CLA salutes military veterans and pledges to help ex-personnel secure long-term jobs in the rural economy

CLA the first national rural trade association to become a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant
Victoria Vyvyan, Brigadier Nick Thomas and Sarah Hendry at the covenant signing.JPG
CLA Deputy President Victoria Vyvyan, Brigadier Nick Thomas and CLA Director General Sarah Hendry at the covenant signing.

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) has become the first national rural trade association to become a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant today (25 July).

Making the commitment at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show, the CLA’s Director General, Sarah Hendry CBE, was joined by Brigadier Nick Thomas CBE. The covenant is a promise to show concrete support to those who have served in the armed forces and help ensure they will be treated with fairness and respect in society.

The CLA is now one of more than 10,000 signatories of the Covenant in the UK.

Sarah Hendry said: “As the organisation that represents thousands of rural businesses in England and Wales, our membership includes many of the largest employers in the rural economy – and potential opportunities for former service-personnel in all parts of the English and Welsh countryside.

“Many of our members have a special bond with the armed forces, are former armed forces personnel, and many already employ military veterans. I am proud not only to support the principles of the covenant, but of the opportunity to make a difference by creating openings in the dynamic rural business community which needs talented, versatile, committed and dependable employees.”

Former CLA President and army officer Ross Murray, who manages a highly diversified rural business in Monmouthshire, said: “Servicemen and women share high values, a wide capability range and the perfect blend of an ability to work in a team and also independently. The rural environment is often a second-home to these highly versatile employees.”

The CLA’s pledge comes as many rural businesses are facing a challenge in recruitment in a wide range of roles owing to a shortage of domestic labour and restrictions around overseas workers. Sarah Hendry added: “The ex-military community can provide many benefits to the rural economy, which in turn can offer a warm welcome and secure, long-term jobs.”

Three parts to the pledge

The CLA is making three pledges. The first is to encourage CLA member businesses to employ veterans of the armed forces. Second to share information to facilitate our members to work with the military community, and finally to link-up with national and regional frameworks that currently support military veterans to improve the physical and mental well-being of veterans when they leave the forces for a new life.

Brigadier Nick Thomas said: “The CLA represents a major body within the rural business community. The organisation’s commitment represents another step in creating a community of signatories, which covers the broadest possible range of sectors and the widest possible geography.

“Former military personnel come with discipline, commitment and a wide range of transferable skills. They are structured, devoted to working independently within successful teams. A special competence is their unique capacity to size-up the health and safety implications of what they do, and also to understand and mitigate the impact of their work on the environment.”

More on the CLA's support

The CLA has set up a Veterans Initiative campaign page with more resources - visit it here.

If you would like to become directly involved, please contact your regional CLA member of staff:

  • Charles Trotman, London and the South East (
  • Sarah Fern, South West (
  • Chris Farr, South West (
  • Andrew Marriott, East (
  • John Greenshields, Midlands (
  • Charles de Winton, Wales (
  • Kate Bankier, North (
Sarah Hendry at the Royal Welsh Show.JPG
Sarah Hendry at the Royal Welsh Show.