British gas owner Centrica is looking to recruit 500 former service men and women for a “net zero battalion” by the end of 2023.
The energy company has asked Matero, led by former Army Colonel Stuart Tootal, to assist in building a programme that attracts those leaving the forces.
The first 12 of the ex-forces gas engineers have begun their 42-week training, and this sample will provide a template for an upscaled campaign later in the year.
The new recruits comprise Alex Smith, 33, a former sniper with the Northern Irish based 2 Rifles.
The veteran was medically discharged in 2013 following a tour in Afghanistan where he was involved in two IED explosions which damaged his hearing and eyesight.
This experience left Smith suffering from PTSD, however, the former sniper sees this programme as a route back to normality.
He said: “I have always wanted a trade and this offer was amazing. It’s a skill to be proud of which will give me stability in my working life to provide for my family and it opens up a lot of routes for progression into green energy.”
The ex-forces programme will be running in-house, following the template set by Matero. The first emphasis of which is recruiting and training gas engineers.
The company aims to attract women to the course to encourage diversity within the Centrica workforce. However, with women representing as little as 12% of the armed forces, Centrica is encouraging military spouses to apply for roles within the organisation as well.
Centrica’s goal is to have women working in 50% of STEM-orientated careers within its organisation while striving for net-zero by 2045.
New career pathways
Centrica research found that post lockdown half of its trainees and apprentices are over the age of 25. The energy company say that this initiative will provide new career pathways for applicants.
National secretary of the GMB Union, Andy Prendergast, said: “The GMB are pleased to work with Centrica in taking the lead by actively recruiting former service personnel into the company. This programme offers practical training, leading to good, secure careers which can really help to ease the transition back into civilian life. As someone who has had family members serve in the forces, I know that this can be a difficult process but by having employers willing to work with veterans to get good jobs, it can make a really positive difference.”
The energy company which also owns Spirit Energy will work with military charities that support former service men and women’s transition to civilian life as well as service and regimental associations and ex-forces networks.
The veterans minister Leo Docherty supports the new Centrica initiative saying: “This is a fantastic initiative that will provide support to our service leavers and veterans by helping them find employment once they leave the military.
“I am delighted with the opportunity this provides to those who have served our nation’s military and recognises that the military gives you skills for life.”