In recognition of the value that serving personnel, reservists, veterans and military families bring to the university, the University of Exeter has pledged their support to the Armed Forces community by signing the Armed Forces Covenant.
The Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) is a promise to ensure that those who serve or who have served, and their families, are treated fairly and not disadvantaged in their day-to-day lives. The AFC relies on the people, communities, and businesses of the UK to actively support it in order to make a difference.
The signing between the University of Exeter and the MoD today (23 September) demonstrates the university’s intention to support the Armed Forces community and pledge to support and seek to uphold the principles of the AFC.
The principles in the agreement outline that no members of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen and in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate especially for the injured or bereaved.
The covenant also outlines the ways in which the university will demonstrate its commitment to the Armed Forces community. Some of these include; supporting employees who are members of the Reserve Forces, offering flexible annual leave for partners of Service personnel and promoting careers in the Armed Forces as part of the university’s student employability initiatives.
Former Royal Marine Commando and Royal Navy Logistics Officer, Jonathan Cresswell, who after 19 years of service now works as a Learning, Development and Apprenticeship Manager at the University of Exeter, explains how the signing of the AFC is the start of something exciting for service families, veterans and reservists working at the University.
“I know from personal experience how challenging it is for partners and service personnel before, during and after deployments” says Jonathan.
“It is a roller coaster ride of emotions, for the whole family that begins when you first find out about the deployment. Partners need time to prepare emotionally, logistically and financially for the months ahead.
“The University aims to support service families by offering flexible leave arrangements, giving them valuable time when it is needed most. We hope that this will enable our employees to support their partners and empower them to have the tools they need to manage the strain of deployment.”
Vice-Chancellor of the University of Exeter, Professor Sir Steve Smith, said: “The University is proud to recognise the contribution of those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families.
“Over the years, the University has benefited greatly from the training and experience of many former military personnel who are now progressing in their civilian careers at the University, working in IT, technical services, people development, management and administration, to name just a few.
“We are committed to supporting our Armed Forces community and we are delighted to be able to show our commitment to this support by signing the covenant today.”
Signing the agreement on behalf of the MoD, Royal Marines Brigadier Jock Fraser, Naval Regional Commander, said:
“It was an absolute privilege to sign the Armed Forces Covenant with the University of Exeter today. In signing the Covenant, the University has formally recognised the contribution serving regular and reserve personnel, veterans and their service families make to the city of Exeter and the surrounding region.
“The Armed Forces continue to enjoy tremendous support in Exeter from the public we serve and I hope that the pledge today from such a prestigious institution will inspire other organisations and businesses in Devon to sign the Armed Forces Covenant too.”
If you are a member of the reserve forces, a veteran, or a partner of someone in the regular/reserve forces of veteran, please email People Services who can discuss the covenant with you and see how they can support you.