Sophie Cook is honoured to be among the finalists for the sixth annual British Ex-Forces in Business Awards, the Armed Forces community’s biggest awards ceremony, which demonstrate the huge value that veterans offer.
Joining the Royal Air Force at the age of 16-years-old, Sophie Cook served as a jet engine technician on Tornado aircraft throughout the UK and in West Germany. During this time she was commended after saving the life of a colleague following a serious incident whilst on duty. Following her time in the RAF she spent time supporting the Tornado fleet with BAe Systems.
The shortlist for the sixth annual British Ex-Forces in Business Awards, the flagship showcase of the vast and exceptional talent within the UK’s Armed Forces community, is today revealed from a record-breaking number of nominations.
Enriched by the experience of serving their country and equipped with skills and values that employers in other sectors crave, the 15,000-plus people who leave the British Armed Forces each year form a unique and highly capable talent pool. But an awareness gap and a lack of visible role models have presented barriers to service leavers hitting the ground running, while depriving companies of a superb way to fill their skills gaps.
To tackle these challenges head on, the Ex-Forces in Business Awards were established in 2017. By promoting the vast breadth of achievements by veterans in second careers, the prestigious awards programme, which is the largest of its kind globally, shines a light on the veteran talent pool while also increasing visibility of business role models for service leavers, giving them the confidence to pursue their own post-service aspirations.
The Ex-Forces in Business Awards have led the way in showcasing the second-career achievements of over 1,200 UK veterans and reservists at events which have been attended by thousands of employers and engaged with by millions more online. This year’s awards programme, which returns to London for the sixth time on 29 June following last month’s Scottish edition, has attracted more than 1,100 nominations. Each one, in its own right, exhibits the business case of hiring from the ex-forces community.
Lt. Gen. Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said: “As a former Chief of Defence People, I know just how important it is to have strong visibility of forces friendly employers and of veterans who have transitioned into meaningful second careers. These awards lead the way in amplifying that visibility, which makes us very proud to once again be the official charity partner of this important awards programme.”
“Our warmest congratulations and sincere thanks go to all those who have been shortlisted for this year’s British Ex-Forces in Business Awards. They set such a tremendous example for how military-gained skills and values can be successfully applied across all sectors.”
The winners of this year’s British Ex-Forces in Business Awards will be announced and celebrated at a glittering awards ceremony at the Grosvenor House hotel’s prestigious Great Room on Park Lane. TV presenter and broadcaster Jacqui Oatley MBE returns as the host to welcome over 1,100 business and military leaders to the landmark event.
Sponsors of the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards include AECOM, BAE Systems, Barclays, Capgemini, FDM Group, Galliford Try, Kier, QA, Santander, Serco and Vistry Group. The winners are decided by an independent judging panel of business leaders from organisations including Boeing, EY, Irwin Mitchell, Knight Frank, Lloyds Banking Group, MBDA, the Ministry of Defence, the NHS, Serco and Provident Financial Group.
Ben Rossi, founder of the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards, said: “Six years ago we set out a vision for a grand showcase of veteran talent to promote to all UK employers the business case of hiring from the Armed Forces community, while also giving service leavers the confidence to dream bigger. Each year we are even more blown away than the last at the response to this programme. The extraordinary achievements displayed through the 800-plus nominations received for this year’s British Ex-Forces in Business Awards should leave no doubt in anybody’s mind that the veteran talent pool must never be overlooked.”