In 2015, we chose SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, as our corporate charity partner and made a commitment to raise £250,000 over the five year period of our contracts. Thanks to the generosity of our staff and supply chain, we’ve already raised almost £170,000 which is being used to support SSAFA’s mentoring service which offers transitional mentoring to wounded, injured and sick Service personnel in the form of consistent emotional support and guidance for a minimum of one year.
So far, our support to the scheme has mainly been financial, with donations being raised by our people taking part in charity events, marathons and raffles. However, this year we’ve been given the opportunity to support SSAFA in a different way and a number of our Senior Management Team (SMT) will be embarking on a journey to become a SSAFA mentor themselves.
SSAFA mentors are carefully selected through a robust three stage process and Michael Burgess, our HR Director, is the first of our SMT members to have taken the step to becoming a mentor. Michael attended a residential and bespoke, specialist training course in December that focused on all aspects of mentoring skills such as listening, verbal and non-verbal communication, empathy and trust building in order to have the knowledge, skills and attitude to be able to mentor Service leavers. One particular aspect of the course was learning about the role of the Army Capability and RAF personnel Recovery Unit and Michael was able to hear from those who had first-hand experience of leaving the Forces due to injury or illness and understand the uncertainty and anxiety it can cause them and their families.
Michael said “I particularly enjoyed learning more about the military culture, understanding challenging behaviours, mental health and practising listening and questioning skills with fellow delegate mentors.
As a business we are keen to draw on the knowledge and skills of ex-service personnel, military spouses, reservists and cadet instructors to improve the service we provide. However, being able to give something back on a personal basis is also really important, proven by our amazing staff and supply chain’s commitment to SSAFA in terms of time and money.
When transition is dictated by medical discharge due to injury or illness, many leavers have not had the chance to prepare for life outside the military and trained SSAFA mentors can help in the move to Civvy Street. I hope that I’ll be able to offer them practical advice on things such as employment or accommodation and with a listening ear, gently help them to make the right decisions for them and their families. The next step for me will be to work with a SSAFA coordinator to establish contact with a mentee.”
James Davis, SSAFA’s Corporate Partnerships Manager, is also keen to become a mentor and attended the course with Michael. James said “I’m delighted that CarillionAmey have taken up the challenge of becoming mentors. We have a partnership with a purpose, and their support of our mentoring programme has made a huge difference to wounded, injured and sick personnel struggling with transition and now Michael is leading the way to deepen that support beyond fundraising to become a mentor himself. Having a personal interest in mentoring myself, I am personally and professionally delighted in Michael’s support and look forward to hopefully welcoming more CarillionAmey staff to the programme.”