A new initiative bringing Chambers of Commerce and military units closer together has been launched. Members of Moray Chamber of Commerce visited RAF Lossiemouth this week as they became ‘buddies’ under the ChamberFORCE programme set up by Highland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association.
ChamberFORCE sees Chambers of Commerce from across Scotland partnered with a nearby military establishment. The ChamberFORCE programme is a partnership between five Scottish Chambers of Commerce supported by Highland Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Association, and personnel from the Army, Royal Navy and RAF Reserves.
ChamberFORCE seeks to provide a formal mechanism by which local business communities can better understand the economic potential of their local military presence, improve employment options for spouses and Service leavers and enhance support for Reservists in the region. RAF Lossiemouth, who will operate Chamber FORCE alongside 39 Engineer Regiment, has been appointed as the official “buddy” to the Moray Chamber of Commerce.
Michelle McKearnon, Regional Employer Engagement Director for Highland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association, and a former chamber of commerce chief executive, said:
“There was already a very strong relationship between chambers and the military, but we wanted to streamline it and make it more productive for all involved.
“It is important that the defence establishment recognises the vital role chambers play in the business community, and that we give something back to all the employers who support our people.
“ChamberFORCE harnesses the power of the chamber network and the resources available to businesses from the military, so it is a win-win situation.”
Sarah Riley-Evans, Community Development Officer at RAF Lossiemouth, said:
“RAF Lossiemouth is delighted to lead on behalf of all the Armed Forces in Moray on this exciting project. ChamberFORCE creates the perfect opportunity for Moray businesses to benefit from the massive investment at RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks over the coming years as well as to better exploit the economic and social opportunities created by having such a large and active military presence in the region. We look forward to an exciting period of working together.”
Sarah Medcraf CEO of Moray Chamber of Commerce welcomed ChamberFORCE. She said:
“The launch of ChamberFORCE comes at a critical time for business and will act as an important enabler to showcase the talents and skills of those with military experience. With many sectors and companies continuing to cite recruitment challenges and skills shortages as a barrier to growth, ChamberFORCE is an excellent example of how partnership working can tackle the big challenges facing our economy.
“Leadership, agility, resilience and adaptiveness are just some of the attributes that businesses need in a fast-moving economy and I look forward to supporting ChamberFORCE as we unlock these talents and grow Scotland’s economy.”