As the country prepares to mark Remembrance Sunday and the centenary of WW1 Armistice Day, Cumbrian businesses are being encouraged to recruit former military personnel.
Cumbria Chamber of Commerce says that the 14,000 men and women who leave the Armed Forces each year can make model employees.
Chief Executive Rob Johnston said: “It’s no secret that some ex-service personnel struggle to adapt to civilian life.
“Yet on paper they have so much to offer.
“Many have strong technical skills, are mission-focused and have a can-do attitude. They are used to high-pressure situations and to learning new skills.
“Surveys show they are less likely to go sick and are loyal employees who tend to stay with their employer longer.
“It’s a tragedy that many employers miss out on the qualities that veterans can bring to their businesses, either through lack of knowledge or misconceptions.”
He added: “Cumbria has a shrinking working-age population, which is already making recruitment difficult.
“Tapping into the pool of veterans in the workforce is one way to address a growing shortage of skilled workers.”
The Chamber is inviting businesses to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, a pledge to ensure service personnel, veterans and their families are treated fairly and not disadvantaged.
Some 1,500 businesses have signed so far including Cumbria Chamber, which became the first Chamber of Commerce to make the pledge in March 2016.
Other businesses with Cumbrian links to have signed include BAE Systems, Eddie Stobart, GSK and Siemens.
The Chamber’s website www.cumbriachamber.co.uk has help for businesses looking to take on Armed Forces veterans.
There is a toolkit to download, a link to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant, a video on the Career Transition Partnership – which matches people leaving the forces to the needs of employers – and a case study on Persimmon Homes, which has recruited hundreds of veterans to combat a skills shortage.