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Ian Hirst is Finalist for 2024 British Ex-Forces in Business Awards

21st May, 2024

Ian Hirst, Partner, Cyber Threat Intelligence, has been shortlisted for the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards, the world’s largest business celebration of the Armed Forces community.

The challenges involved in carving out a meaningful second career after serving in the Armed Forces are well documented. Misconceptions among hiring managers about the effects of military service and a lack of visible role models – service leavers who have carved out successful second careers – have historically seen some veterans struggling with their transition back to civilian life and employers overlooking a great talent pool.

The Ex-Forces in Business Awards were formed seven years ago to tackle these issues head one via a grand showcase of veteran talent. The awards programme has led the way globally in demonstrating the huge value that veterans add to employers and the wider economy after leaving the military. This is not just important for ‘levelling up’ job opportunities for people who served their country, but also helping companies solve long-standing economic challenges such as skills shortages and productivity gaps.

Since 2018 the Awards have celebrated the post-military achievements of over 1,500 veterans and reservists at events which have been attended by thousands of employers across the UK and engaged with by millions more online. This year has seen another record-breaking number of nominations, resulting in a shortlist which displays the vast breadth of the Armed Force community’s influence across all corners of the economy.

Lt. Gen. Sir Andrew Gregory, former Chief of Defence People and now Chief Executive at SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, said:

The Ex-Forces in Business Awards showcase the very best that the Armed Forces community and business, in partnership, has to offer.

Some individuals find the transition from service life to civvy street challenging; those nominated for the Awards have made this transition admirably and must act as role models for others. I equally commend the forces friendly employers on the shortlist; you see the opportunities offered by reservists and veterans, a fact that is greatly appreciated.

SSAFA is very proud once again to be the official charity partner of these Awards; we are there as a trusted source of support when people need help. Funds raised will enable us to ensure service personnel, veterans and military families will, in their time of need, Never Battle Alone.

One of the highest attended award ceremonies in Europe, the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards have been dubbed ‘the Oscars of veteran employment’. This year’s event on 27 June will see 1,200 business and military leaders descend on the Grosvenor House London’s historic Great Room on Park Lane to honour and celebrate the winners.

BBC Newsnight presenter Victoria Derbyshire will host the Awards and introduce a programme of live entertainment and guest speakers including three-time Olympic rowing champion Pete Reed OBE and a yet to be announced senior Whitehall official.

Earlier in the day, the same venue will host the first festival of business for the UK Armed Forces community, MilFest 2024, a content-led conference connecting Forces Friendly companies with veterans, spouses and service family members. Speakers include Vice Admiral Phil Hally, Chief of Defence People, Lord Sedwill, the former Cabinet Secretary, and Helen Selby, General Counsel and Company Secretary at ASDA.

Sponsors of the Awards include GE Aerospace, International SOS, Serco, AECOM, BAE Systems, Barclays, Boeing, BT, Capgemini, Expleo, FSI Europe, Gallliford Try, Mott MacDonald, QA 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 UK, the MoD and the British Olympic Association.

Ben Rossi, founder of the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards, said:

The incredible achievements documented through the 900-plus nominations we received for this year’s Awards are simply staggering. The fact they have been enabled by skills and values gained in the British Armed Forces should leave employers in no doubt of the value veterans offer.

We are proud of the role these Awards play in showcasing and championing the veteran talent pool. The Ex-Forces in Business Awards evidence very clearly that supporting the transition of servicemen and women into meaningful second careers is not just the right thing to do, or a tick in a CSR box – it’s a tried and tested route to acquiring exceptional talent who will add enormous value to your business. Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists and thank you for serving as such tremendous role models for service leavers.


Notes to Editors:

About the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards

The Ex-Forces in Business Awards is the world’s largest celebration of military veterans in second careers. Taking place in London, Glasgow and Washington DC, the awards are dedicated to providing a much-needed platform for uncovering and showcasing the business achievements of ex-military, presenting them as role models to service leavers, and recognising the employers that support current and former members of the British Armed Forces. The prestigious events promote the huge value that military-gained skills and values add to the UK economy in their second careers.

About SSAFA the Armed Forces charity

SSAFA the Armed Forces charity supports the person behind the uniform; any time they need us, in any way they need us, for as long as they need us. Every year, SSAFA helps more than 73,000 people from the Forces family get on their feet; those currently serving, reserves, veterans and their families. Support is there for people at any stage in their military career; from the youngest recruit to the oldest veteran – no one’s service is ever forgotten. We give hope, help and personal support for as long as it takes to get that person’s life back to where they want it to be.


Ian Hirst

Partner, Cyber Threat Services

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