BT Group extends its commitment to the U.K. Armed Forces Covenant, as one of the largest employers of Reservists and former military personnel
by Clive Selley, CEO Openreach and Executive Sponsor, BT Group Armed Forces Network
We are thrilled that BT Group has re-signed the U.K. Armed Forces Covenant, reaffirming our commitment to our former Armed Forces colleagues, our serving Reservists and their families. We first signed the Covenant in 2013 and we had no hesitation in extending our commitment for another five years from 2022. The Armed Forces Covenant is a commitment from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly and not disadvantaged in their day-to-day lives because of their military service.
At BT Group (which includes BT, Openreach, EE and PlusNet), we are one of the largest employers of both serving Reservists and former Armed Forces personnel with thousands of ex-military colleagues working across our business, and the number grows each year. These colleagues bring a unique set of skills and experience, which makes them ideal recruits for our business.
BT Group’s association with the Armed Forces is not new, it dates back to the Crimean War when The Electric Telegraph Company provided communications. This continued into the First World War where the Post Office Rifles and the Signals Service contributed a total of over 80 thousand troops to the war effort. The General Post Office, which BT was formerly part of, was instrumental in the creation of the Colossus code-breaking computer at Bletchley Park.
Fast forward to today, our business is still at the forefront of innovation and the link with the Armed Forces is as strong as ever, including our connection with the Royal Corps of Signals (81 Squadron), which has members from across Openreach and BT. In re-signing the Covenant today, as one of the first Gold members of the MOD’s Employer Relations Scheme, we’ve committed to a series of additional actions we’ll take to support the many former Armed Forces colleagues we employ and their families over the next five years.
- We will offer support to members from our Armed Forces community across BT Group, including offering peer to peer support mental health training to all members of our Armed Forces Network.
- Where possible, we will support spouses and partners of serving military personnel who have been redeployed to different areas of the UK.
- We will formally recognise achievements from members of our Forces Community in service-related achievements, including continuing to support our UK employees who choose to be members of the Reserve forces, by granting up to two weeks’ special paid leave for annual training, and accommodating deployment consistent with our existing policies.
Through our Armed Forces Network, which is one of our people networks led by colleagues, we are able to bring colleagues together to share experiences and enable this peer-led support network to thrive.
We are immensely proud of all our colleagues who keep our customers connected, and we are delighted that our historic and unique relationship with the Armed Forces continues. Our ambition is that yet more former Armed Forces personal will join our businesses.