Mission Automotive Launch: A new charitable partnership

Major players from across the automotive industry today (Thursday 7 March) came together with the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with the Ministry of Defence to launch Mission Automotive, a new charitable partnership that helps service leavers and veterans into jobs in the sector.

Unveiled at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, and delivered by Mission Motorsport, the Forces’ Motorsport Charity, the Mission Automotive initiative helps service leavers and veterans into UK Automotive industry jobs. Covering the entire sector, from components, infrastructure and software through to manufacturing and logistics, the project will supply a broad range of highly-relevant skills to the job market. As the move to electrification and related technology gains pace, the initiative will also provide a welcome boost through the dissemination of high-voltage competencies that are commonplace in all three Services.

Mission Automotive distils the charity’s seven years’ experience in placing veterans into employment across the UK Automotive industry.  Since the first Invictus Games in 2014, Mission Motorsport partners have helped 1700 veterans into work of whom over 150 were ex-servicemen and women categorized as wounded, injured or sick. By encouraging companies to develop their own mechanisms to access military talent through promoting positive business behaviours and reinforcing an Armed Forces friendly culture, veterans and spouses are able to thrive, realise their potential and promote positive change in others.

Taking the initiative at today’s launch were founding members of Mission Automotive, Jaguar Land Rover, DHL, Westway Nissan, Alcon and Bicester Motion. Key to the early appeal of the scheme is its ability to deliver the skills required to tackle the challenge of the automotive industry’s electrification. Covering not just vehicle design and manufacture, but also maintenance, repair and disposal as well as the implementation of the UK’s charging infrastructure, ex-forces personnel already possess a treasure trove of highly relevant skills in high-voltage technologies and systems.

By mapping military career groups to the qualifications required by the sector, Mission Automotive lets UK industry tap into a pool of unrealised talent, and deliver sustainable and relevant employment opportunities for service leavers, veterans and their partners. Backed by the MoD, industry groups led by SMMT, and with the full support of the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, it links HR best practices with a focus on the wider issue of corporate responsibility.

“It can be difficult for Service Leavers to translate how their military experience allows them to fit into civilian career,” explains James Cameron, Mission Motorsport CEO. “Mission Automotive helps organisations to recognize, foster and retain that talent through developing and implementing their own Armed Forces engagement strategies.  By promoting these positive business behaviours, the Mission Automotive initiative gives member companies the tools to unlock not only human potential, but also brand and corporate opportunities through embracing the Armed Forces Covenant. 

Working as part of the MoD’s Defence Recovery Capability, our partner companies have helped over 1700 veterans into employment since the first Invictus Games in 2014. Our service men and women are a national resource, and have much to offer to society beyond their military service.  By helping them and their families we boost British industry, and by association the communities in which they resettle.”

“My military experience has really helped my transition into the industry roles that I have held up to now, not only from a technical perspective, but the soft skills the Army taught me have really come in handy too”​ – Stuart Olden – Williams Advanced Engineering

Lorraine Heggassey, CEO, The Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex said:

“The skills that are acquired through a career in the Services have great utility in civilian life, and the work of the Royal Foundation has sought to shine a spotlight on those programs that help the transition process for service leavers and their families.   Mission Motorsport through sporting engagement, training provision that was established with Endeavour Fund help in 2015 and by developing close ties with industry have generated opportunities that have inspired and engaged the hard-to-reach and helped hundreds into relevant, sustainable new careers. 

“Supporting veterans and their partners with the next stage of their lives not only helps the individual become a valued member of a team again; it also allows organisations to build a dynamic workforce by harnessing a broad range of transferable skills that veterans have acquired during their military service.  It is particularly exciting to note the particular suitability of veterans and service leavers for emerging electrical roles in UK Automotive, and by building on the tremendous work in the sector, Mission Automotive is an exciting initiative that brings together industry, charity and government in order to benefit wider society.”

Lieutenant General Richard Nugee, Chief of Defence People, said:

“Our people are at the heart of defence, and we are proud of the very positive contribution they make to society once they leave the military, thanks to the knowledge and skills developed in service.

“84% of our service leavers are back in full time employment within six months, which is a testament to their unparalleled aptitude and value. The ground-breaking Mission Automotive initiative will build on this success and improve the opportunities for employers to access the vast potential of the ex-forces community.”

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

“Engineering is one of the range of skills which personnel hone in our armed forces and can be transferred to civilian life. Mission Automotive will be instrumental in ensuring that these exceptional skills are harnessed, bolstering this vital sector of our economy and providing high skilled jobs for the ex-forces community.”

Minister for Defence People and Veterans Tobias Ellwood said:

 “A career in the armed forces sets our people up with skills that last a lifetime, with their team work, courage and self-discipline making them an asset to any employer.

 “Under the Armed Forces Covenant, we all have a duty to support military personnel, both while they are serving and beyond, and I applaud Mission Automotive for their commitment to championing our people as they take the next step in their professional lives.”

About Mission Automotive

Mission Automotive is already working to place personnel with highly relevant skills in the UK automotive industry. Companies want to find out more can visit the website or contact [email protected] for more information, and an induction pack.

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