AA reaffirms commitment to the armed forces community
The AA has recommitted its support to the armed forces community at the start of a series of events during Armed Forces Week (22-28 June).
On 22 June, AA executive chairman Bob Mackenzie and Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, co-signed the AA’s updated armed forces corporate covenant at the Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, London.
Also in attendance were three AA reservists: patrols: Ian Parton and Andrew Hailstones from the West Midlands and Glasgow, respectively (REME Army Reserve); and Karen Grant, who works in the AA’s operational centre at Oldbury, West Midlands (Royal Naval Reserve).
The covenant is a voluntary pledge of support from businesses and charities to the armed forces community and includes two key principles:
The UK’s biggest motoring organisation was among the first 50 companies in the UK to pledge its support when the corporate covenant was launched in 2013; and last year it received an Employer Recognition Silver Award for its work with the Reserve Forces.
Our reservists, like Karen, Andrew and Ian, are three excellent examples of what we get in return for our continued support. They are full-time AA employees, who find it within themselves to dedicate their precious, free time to their military units
Bob Mackenzie, executive chairman of the AA
Bob Mackenzie, executive chairman of the AA, says: “We are delighted to be renewing the AA’s pledge of support to the armed forces community. Our reservists, like Karen, Andrew and Ian, are three excellent examples of what we get in return for our continued support. They are full-time AA employees, who find it within themselves to dedicate their precious, free time to their military units.
“Some qualities we see being brought back to the workplace are those of leadership, willingness to learn, enthusiasm and decision making, all of which are vital to a growing, dynamic business like the AA.
“We are very proud of all our reservists and are committed to working hard to support them, their families and the wider armed forces community.”
AA reservists Karen Grant, Andrew Hailstones and Ian Parton
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach adds: “I’m delighted to be here alongside the AA as they reaffirm their commitment to supporting the Armed Forces Community. Not only was the AA among the first to sign the Armed Forces Covenant but the company has also committed to review and refresh their pledge annually to ensure that they are delivering on every single aspect.
“The new pledges made today by the AA demonstrate their advanced support for Service personnel, veterans and their families. The AA has set a precedent in the way they have embraced Armed Forces Week celebrations – inviting local military regiments into all of their offices throughout the week and starting the week with this symbolic re-emphasis.”
During Armed Forces Week (22-28 June), the Armed Forces Day flag will be raised at AA buildings; and several military reserve units will visit the AA’s offices across the country hosting information days and encouraging employees to consider joining the Reserves.
The AA’s long relationship with the military dates back to its formation in 1905. For many years, most of its patrols were ex-regular or national service soldiers. They wore khaki, military-style uniform, gave members the famous AA salute and the association was organised along regimental lines.
In 1909, the fledgling AA transported a battalion of soldiers from London to Hastings to test the viability of moving troops by motor transport. During the First World War, many patrols enlisted – often returning to their former regiment – and the AA organised converted ambulance cars provided by its members.
In 1938, a Supplementary Reserve to the Corps of Military Police was recruited entirely from AA patrols, whose chief duty was traffic control, and they served in virtually every theatre of the Second World War.
Many patrols joined the reserves in the post-war period and these close ties continue with the AA working with SaBRE (Supporting Britain’s Reservists and Employers) to promote the benefits of the reserves among its employees. It also works with The Poppy Factory charity and Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) to place injured soldiers in work.
The AA is a key partner of the Help for Heroes 4×4 European Rally, which recently topped £1 million for the charity.
The AA’s wide-ranging corporate covenant includes: introducing new working practices to better support its reservists; armed forces discounts off AA membership; and ongoing work to place former service personnel in civilian employment.
(22 June 2015)
Image ©UK MOD Crown Copyright 2015