Former Corporal Mark Coulthard from Castleton is the first person to get a new job through Rochdale Borough Council’s Military Covenant Scheme. Ex armed forces personnel who have been out of work for more than six months and meet the person spec are now guaranteed a job interview at the council.
Mark left the Army last year after serving in the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment for over 20 years and completed tours across the world including Afghanistan, Iraq and Kosovo. He has just started his role as a Support Worker in the council’s homelessness service. The service provides advice and practical support with housing and finance problems.
“Getting an interview and the chance to present yourself face to face, rather than just on an application form, can be difficult. It has been tough being unemployed for the last year, so this is a great opportunity that I am very excited about. The skills I developed in the Armed Forces will be useful in the role which will involve helping vulnerable people access vital support when they need it most. In many ways it’s my ideal job, I like to help people and want to make a difference.”
The guaranteed interview scheme, one of the first of its kind in the UK is aimed at strengthening the council’s commitment to the Armed Forces said Council Leader Colin Lambert:
“It’s one of many ways we are helping to assist soldiers and their families where we can. We take our commitment to the Armed Forces community very seriously and realise what a tremendous asset they can be to organisations like ours and many others. We are pleased to be able to offer guaranteed interviews for our vacancies; a move I hope is making it easier for people to make the employment choices that are right for them.”
Last week Council Leader Colin Lambert and Deputy Chief Executive Linda Fisher addressed a Ministry of Defence conference in London where the council’s efforts were hailed as examples of good practice.
Mrs Fisher said:
“Soldiers deserve our respect and appreciation for the sacrifices they make. We are continuing to put words into actions, our Armed Forces personnel have many transferable skills and I wish Mark well in his new role at the council.”
Cllr Alan McCarthy, Lead Member for the Armed Forces said:
“Rochdale was one of the first councils in the country to sign the Armed Forces Community Covenant a year ago, aimed at encouraging local communities to support services that promote and encourage activities that help integrate Armed Forces personnel back into civilian life. It also encourages authorities to work more closely to support those in service and their families, ensuring there is no disadvantage associated with serving in the Armed Forces. Our web pages received national praise from the Royal British Legion and were the first of their kind in the country … now other Councils are following suit. Over a thousand soldiers have already benefitted from free access to Link 4 Life Leisure facilities, via a pilot scheme launched borough wide this summer.”
Current or ex-Armed Forces personnel can register for help by visiting www.rochdale.gov.uk/armedforces. If they encounter difficulties when accessing services from the council or its partners they can email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone their dedicated Armed Forces number 01706 926989.
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