Heading back to ‘civvy street’ after a life in the military is famously challenging. The Royal British Legion’s research reflects this, reporting that UK veterans are nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as civilians (11% vs 6%). Adjustment is understandably difficult after the structure and culture of a career in the Armed Forces, but there are a multitude of efforts being made to counteract the challenges. Joining the work of charities such as Help For Heroes, the Royal British Legion and Hire A Hero, private companies are increasingly realising the value and advantages of recruiting ex-military, with the most recent being leading fine art shipper Gander & White Shipping, which is launching a new recruitment campaign, Hiring Heroes.
With Hiring Heroes, Gander & White is targeting British military veterans for a career in the fine art logistics industry. It is thought to be the first company in the sector to undertake a campaign of this kind. From the official launch of the initiative on Armistice Day, 11th November, the company will promote career opportunities through various military employment platforms, including British Forces Resettlement Services and Salute My Job. In addition, it will participate in veteran career events across the UK to illustrate the wide array of career options available. As part of this campaign, it has become an accredited member of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme and an official participant in the Career Transition Partnership, the Ministry of Defence’s resettlement program.
Alexander Bradford, Global Business Development & Sustainability Manager at Gander & White, and a descendant of the company’s founders, emphasised the alignment of military veterans’ values, such as respect, integrity, service, and excellence, with the core principles of the company and said: “A career with Gander & White provides unique insight into the global art world as we are custodians for some of the world’s most important cultural treasures and trusted partners for the storage and transportation of valuable and culturally significant objects”.
Founded in 1933, Gander & White has its own rich military history. The company’s founders, Walter Gander and Frank White, met while serving in the RAF. Andrée Griotteray White, Frank’s wife and later a director of Gander & White, played a significant role in the French Resistance during World War II (her war experience has been published in a book entitled Andrée’s War, written by her daughter and a director of Gander & White, Francelle Bradford White). Recognising its strong military connection, Gander & White has committed to supporting the UK Armed Forces and the military veterans’ charity, Help For Heroes, throughout the running of this campaign.
Heather Powell, Head of Community, Events, and Trading at Help for Heroes, expressed appreciation for Gander & White’s campaign, saying: “We welcome Gander & White’s commitment to supporting recruitment of UK veterans. This is just the latest example of our ongoing desire to engage in community initiatives that benefit both veterans and the local population”.
The transition from military service to civilian life can be a formidable challenge, so the increasing inclination of private companies like Gander & White Shipping to employ ex-military personnel is a positive step. By recognising the immense value veterans bring, Hiring Heroes paves the way for career opportunities while paying homage to Gander & White’s own military roots. The campaign bridges the gap between military values and fine art logistics, offering an exemplar of the private sector increasingly embracing ex-military talent, and with it, a smoother transition to ‘civvy street’.
Image credits: Gander & White
See also: The Voluminous Figures of Fernando Botero