Ex-military targeted for electric auto industry careers


The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, pledging its commitment to advocate for recruitment and retention of ex-military personnel across the automotive industry.

The pledge commits SMMT to promoting best practice, fostering a culture and ethos of inclusivity, and making the commercial case for automotive companies to also sign up to the Covenant.

The signing reaffirms the work done through Mission Automotive, an initiative dedicated to placing ex-servicemen and women in jobs across the sector, set up in partnership with the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the forces’ charity Mission Motorsport, and supported by the Ministry of Defence.

Making the process as easy as possible, SMMT has helped members create tailored engagement programs, guiding and aligning their interactions with the Armed Forces community across brand, corporate and HR areas to support their own business strategies. Some 55 SMMT member companies already work with the armed forces community, employing veterans, service leavers and their spouses across all parts of the automotive supply chain, from cars to commercial vehicles, across design, manufacturing, repair and through to retail and logistics.

As the UK looks to secure battery gigafactory investment ahead of the 2030 phase-out of sale for new conventional petrol and diesel engine cars and vans, the automotive industry hopes to help fill the skills gap with service leavers, offering opportunities for development and mapped-out career paths which translate military skills into qualifications required by the sector. Many service personnel are uniquely suited to this industry, with experience of high voltage equipment and other technologies. Veterans, therefore, are potentially some of the best candidates for roles working in electric and hydrogen vehicle manufacturing and engineering.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: "Upskilling our industry will be crucial as new technologies transform the sector, and ex-military personnel are an often-untapped talent pool that can provide these in-demand skills. We are incredibly proud to support Mission Motorsport in helping service leavers embark on new career paths and signing the Armed Forces Covenant cements SMMT’s long-term commitment to this cause. As events of the past year have shown, the veteran community is a real asset to automotive businesses and will be central not just to a successful and sustainable recovery, but to our future success as we transition to a connected, autonomous and zero emissions future."

Alex Fogg, former Royal Engineer and Arrival Logistics Store Manager said: "With the help of Mission Motorsport and the Mission Automotive initiative I have a career that has not only changed my life but is also incredibly therapeutic for me. I couldn’t be happier."