Miiitary veterans applying for a job at the county council will be guaranteed an interview if they meet the role’s criteria from September.
In order to become a ‘more veteran friendly employer’ the authority is implementing a new scheme as a way of helping former-armed forces personnel make the transition back to civilian life.
The Guaranteed Interview Scheme for Veterans will mean that veterans whose last long-term employment was in the armed forces, left the armed forces less than three years ago, and meet the essential criteria of the role they are applying for will be offered an interview.
This follows a motion unanimously approved by councillors in March, which called on West Sussex County Council to sign up to the Veterans’ Interview Programme.
County councillor Graham Jones (UKIP, Felpham), who put forward the motion and is a retired member of the airborne forces himself, explained that retired service veterans faced problems adjusting to civilian life, with the biggest issue being finding worthwhile employment.
While Bob Lanzer (Con, Maidenbower) the county council’s cabinet member for corporate relations, initially raised concerns around the potential for the scheme to conflict with equalities legislation, he then supported the motion after receiving updated legal advice.
Then last week Mr Lanzer made the executive decision to implement the scheme.
According to an officers’ report £5,000 would be needed to amend the county council’s online application process, while a further £5,000 a year would be needed to put vacancies on the Ministry of Defence website.
After March’s debate Mr Jones said: “Clearly, ex-military can’t expect preferential treatment as such, nor would they ask for that.
“However, adjusting to the civilian workplace isn’t always easy, despite the fact that many of the skills acquired in serving one’s country are actually deceptively relevant to civilian jobs.
“What I want to see is that civilian employers really do wake up to this.
“This is a perfect example of the county council needing to take a lead and my motion also secured a commitment to promote and encourage our numerous suppliers and contractors to sign up to the scheme wherever practicable.”
The council already has a West Sussex Community Covenant, which is a commitment by the authority to support the armed forces community across the county, including all serving and former members, reservists and their families.
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