5 years ago GoodPeople created a platform to provide contacts, support and job opportunities to men and women leaving the Armed Forces, in order to help them make a successful transition to rewarding civilian careers.
Powered by next generation peer to peer technology, we successfully scaled this to become a well established and growing online careers network for the ex-Forces community, known as Project Fortis.
BT were a founding sponsor – the platform is a way of giving BT and Openreach ex-Forces employees an opportunity to provide 1:1 career support to service leavers and veterans and attracting talent to the organisation.
GoodPeople also worked very closely with Health Education England and 10 NHS trusts across London and the South East to support their Step Into Health military transition programme – mapping skills and creating new pathways from military roles to various specialisms and under resourced functions across the NHS with the support of mentors.
Now 5 years on, Project Fortis is a thriving network of Armed Forces supporters in industry, representing over 30 top UK employers across a wide range of sectors. The organisations involved recognise the enormous value of the talent on offer by engaging service leavers. They also understand some of the challenges faced when adapting to civilian life and a very different working environment after leaving the Armed Forces.
Why Project Fortis
We found a growing number of people – both ex-Forces and civilians - who wanted to give support to the Armed Forces community. There just weren’t ways for individuals to make a difference in direct and practical ways other than through charitable causes and local initiatives.
Equally service leavers and veterans often lacked contacts in the civilian world to help them navigate the civilian jobs market, and apply their skills and experience.
Richard Tyrie – Founder of GoodPeople says:
"Now that most of us walk around with Smart Phones, we wanted to make it easier to connect people that need advice with others that are keen to give it"
“Another important aspect of the project is to use our community to provide Forces leavers with access to work placements and unique job opportunities. Employers now fill the majority of job openings without advertising, with up to 70% of jobs being filled through informal networks. Knowing what jobs are coming up, and getting ‘introduced’ to an organisation or hiring manager by an insider can often give you the edge.
With the advent of social and business networks, most organisations’ approach to recruitment is changing quickly, so you need to keep abreast of these changes. It’s not as simple as reading the local recruitment ads anymore. Finding a great job is getting trickier for everyone. We felt that many service leavers were at a disadvantage before they’d even started their transition – so we wanted to fix this and level the playing field by connecting people into organisations - giving them more of a chance to showcase their skills and indentify for themselves what career they might want to pursue next.”
So what is Project Fortis
At the heart of Project Fortis is the website: www.projectfortis.co.uk - the platform connects service leavers and veterans to ‘Buddies’ from the business community who have pledged to offer personal support. Sometimes people seek support and work placements in the initial decision making phase before the resettlement process begins; the help on offer can extend all the way through transition to civilian life; or veterans come to Project Fortis for career guidance when seeking a more fulfilling civilian job role than the one they chose when they first came out. Regrettably quite often veterans report feeling that they are under-employed after leaving the military.
How does it work?
Richard explains that:
“To access career advice and 1:1 support you just need to visit the Project Fortis website and create a simple profile. You tell us about your Forces background, location, and the industries you want to explore, then we put you in contact with the right people. Our focus is to connect you with people who will understand your situation and are keen to help you succeed. They may well have already done some of the ‘heavy lifting’ having successfully transitioned themselves – they can tell you what worked for them and crucially, what didn’t!
There’s a growing number of people out there from various industries that are willing to give you the advice you need. We already have a few thousand members, and the community is constantly growing as word spreads about some of the excellent employment outcomes.
It’s still a relatively new approach to finding work, and people are using Project Fortis in different ways. Some have a specific organisation or job role in mind, and just want to connect with, say, telecoms experts because they know that’s where they want to end up. Most of the time, people are trying to work out which sectors and roles they’re suited to, so they connect with several different people at a time to get inspiration and number of different opinions. If only we’d all had this type of careers support!
We find that people often need some very practical assistance with CV writing and preparation for interviews. And increasingly, moral support is something that people tell us they value greatly. Going through the recruitment process is a challenge for anyone; someone that can open up doors, and give the right amount of support and challenge, can prove invaluable in securing the job you want.
84% of people we’ve worked with tell us the relationships they’ve formed through Project Fortis have had a significant impact on their job prospects, which is hugely satisfying for us. And we’re working continually to get more and more ambassadors on board to broaden the range of employment opportunities.”
We would like to hear from any organisations that want to support the Armed Forces community and benefit from the extraordinary talents of their personnel.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org