Winner: Jointforces, ISS Facility Services UK
Sponsored by: 14forty
JointForces@ISS supports people who have left the armed forces to transition into sustainable employment. With 15,000 people transitioning every year, JointForces@ISS delivers value to society by reskilling and upskilling a large community who face significant barriers into employment.
In the three years since launch, 572 people have been through JointForces@ISS and moved into employment. This was achieved by 76 mentors who on average spent one hour a week with their mentee over six months; a total of 18,304 hours volunteered.
Not only has there been a huge impact on the beneficiaries but the programme has also incurred business benefits through the savings made, by significantly reducing the cost of recruitment agency fees. One mentee alone, currently employed by ISS UK and a HSEQ Business Partner, effectively saved ISS £15,000 in recruitment fees.
One JointForces@ISS intern said: “The JointForces@ISS team were fantastic from their first phone call, meeting and setting up my work placement. The whole process ran like a well-oiled machine. This made the work placement even easier to take part in and I felt extremely comfortable whilst here.”
The project managers are most proud, however, of the value JointForces@ISS has added to society. Research into the employability programme for forces leavers run by the Poppy Factory found that for every £1 invested, the social value returned was £4.80. If one valued the hours volunteered for JointForces@ISS based on the Social Value Portal TOMs Framework and applied the Poppy Factory findings, the project estimates that JointForces@ISS has generated a social return on investment of £8,434,583.20.
Best practice learning point
The first learning was the importance of fostering relationships with external organisations who helped build JointForces@ISS with their resources and expertise. The project was fortunate that it developed good relationships with CTP (Career Transition Partnership), Veterans Aid and the Poppy Factory from an early stage and they have acted as helpful ‘critical friends’ throughout.
The second learning is to get the governance right. It was crucial to have a central team to ‘own’ JointForces@ISS with clear roles and responsibilities from the outset that was able to make decisions quickly. From there the project learnt it was vital to establish a cohort of Lead Mentors from each part of the business who would then ‘own’ and advocate JointForces@ISS in their sector, as the central team could only ever do so much on our own.
The final learning is that what gets measured gets managed. The project managers were very conscious that they wanted to give the mentors the freedom to build their own relationships with their mentees, but in return they needed to provide monthly updates to the central team. In so doing, the project was able to get a much clearer idea of how the programme was progressing and the impact it was having with individuals leaving the Forces. These learnings were regularly shared with other organisations that support Forces Leavers through the membership of the MoD networks for Corporate Covenant Award Holders.
“In everything we do, the priority for ISS is people. As such, the need for JointForces@ISS applicants to access job opportunities is prioritised over the business benefit of recruiting people into ISS; therefore we recognise the importance of unlocking opportunities outside of our business.”