corporate responsibility

Creating new career opportunities for veterans 


Our commitment to making the world work better includes helping people with limited opportunities prepare for and pursue careers. Our JointForces@ISS programme in the UK supports armed forces veterans into the job market, helping bring their unique skills to a range of companies, including ISS.

It can be hard to appreciate just how daunting the transition from armed forces to civilian life can be. Most armed forces veterans have tremendous skills that are directly transferable to the world of work. But after being outside of civilian life for so long, navigating the job market is a huge challenge, as ISS’s Ray Cooksley, a British army veteran, explains.

“Many people enter the forces at 16 and leave 18-22 years later, having worked in no other environment. The transition can be very disorienting and can leave you feeling lost and isolated. Often, you don’t know what jobs are out there or how to apply. You may not even know what you’d be good at or how your skills will transfer.”

A veteran is a fantastic asset to an employer.

Ray Cooksley, IMS and Quality Manager, ISS UK

Bringing military skills to civilian jobs

It’s this challenge that ISS UK’s JointForces@ISS programme is designed to overcome. Alongside his day job as IMS and Quality Manager at ISS UK, Ray runs the programme with a team of ISS volunteers. He’s keen to stress that JointForces@ISS isn’t about getting veterans into jobs at ISS; it’s about ISS helping veterans get into work, full-stop.

“A veteran is a fantastic asset to an employer,” he says. “Military personnel develop strong leadership and teamworking skills. They’re calm under pressure and very good at finding solutions. They also bring a perspective and training that other employees just don’t have. Of course, we’d love to have all the veterans we help join ISS – but the programme is about matching veterans to a job, whether that’s at ISS, with one of our customers, or somewhere else.”

The best version of yourself

The concept of the programme is fairly simple and covers five stages, from an open day to finding meaningful work. At the open days – either at an ISS office or online – veterans can learn about the programme and the company. If they’re interested in participating, they’re assigned a mentor, who guides them through the job-hunting process, being part of a mock interview, building CV’s and converting qualifications to identifying opportunities and writing applications.

So far, it’s proven extremely successful. The programme was established in 2017. To date, 391 veterans or their spouses have entered the programme. 322 of those have begun new careers, either at ISS or at one of our customers.

And it’s not just the veterans who benefit. ISS staff who volunteer as mentors also find the programme incredibly valuable.

“I get a huge sense of enjoyment and fulfilment from helping someone else,” says Zoe Moulson, an ISS UK Account Director and JointForces@ISS mentor. ““Being a mentor makes me want to be the best version of myself. And when I give advice or challenge my mentees, it inspires me to take on new challenges myself.”

Supporting diversity and social mobility

The JointForces@ISS programme is just one of a number of our initiatives across the globe that help vulnerable groups prepare for and find work so they can improve their livelihoods. Ray and the team in the UK are inspired by this global approach. “We want to bring the programme to as many countries as we can, so we can support veterans of every nationality across the world.”  

JointForces@ISS won the Social Value category at the 2021 IWFM Impact Awards.

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