Meaningful mentorships bring military veterans and the business community closer
VELKOMMEN HJEM’s mentor network focuses on how military skills and experience can be brought to play in civilian business life. Systematic is contributing three mentors to support the transition being made by military veterans to civilian life – for everyone’s mutual benefit.
The VELKOMMEN HJEM (‘Welcome Home’) organisation supports ex-servicemen in making the positive and realistic transition from life in the armed forces to the civilian labour market. It takes place through a well-organised programme that includes, for example, a six-month mentor scheme, which Systematic is supporting by making three motivated mentors available.
Henrik Messell, Group Senior Vice President for Systematic’s Defence Operations, is one of them. He decided to involve himself in VELKOMMEN HJEM because he feels it is important to help Danish military veterans.
“For many years, they have performed a vital task for society. Therefore, the business community is under an obligation to build bridges and help veterans forge a career on civvy street. At the same time, companies are crying out for experienced employees, and the veterans are able to bring strong competencies with them, so it’s pure win-win,” says Henrik Messell.
Henrik was matched with Rasmus Rold Meldgaard, who had 10 years in the Royal Danish Army under his belt as well as a Master’s degree in Sports Science from the University of Copenhagen. Rasmus enjoyed his job in the army but decided to quit for a job in civilian life for his family’s sake. He therefore took the leap by joining a mentorship scheme at VELKOMMEN HJEM. It resulted in a job as a project manager for the engineering consultants DIS – and a mutually rewarding mentor/mentee relationship.
Translates military skills into civilian use
The point of the mentorship scheme has been to take a close look at how military skills and experience can be used in a civilian context.
“It is surprisingly difficult to translate military skills and work processes for a resumé in a way that makes it easy to comprehend for a civilian employer. It has been a very positive experience to embark on a journey of discovery together and to help Rasmus create a solid civilian CV,” says Henrik Messell.
Here, VELKOMMEN HJEM excels with slogans such as ‘If he can keep track of five military units, then he can probably maintain an overview of your HR department’, and ‘If he can transport the international military force’s equipment across Afghanistan, he probably knows a thing or two about logistics’. These nuggets are designed to inspire veterans to look at their tasks in a fresh light.
To put the matter into even more perspective, Systematic has put its recruitment department at VELKOMMEN HJEM’s disposal. They have, among other things, prepared a personality profile and undertaken a simulated job interview followed up by constructive feedback. This has helped Rasmus to clarify his ambitions in the civilian labour market and fine-tune both his CV and job applications.
“My biggest challenge has been translating my military competencies to civil use. Also, I struggled with being too humble. When my job applications were rejected time after time, it was hard to keep up the spirit, and that’s why I contacted VELKOMMEN HJEM.”
- Rasmus Rold Meldgaard
Networks are key
According to Rasmus Rold Meldgaard, it pays to remember a well-known secret: network, network, network.
“If I had to pass on one piece of advice, it’s that having a network is paramount. Almost all the interviews I’ve been to have come about through networks. If your main network is within the armed forces, then you need to start expanding it. This has proved to be very helpful,” says Rasmus Rold Meldgaard. He has found that having a mentor can be a good way of drawing new strands into the network:
“Henrik introduced me to his network, and it was through this that I made contact with the company that I’ve now signed a contract of employment with,” says Rasmus Rold Meldgaard.
The mentorship between Rasmus and Henrik has now come to an end, and both parties are very satisfied with how it went.
“I’m very grateful to Henrik for all the time he devoted to me! I think it’s fantastic that people like him want to be mentors with VELKOMMEN HJEM. To begin with, we had to get to know and understand one another, but our meetings went really well,” he says.
Henrik is also happy with the relationship they managed to build up, and he describes the process as very positive – for Rasmus, Systematic, and society at large.