The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is the first national rural trade association to become a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant. Making the commitment at the Royal Welsh Agricultural Show today, 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, that they will be treated with fairness and respect.
The CLA is now one of over 10,000 signatories of the Covenant in the UK, over 500 of whom are in Wales.
Sarah Hendry says, “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 comments, “Servicemen and women share high values, a wide capability range and a 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 owing to restrictions confronted by overseas workers. Sarah Hendry adds, “The ex-military community offers opportunity which benefits the rural economy which provides a warm welcome and secure, long-term jobs for former service-people.”
The CLA is making three pledges. First to encourage CLA member businesses to employ veterans of the armed forces. Second to share information to facilitate our members to link-up 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 wellbeing of military veterans when they leave the forces for a new life.
Brigadier Nick Thomas says, “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.”
- A total of 10,437 companies/organisations have signed the AFC in the UK
- 556 companies/organisations have signed the AFC in Wales;
- 34 companies/organisations are categorised as agriculture in the UK;
- 27 organisations listed as trade bodies in the UK