Coach company puts support for veterans into top gear
Out in force: Edwards sign the Military Covenant
A Pontypridd-based coach company is putting its support for the Armed Forces’ community into top gear by offering guaranteed interviews for veterans.
Edwards Coaches made the promise as it signed the government’s Corporate Covenant at an event at Maindy Barracks.
News comes just days after it was revealed that a number of jobs will be created with Edwards following a multi-million new contract awarded by National Express to run its services in south west England.
Edwards MD Jason Edwards FCILT and drivers Kevin Phillips and Wayne Morgan joined service personnel – and the regimental goat - at the base, to make the promise and sign the covenant – a pledge that no-one should be disadvantaged as a result of having served.
Edwards’ already employ a number of service leavers in a variety of roles which include, driving, engineering and health and safety, so it was a natural move for Jason to promise interviews to ex-forces personnel, alongside other commitments, such as supporting staff in the Reserves.
He said: “With many veterans working for us throughout the years, Edwards has long been a forces-friendly business and we’re really delighted to formalise this commitment by signing the Corporate Covenant, particularly at a time when we have so many vacancies available. We wholeheartedly support the contribution made by servicemen and women, and signing the covenant is our way of paying tribute to the tremendous sacrifices they make for us”.
Lt Col Nigel Crewe-Read, Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion the Royal Welsh said: “We are delighted that Edwards Coaches has pledged its support for the military community and their families by signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant. This demonstrates their recognition of the value serving personnel, both regular and reservists, veterans and military families, contribute to business and the country and we are grateful for their commitment.”
Wayne Morgan, a Reservist with 3rd Battalion the Royal Welsh has worked for Edwards Coaches since May 2010 when he returned from serving in Afghanistan. He was in the Army for 23 years, serving with the Royal Regiment of Wales. He now splits his time as a driver covering Edwards’ school runs and local private hire routes, and as an army Reservist. He said: “I really enjoy working for Edwards. As employers they are really supportive of my role as a Reservist and allow me to fit in my duties around my job as a driver. I mainly cover school run routes and in September I’ll be heading to Germany for a fortnight’s camp with 3 Royal Welsh, and even though this is taking place outside of school holiday times. Edwards have been 100% behind me attending camp, which is marvellous.”
Kevin Phillips, A Veteran of 1st Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, joined the army at 16 and served alongside his dad and brother. He’s worked for Edwards for five years and said: “Edwards are a wonderful employer, I’d never driven a coach and they’ve given me full training so I could get my licence and guaranteed me a job on completion of the training. I have been able to use my skills gained from being in the army in my role. For example I’m always on time, never missed a day of work and can pick up instructions and act on them really quickly. Edwards are a great company to work for, a family business, completely committed to all their staff.”
Edwards is currently seeking to recruit a number of drivers as well as engineers, and supervisors to get the wheels turning on its new Avonmouth depot, which is currently under construction.
Work on the new Cabot Park depot in the Avonmouth area of Bristol is well underway and the first of a new £12 million fleet of state-of-the-art National Express coaches will roll out from the site on its first day of operations on 1st May 2017.
Once completed, the depot will boast engineering workshop facilities, a fully automated coach wash, re-fuelling facilities, offices and parking.
Coaches will run across the south west, to London, Heathrow and Gatwick Airport, and as far north as Grimsby, Nottingham and Rugby in the Midlands.
National Express was the first company in the UK to sign the covenant when it was launched in 2013 and has led the way as a forces-friendly business through a raft of socially responsible initiatives aimed at improving the lives of the armed forces community, including serving personnel, veterans, reservists and families.
Watch 'goat-o' shoot in action: https://vimeo.com/211287298