Honouring Armed Forces Week: Lee’s Story

Submitted by Connie Maddock | 28/06/2024

As Vertas Group reflects on the remarkable service and sacrifices made by the armed forces, the company is pleased to spotlight the stories of its ex-armed forces colleagues.

For Vertas Group, hiring ex-forces colleagues is about welcoming qualities that enhance the team further. We endeavour to create a supportive workplace and facilitate access to development, helping individuals leverage skills and experiences.

We caught up with Lee Burden, Group Head of HSQE, to learn more about his experience working in the civilian world after ten years in the British Army. Despite having several other roles outside of the military before joining the company, Lee highlights how Vertas Group has supported his professional development.

Thank you for agreeing to share your story for Armed Forces Week. Can you tell me about your background before joining Vertas Group?

Before getting into HSQE management, I was a Royal Engineer in the British Army for ten years. This was an adventurous decade of my life that built resilience and prepared me for the challenges I would face in the next chapter of my career.

Fortunately, my first role outside the military was in a well-established business that understood the value and benefits of recruiting ex-forces personnel. This eased the transition, and I always had other ex-forces colleagues around me that I could rely on.

How has Vertas Group supported you as an ex-forces colleague? Are there any programmes that have been particularly helpful?

I was drawn to Vertas because the Group recognises the potential and talent of veterans. The company is keen to recruit them as part of its diverse workforce, with a CEO who is ex-forces himself. Vertas Group has been very supportive of my professional development. I have received additional training, learned from the senior management teams, and been enrolled in the Leadership Pathways Programme, all of which have enhanced my skills and capability.

What aspects of your military background relate to your current role at Vertas Group?

Being in the military taught me to be responsive and adapt to unexpected changes. This is linked to agility, one of our corporate values. It ensures we remain dynamic and continuously adapt to meet the needs of our customers. Another stand-out value is sustainability. At Vertas Group, we strive to minimise our impact on the environment. This reminds me of the military, where you are taught to protect the environment and leave no trace of your presence on the ground.

How does Vertas Group provide support and development opportunities for veterans and ex-forces personnel?

Vertas Group supports members of the Reserve Forces with flexible working arrangements and acknowledges the training undertaken by the Reservists and Veterans and the value it brings to the workplace. Reservists, Veterans, and all other colleagues are provided with mentoring, coaching, and tailored development plans to help them grow and progress in their careers.

In what way does Vertas Group promote a culture of understanding for veterans and ex-forces personnel?

The Group regularly engages with the armed forces community and actively promotes the benefits of employing ex-forces personnel. This is tangible through the Group’s policies and arrangements, the active networking and recruitment of ex-forces, and the Armed Forces Covenant awards.

Vertas Group also has a Flexible Working Policy, Employee Assistance Programme, and wide-ranging mental health and wellbeing arrangements that can really support the transition from the armed forces to the civilian world. The transition can be challenging, and Vertas Group has a supportive stance to overcome those barriers. 

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