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Redundant soldiers from The Rifles promised help by jobs agency in Stonehouse, Stroud, Gloucestershire

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

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FORMER infantryman Jon Penhale is marching forward with a project to help out of work military personnel.

Now a recruitment company director, Mr Penhale, 39, believes his scheme to link employers with ex-service people is unique.

With thousands of military personnel being made redundant, he plans to highlight their talents to businesses in Gloucestershire and beyond.

"I served 16 years in infantry. I was a Rifles officer," said Mr Penhale, from Stonehouse- based firm Omega.

The Rifles are the successor regiment to the Royal Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Wiltshire Light Infantry with 1Rifles based at Beachley Barracks.

"As I came to leave (the Army), I went through the transition myself. I know and understand.

"It is reaching out to employers, helping them access talented job candidates with transferable skills like discipline, reliability and so much more."

Omega had, therefore, teamed up with the Rifles battalions to support, re-train and ultimately find jobs for often highly-skilled former servicemen and woman in what was a very challenging employment market.

A reception is planned at Gloucester Territorial Army Centre in the city's Eastern Avenue on February 21 to highlight the soldiers' talents to potential employers.

MPs Richard Graham (Gloucester) and Martin Horwood (Cheltenham), plus county chambers of commerce are supporting the event.

Omega chief executive officer Alan Beresford said: "We're very proud to be supporting the Rifles during this challenging time."

A Rifles' spokesman said soldiers' organisational and logistical skills were among their many credentials.

He said it was too soon to know exactly how many redundancies the regiment would bear from among the 18,000 jobs axed by Whitehall's austerity measures.

There have already been some announcements of military redundancies, but Omega expect larger tranches this June and in March next year.

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