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Minister for the Armed Forces praises the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme for signing the Armed Forces Covenant

2nd October 2020

Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey MP, has praised the organisations responsible for restoring the Houses of Parliament for signing the Armed Forces Covenant and committing to become a forces friendly employer.

Veterans and serving armed forces personnel, as well as their families, who work on the restoration programme will get extra support.

Many of those who serve or have served have a specific set of skills that could be relevant to the work of the UK’s largest and most complex heritage restoration programme – so the restoration team will also support these people to join where possible.

The Restoration and Renewal programme has signed the Covenant as part of a series of commitments to equality, diversity and inclusion during National Inclusion Week, as part of their commitment to support social mobility throughout the programme.

Both the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority of the Restoration and Renewal programme will actively seek to recruit and support veterans and reservists, by providing work experience placements for those transitioning out of the Armed Forces and attending open days and careers fairs targeted towards the armed forces community.

James Heappey MP, Minister for the Armed Forces said:

"I would like to congratulate the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Programme on signing the Military Covenant. The Palace of Westminster is the building in which the most important decisions in our nation are taken. Many of those decisions over the history of the Palace of Westminster have affected our armed forces, sending them off to all corners of the globe in the service of our nation, and we've asked through those decisions our armed forces to take real risk and accept potentially the ultimate sacrifice in order to maintain our freedom and protect the UK's interests. So what better testimony to our armed forces than those charged with refurbishing, restoring and renewing this amazing building to acknowledge the importance of nation's armed forces, to support those who serve, to support those who work for you in our reserves, to offer support to local cadet units and most importantly of all to offer employment to our amazing veterans. Thank you for signing the Armed Forces Covenant. It means a lot to those who serve and to those who have served, and I have no doubt it will encourage many others to serve in the future."

David Goldstone, CEO of the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Delivery Body said:

“Our mission as the largest and most complex heritage project in the UK is to save the Palace of Westminster for future generations. In order to meet the demands of such a project it is important that we recruit and retain the best team in the industry including the expertise from veterans and serving armed forces personnel. I am proud that we are already employing a number of veterans, and pleased that we have signed the Armed Forces Covenant today.”

Sarah Johnson, CEO of the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal Sponsor Body said:

“When the organisations driving this restoration were established earlier this year, we committed to being welcoming and inclusive to all colleagues. I am delighted that this National Inclusion Week we have signed the Armed Forces Covenant to support veterans, serving armed forces personnel and their families. This is an important step in making sure we can draw on their invaluable expertise, and supports our commitment to social mobility."

Greg Harris, R&R Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Manager and veteran said:

“As a veteran I worried that my skill set was limited and perhaps irrelevant to society. However, since joining the Restoration and Renewal programme I have been fully supported in my new role, welcomed by everyone. Perhaps most encouragingly, I have found that my input is highly valued due to my diverse experiences which gives me a different outlook on situations.”

The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge that organisations and communities can take to ensure that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.

By signing the Armed Forces Covenant the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal has pledged to:

  • Promote that the organisation is armed forces friendly.

  • Seek to support the employment of veterans of all ages with the Career Transition Partnership service.

  • Strive to support the employment of Service spouses and partners.

  • Endeavour to offer a degree of flexibility in granting leave for Service spouses and partners before, during and after a partner’s deployment.

  • Seek to support employees who choose to be members of local cadet units where possible.

  • Aim to actively participate in Armed Forces Day.

  • Offer 5 days paid leave to Reservists to assist them to attend training and operations.

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