- Boots and Boots Opticians have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, committing to support members of the Armed Forces community
- The signing was attended by Boots team members as well as serving and former military personnel
- Boots Valor Business Resource Group provides a support network for team members in the Armed Forces community and aims to make Boots an employer of choice for military personnel, veterans, and friends and family
27 January 2023 – Boots has committed to continue its support of the Armed Forces community in the UK by signing the Armed Forces Covenant.
Boots Chief Customer and Category Officer Steve Ager signed the Covenant in its Lincoln High Street store on January 26, alongside Mark Rigden, Head of Flagships, who signed on behalf of Boots Opticians.
The Armed Forces Covenant is a voluntary pledge, which by signing, Boots has committed to offer great employment opportunities for Veterans and Reserve Forces, through a truly inclusive end to end recruitment process. Boots has also developed HR policies to support Reserve Forces with additional paid annual leave allowances for training and during periods of mobilisation.
Steve Ager, Boots Chief Customer and Category Officer said: “Boots has a proud history of supporting the Armed Forces in the UK, and we see signing the Armed Forces Covenant as an opportunity to continue to do our part to support serving members and their families as well as veterans.”
The signing was attended by Boots team members as well as serving and former military personnel, including veterans who now work for Boots, including Hannah Harvey, RAF veteran who recently joined Boots as a Continuous Improvement Manager.
With over 2,200 stores across the country, Boots also offers excellent career opportunities to Forces Families. It recognises that Service Personnel may move location throughout their careers and endeavours to help their spouse or partner move store location and continue their own career development.
In early 2022, Boots set up a Business Resource Group (BRG), Valour, with the vision to be an employer of choice for Veterans, Reservists and Military Families and Friends. BRGs at Boots are organised and run by team members, each with an executive sponsor, to help build inclusive environments by raising awareness and creating networking opportunities across the business.
Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison, said:“I am delighted to see Boots formalise their commitment to our veterans, Reserves and their families right across the UK. In doing so they are committing to offering meaningful employment options for our people post service, whilst ensuring they can continue to make a great contribution to our society.”
Boots has long supported the Armed Forces. As a retailer with over 170 years of experience, it provided essential pharmacy services throughout both World Wars, including manufacturing products for the troops on the front line as well as being a key support on the home front. Boots also worked closely with the Army during the Covid-19 pandemic, including training thousands of Army staff on safe swabbing techniques as mass testing programmes were rolled out.
Case Study – Hannah Harvey
Hannah is a Boots team member who made the transition from the RAF into civilian work. She served for 15 years in the RAF working across roles in logistics, explosives, fuels, warehousing and engineering, before taking a role at BMW, and later joining Boots as a Continuous Improvement Manager in its Transformation Team in August 2022.
On joining the Armed Forces, Hannah, said: “It was a role I picked because I wanted to travel, and I have family history in the Air Force and military with my Grandparents, Dad and four Uncles who all served in the Armed Forces. My Grandma served in the National Service, so I was definitely following in her footsteps.
“I went on tours to Iraq and Afghanistan and spent time in the UAE, the U.S. and the Falklands. The best work is definitely with the engineers and aircraft squadrons -- you’re as close to the aircraft and the action as you would want to be!
“Once I returned to the UK, I was promoted into the RAF’s Continuous Improvement Cell, which is where my love for what I do now at Boots comes from.
“Once I made the decision to transition out to the RAF, I was very nervous. In my experience for someone coming out of the military, it really helps to be part of a large organization like Boots. You’re one part of a huge entity and it’s nice to be able to slot in and understand how your role plays into the whole.
“Right from the interview stage, I was making connections with other Boots team members who were ex RAF and Armed Forces. They really helped with making that connection and helping with the transition, speaking to me in a language that I understood and explaining how Boots operates.
“As part of the Valor Business Resource Group, you’re linking with people outside your immediate team who have already made that transition, which can be scary for a lot of people. We can offer each other support and advice and create a network of like-minded people.
“The key transferrable skills that help me in my role now are working well under pressure and adaptability – adapt and overcome as we say! In the military, there are so many talented people with these transferrable skills that can benefit bigger companies. We love a new challenge, and I think companies like Boots are seeing more and more the benefit they can get from recruiting members of the Armed Forces.
“Signing the Covenant is a brilliant step in making Boots a really attractive employer for people like myself and our friends and family members.”
About the Armed Forces Covenant
The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. More information about the Armed Forces Covenant and how to get involved is at https://www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk/