Page 42 - Farm labour in the UK
P. 42

 Evidence that the matching process works!
‘An individual who was in the process of leaving the army after a 22-year career driving, then commanding, and finally instructing others on main battle tanks really wanted to move into doing something with tractors. Tank crews must be able to carry out first-line maintenance and fault-finding on their machines and so he had a good understanding of such transferable matters as morning safety checks, engines as enclosed service packs and the difference between managing mechanical elements and computerised management systems. Working with a large manufacturing company, a partner organisation identified the opportunity to give him work experience in two areas: as a field service engineer and as an instructor on in-house training courses for such engineers. He thrived in the field engineer role and is now very happily and successfully employed in this role’.
“We should be looking for the right people in the right roles doing the right stuff, and we should, as an industry, be benevolent, open-handed and encouraging those people who are less employable in any sector to see our industry as a place where they can thrive and be useful to society” (Farming rep 3)
The lack of provision by the CTP is currently perceived to be one of the most significant barriers to recruitment of service leavers to agriculture, and has been referred to as a ‘blind spot’. Initiative operators, therefore, currently have to rely on alternative recruitment methods such as word of mouth, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn), formal and informal networking events, and recruitment fairs. Once initial interest has been sparked, initiatives then introduce potential employees to land-based roles through events such as insight days, or week-long information, experience or training programmes, some of which eventually lead to short or long-term work placements on farms.
While there appear to be no specific criteria in place as to who might be targeted for work, operators of initiatives look to gather as much information as possible about potential recruits according to their location, their family situation and how well they might match with an employer.
“Depending on where the service leaver is based or wants to be based, I can then start to connect up to farmers either through social media or farmers that have registered via the website, and see what opportunities are available. Or, likewise, if a company or a farm is looking to recruit someone from the armed forces, then I work the process backwards and see who is interested in maybe moving to a new part of the country, or is in that area looking for work” (Service leavers 1)
It is also crucial that the employing farmer gains some knowledge regarding service leavers before agreeing to employ them. By gaining an understanding of the process of transition from the armed forces to civilian life, employers can not only better appreciate their employee but potentially assist with the transition, such as with housing.
The success stories demonstrate the likelihood that a farmer who has had a positive experience with a service leaver is to be more open to employing others in the future. And according to one respondent, this is particularly important as:
“If an employer has already got someone from the armed forces then already you have a support network for someone new coming in” (Service leavers 1)

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