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A force for good: Broanmain supports veteran’s transition from military to manufacturing

Surrey-based injection moulding firm Broanmain Plastics has appointed an ex-military employee through a partnership with CareerForces, an organisation aimed at helping service personnel to re-enter the workplace. The venture forms part of Broanmain’s strategic plan to develop a more diverse workforce from shop floor to boardroom by investing in skillset development and employee wellbeing.

Since March 2020, ex-Air Force SNCO Tom has been working full-time as an operator at the company’s Dorking site, assisting the finishing team with post-moulding assembly and printing. Andy Howe – who launched CareerForces last year after serving four decades in the British Army and Ministry of Defence – explains why his clients are ideal employees for the private sector: “A majority of candidates are competitive, hard-working and strong team players, having been trained to deliver in the most demanding of circumstances.”

However, the transition from military to manufacturing isn’t without its challenges. Alongside supporting the NHS charities, Combat Stress, H4HV and the On Course Foundation, CareerForces was launched to help veterans who have suffered from PTSD or physical injuries while on duty. This is where Andy’s role goes beyond that of a regular recruitment agent, serving as a through-life contact for his candidates. By collaborating with companies such as Broanmain to offer ongoing support, clients gain the confidence they need to overcome workplace challenges and take significant steps towards recovery.

Complementing the CareerForce ethos, Broanmain has gone above and beyond to facilitate Tom’s individual requirements. In addition to environmental adjustments, the firm has introduced a flexible working schedule with personalised working hours. Emphasising the importance of these small but significant changes, Broanmain’s Managing Director Jo Davis says: “We’re more than happy to accommodate different working hours. Not only is it important to give something back to those who have done so much for us, Tom is a really great addition to the team. He’s got an understanding of what’s expected of team behaviours and is really process-driven, traits that are invaluable in a manufacturing environment.” Furthermore, monthly meetings with Broanmain’s line manager are held to provide additional support and allow Tom to voice feedback about his role within the technical moulding company.

Commenting on his transition in the plastics manufacturing workplace, Tom said: “Broanmain Plastics is a forward-thinking and inclusive business, and I am exceptionally grateful to both the company and CareerForces. I have been made to feel very welcome by everyone and to be part of the team. Being part of a business with people who understand the challenges some veterans face has enabled me to settle quickly into this new and exciting role that provides products to a wide-ranging client base.”

As for the future, Broanmain and CareerForces take a ‘one-day-at-a-time’ approach to protect the employee’s physical and psychological health. “The next step for Tom is to survive in the real world,” says Andy. “What’s important is the fact that he gets up, goes to work and is involved with a team.” Jo agrees, adding: “I’m very keen that we get the best out of Tom and if that takes five weeks or five years it doesn’t matter. What we want is for him to feel happy and secure at work.”

In addition to meeting CSR policy targets, Jo explains how partnering with organisations such as CareerForces helps to address the skills shortages in plastic moulding. “Unfortunately the pool of talent for plastics processing in the UK is quite sparse, with limited higher education opportunities. However, as a company we seek to change the tide – as part of our workforce planning we firmly believe in offering opportunities to all who express an interest, placing a special focus on their wellness and wellbeing.”