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In this final episode we’re taking a look at where we are with veterans’ employment, and where veterans sit in the post-COVID world.  Kate Silverton is joined by David Richmond CBE, Independent Veterans Advisor to UK Government at Cabinet Office, Ray Lock CBE, Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, Laura Blair, Director of Employment from the Officer’s Association, and Chris Recchia, veteran and Partner at Deloitte, one of the founders of Veterans Work.

Thank you to Leo Docherty MP, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, for introducing the episode.

Laura Blair

Director of Employment The Officers’ Association and veteran

Laura is a former British Army Officer and served for 12 years in various roles including Head of Recruitment Operations and Head of HR Strategy & Operations (Airborne Task Force). Since leaving the Army as a Major in 2012, Laura continued to contribute to the military community as COO for The Forces Employment Charity (RFEA).

She has a passion for education and development, operating as Head of Client Management for global learning brand Maynard Leigh. She is also a qualified teacher, becoming Director of Learning and Assistant Principal at Coopers School Chislehurst.

Laura’s varied career in the military, education and third sector gives her a unique perspective on the challenges facing fellow officers as they transition from military to civilian employment.

Chris Recchia

Partner Deloitte and veteran

Chris is a Partner within Deloitte’s Risk Advisory practice in the UK with over 15 years’ experience leading global assurance and advisory engagements across clients within the Financial Services sector. His relationships span across all levels – the board, executive management, 1st and 2nd lines of defence, internal audit, external audit, and the wider extended enterprise.

He has detailed understanding of technology risk management, business processes and IT risk and control environments, with additional specialism in the execution and delivery of the technology components of large scale regulatory investigations.

Chris also is a member of the Risk Advisory Leadership Team in the UK; partner in charge of talent for Risk Advisory; a member of the Deloitte UK CEO Executive Advisory Group; and also the partner in charge of the Deloitte Military Transition and Talent Programme, which helps service leaver’s transition from the military into UK PLC.  He is one of the founders of the Veterans Work campaign.

David Richmond CBE

UK Government’s independent Veterans Advisor and veteran

After 26 years of British Army service, David received a medical discharge for serious battle wounds that required four years of surgery and rehabilitation. He went on to serve as Recovery Director at Help for Heroes, overseeing services for over 18,000 wounded and sick servicemen, veterans and families.  

David was awarded the rank of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for his leadership, including serving as Chairman of the Contact Group, which brings together UK military charities and governmental agencies engaged in delivering mental health support to veterans and their families a Partnership Board Member of the UK Invictus Games, a UK Invictus Team Director and a member of the Defence Recovery Board. He has advised other nations on creating or developing their own recovery services for wounded and injured servicemen, veterans and families, including working with the United States Air Force and supporting NATO in advising the Ukraine.  

David was the founding Director of the Office for Veterans Affairs before moving on to become the UK Government’s independent Veterans Advisor

Ray Lock CBE

Chief Executive Forces in Mind Trust and veteran

Air Vice-Marshal Ray Lock CBE is military charity Stoll’s Chair of Trustees.  A retired Royal Air Force pilot and commander, Ray has a service history spanning 35 years.  As well as flying fighter jets in the first Gulf War, he coordinated the establishment of the Air Field in Basra, Iraq for operational use in the second Gulf War.  Ray was appointed head of the RAF station at Lyneham and was then in charge of the Joint Services Command and Staff College, the training establishment for senior officers across the tri-services.  

Ray is Chief Executive of the Forces in Mind Trust, a Trust established to influence and underpin policy making and service delivery in order to enable ex-Service personnel and their families to lead successful and sustainable civilian lives.  He is one of the founders of the Veterans Work campaign.

More from the podcast series

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