12 Nov Essex home builder Countryside signs Armed Forces Covenant with pledge to double Armed Forces employees in next five years
This Armistice Day, Countryside, one of the UK’s leading home builders specialising in placemaking and regeneration, has signed the Armed Forces Covenant with the Royal Engineers at Brompton Barracks, Chatham, demonstrating its support for the armed forces (AF) community.
As part of this commitment, Countryside aims to double the number of Countryside employees with military connections within the next five years. The Company will work to open avenues of employment from the AF to Countryside; initially, focusing on recruitment in three key business areas – Construction, Health & Safety, and Materials & Logistics.
The covenant was signed by Ian Sutcliffe, Group Chief Executive at Countryside as well as a number of our Armed Forces Champions – Countryside employees who have previously served in the military, who have pledged to support new recruits into the business. Following the signing, Countryside has been recognised with the Bronze award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, which encourages employers to support the armed forces community and inspire others to do the same.
The signing of the covenant took place at Brompton Barracks, home of The Royal School of Military Engineering (RSME). Countryside has partnered with the RSME in order to deliver its long-term goal of becoming the employer of choice within the property and housebuilding industry for those with AF connections. In addition, Countryside will be facilitating site visits for RSME students as part of their training programmes, as well as sponsoring the Royal Engineers Association Football Club and the annual Royal Engineers Excellence Awards.
Currently, Countryside employs 31 members of staff who are reservists or armed forces veterans, while a number of other team members have connections to the AF. David Hudson, an armed forces veteran, joined Countryside in 2007 following a successful 23-year career in the AF, where he rose through the ranks to Major. Since then, David has gained a number of construction and senior management qualifications and is now a Site Compliance Director at Countryside, having joined as Group Health & Safety Manager.
Ian Sutcliffe, Group Chief Executive, Countryside, said: “It was an honour to visit the men and women of the Royal Engineers and to sign the Armed Forces Covenant at Brompton Barracks on this poignant day with them. This signing marks the launch of our partnership with the Royal Engineers and commitment to supporting our veterans and those currently serving in the armed forces.
“Several of our current workforce served with the Corps of Royal Engineers; they have demonstrated world-class skills in areas such as problem solving, working under pressure, leadership and management – talents that are integral to a career in the housebuilding sector. With this in mind, we are excited to take the first steps towards becoming the employer of choice in our sector for those with military connections.”
Colonel Matt Quare MBE ADC, Corps Colonel Royal Engineers, said: “On behalf of the Ministry of Defence, Regimental Headquarters Royal Engineers are delighted to be countersigning the Armed Forces Covenant with Countryside. Receiving and being able to support our colleagues in industry is always very rewarding and, in our case, it’s particularly well received given the synergies between the company and our roles as Sappers within defence.”
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.