Them which features some of our former Armed Forces personnel and captures much of how Nationwide is supporting the military community.

About the author

Bryce Glover

Bryce Glover, Corporate Affairs Director, has responsibility for Corporate Communications, External Affairs and the Citizenship team.

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