Leading digital services company Atos has pledged to honour the Armed Forces Covenant in a ceremony at the Tank Museum, Bovington, in Dorset.
Joe Hemming, Chief Operating Officer of Atos UK and Ireland, signed the Covenant with Lieutenant Colonel John Godfrey, Commanding Officer of The Royal Wessex Yeomanry, the UK’s Armoured Reserve Regiment, based entirely in the South West.
The event was also attended by the Colonel Oliver Chamberlain, Chairman of the Wessex Reserve Forces & Cadets Association and its Chief Executive, Brigadier Tony Dalby-Welsh, together with Lieutenant Colonel Tom Ellen, who has responsibility for Employer Engagement at 1st Artillery Brigade/Army HQ South West.
The Covenant commits Atos to a range of initiatives – promoting Atos as an Armed Forces-friendly organisation, supporting the employment of veterans as well as Service spouses and partners, and supporting Atos employees among the Reserve Forces.
Mr Hemming said: “The commitment and dedication shown to our country by the Armed Forces is incredible and, as a business, Atos wants to do all we can to support and recruit in their future career.
“They have done so much to defend our country and Atos want to show their appreciation for all they have done by providing them with opportunities to make a new start while still having the flexibility to be involved with the Armed Forces.”
Colonel Chamberlain added: “It is very encouraging to see the increasing number of organisations signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant – both at Corporate and Community level.”
Among those Atos employees who are members of the Reserve Forces are Rob Stiff, 38, from Cheltenham, and Graeme Hood, 43, from Bath.
Both are Reservists with the Royal Wessex Yeomanry which, along with the Queen’s Royal Hussars, King’s Royal Hussars and Royal Tank Regiment, provides the armoured element to the Army’s Reaction Force.
Rob is an ex-Regular Infantry NCO, now a Troop Corporal with C Squadron at Cirencester. He has spent 21 years in uniform, deploying to Afghanistan, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Canada, Botswana, Jamaica and Belize.
Rob joined Atos three years ago and is a senior project manager for the company.
He said: “As a result of all that has gone on in the last 13 years, the profile of the Armed Forces is a lot higher and their stock with the general public is much higher too. Some of the values and attributes that maybe weren’t apparent 10-15 years ago are now being seen.
“People want to have ex-soldiers working for them. These are individuals with real-world, demonstrable experience of their ability to manage people – in the most testing of circumstances.”
He added: “We are task-orientated, so will take a task and drive it to its conclusion.”
As a result of the initiatives put in place at Atos – and partnerships through CTP – the company has, to Robin’s knowledge, brought seven or eight ex-servicemen into the business this year.
Graeme is one of them, an ex-Regular officer with 17 years’ service, including postings to Afghanistan, Bosnia, Oman, Jordan, Germany, Canada and Belize. He is an officer in Y Squadron of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry, based at Swindon
As part of the agreement, Atos will also actively participate in Armed Forces Day on 27 June as well as London Poppy Day on 8 November which the company has previously supported and contributed towards the £1.25 million raised in 2014.
Atos will uphold the key principles of the Armed Forces Covenant and, as part of that process, will be attending several of the military-sponsored job fairs where members of the Armed Forces find out the opportunities the company can offer.
The company is also likely to be entered in a government-led initiative which rewards and recognises UK employers for their support and commitment towards Defence.
For more information on working with Defence Relationship Management, The Corporate Covenant and The Employer Recognition Scheme: