Helping veterans kick off a civilian career
As part of our corporate responsibility work, we support the initiative Velkommen Hjem (welcome home), a Danish organization working to ease the transition to a civilian career for military veterans. Members of NNIT’s management have volunteered to act as mentors, helping to prepare veterans for a new start.
For a couple of years now, members of NNIT’s management have made themselves available to Velkommen Hjem and have been matched with mentees who need help translating their military skills and competencies into the language that civilian companies speak.
They typically meet with their mentees every two weeks for a full year – or until their mentees are well underway in their new civilian career. Currently, three managers are active under the program:
Senior VP Brit Kannegaard Johannesen, Senior VP Ricco Larsen and VP Lars B. Petersen – and we hope to do more in the future.
On Velkommen Hjem’s homepage, the Danish Defence Minister endorses the work of Velkommen Hjem, stating that “the network of companies and mentors greatly contribute to ensuring a smooth transition from a military to a civilian career,” and stressing that there is a great need for civilian ‘activists’ to ensure that veterans have a career to come home to now and in the future.
And this is a mission, the NNIT mentors really get behind. We asked each of them to comment on why it is important to them to be a part of the program and what it has meant to them:
Passionate about making a difference
Ricco Larsen, Senior VP, Life Sciences in NNIT was paired with Per Holmgaard because of Pers technical interest and skills. While there were difficulties along the way, not least due to the Corona pandemic, towards the end of the mentorship, Ricco helped Per secure a contract with NNIT subsidiary, Scales Group.
”Personally – and in NNIT – I am passionate about making a difference, in business and society, so for me it was natural to volunteer for this and help talented people like Per who has found it difficult to land his first civilian job after a long and successful military career. It’s not always easy to translate the strong competencies you’ve acquired in one setting to another, very different setting. But as part of the process, we uncovered the following skillset: management, fast adaptation, crisis management, cooperation and the ability to perform under intense pressure – combined with a number of technical skills. These are competencies that are sought after in the civilian world too, but they needed to be extracted and repackaged to suit the new civilian setting”. - Ricco Larsen
Helping to build a bridge between two worlds
Brit Kannegaard Johannessen, Senior VP for People, Communications, Marketing, and Quality in NNIT was paired with Roberto Rangel, because Roberto was pursuing positions within people management and HR – among other things. He is now employed as manager at online supermarket giant Nemlig.com. As it turned out, it was a great personal match too:
“In a way, Roberto’s story is not that different from stories I know very well from others in my network. But the military uses a very different language to describe skills and experiences, so I really had to pay attention at first. Roberto is a very positive and inspiring person to be around, and he has allowed me to get acquainted with a part of society that I usually don’t deal with. And he has helped make it very clear to me that an open dialogue is a crucial starting point for development – also for me”. - Brit Kannegaard Johannessen
Giving back by sharing own experiences
Lars B. Petersen, who is VP of NNIT Communications and Marketing, is naturally interested in helping other develop their career, so when several of his colleagues signed up, the decision to follow suit was easy. Lars was paired with Gudmundur Gudbergsson whom he has been mentoring for a year. As it happened, their process led to Gudmundur deciding to delay his exit from the Danish Armed Forces for personal reasons until the fall of 2021.
”I enjoy being a mentor and helping others fulfil their potential. In addition, I have a background as a sergeant in the Airforce, so I have great respect for veterans and the job they do. Having been in service for their country, they deserve all the help they can get when they return and are thinking about pursuing a civilian career; and I don’t think that’s built into the current offboarding program. But it is absolutely true that many of the skills you learn as part of your service transfer very well to a civilian career, I can testify to that as I still use some of the skills I acquired during my time in service both in daily operations and as part of my job as people manager”. - Lars B. Petersen
About Velkommen Hjem
Velkommen Hjem (Welcome Home) was founded by a number of companies that wish to support veterans in their endeavor to transfer their military competencies and experiences to civilian work life. The goal is to support the veterans in a smooth transition from a military to a civilian career by offering them a well-planned mentee program focusing on identifying the veteran’s competencies by matching them with a suitable mentor from a private company.