Halfords Group’s promise to our forces

We are proud to announce Halfords Group is making a commitment to support the brave men and women who protect this country, by signing the government’s Armed Forces Covenant.

As the UK’s leading retailer of motoring, cycling and leisure products and services, we take our responsibility to wider community seriously, and by signing this Covenant, it is our aim that servicemen and women who are leaving the forces can more easily find employment, and make a smooth transition into civilian life.

To achieve this, we are making seven strong pledges which will both help service leavers make the transition to a new career that many service leavers find difficult, and support those still serving in the forces.

We will:

  • Offer Service Leavers and Reservists guaranteed placement in to the interview process for all Halfords roles (provided applicants meet the minimum requirements)
  • Support Service Leavers by recruiting through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP)
  • Offer 10 days additional unpaid leave for Reservists
  • Offer a range of discounts to serving Armed Forces personnel in our retail shops and garages (administered by the Defence Discount Service):
  • Promote the fact that we are a Forces Friendly organisation
  • Support Reserves, Armed Forces Day
  • Support Remembrance
Halfords Military

Halfords Group CEO Graham Stapleton said: “I’m extremely proud that we are signing the Armed Forces Covenant to support service leavers make the shift to a new career. This move will also benefit the business by allowing us to recruit servicemen and women, who bring with them fantastic qualities such as team work, leadership and determination plus a results driven mindset – all skills that are upheld by our colleagues and demonstrated to our customers every day.”

Adam Smith, Centre Manager at Halfords Autocentre in Peterborough, joined the forces aged 16, rising to become a Scimitar tank commander. He encourages others leaving the forces to consider a career with Halfords. He left the army in 2013 and initially struggled to find his feet, however his level 2 mechanic training gained in the army helped him secure his role with Halfords Autocentres.

He said: "I’ve got a really good team here at Halfords and we all look out for each other as we did in the army. When I was with the regiment I had to take responsibility for my colleagues who all depended on each other to succeed and it is the same here.

"In the army you have to have the mindset of being able to solve problems as part of a team which is really useful in this role. I think its great Halfords is stepping up to support the forces and I think more companies should do it."

For more information about Halfords careers visit: https://www.halfordscareers.com/

Case Studies

Charlotte Kertrestel

Charlotte Kertrestel

Position - Digital Product Owner, Halfords Support Centre
Age - 28
Military background - Royal Naval Reservist, HMS Forward in Birmingham
Duties - Optimising the customer journeys on the website
Born - Coventry
Lives - Birmingham

Halfords Digital Marketing Manager Charlotte joined the Royal Naval Reserve three years ago, in her own words she ‘joined to seek a new challenge, and to really push myself beyond the normal 9-5’.

During her time as a Reservist, Charlotte has learned a huge range of new skills, received some of the world’s best leadership and management training from Dartmouth Naval Training College and the Royal Navy Leadership Academy, and she’s been awarded a Level 6 certificate in Leadership by the Chartered Management Institute.

Above all, she says being a Reservist has given her the confidence to dive into any new situation, however out of her comfort zone it is. It has given her practical experience in giving presentations, coaching, and decision making, and she says it has: ‘Definitely changed who I am as a person today’.

Charlotte was attracted to a career at Halfords because she always wanted to work for a big company, and Halfords is one of the most well-known brands in the UK.

She explained: “Everyone I know has either shopped in a Retail store of Autocentre, and it’s great to say I work for a company with so much history.

She joined Halfords in March 2018 – so is still relatively new to the company. However, in her short time, she has already covered a whole range of different tasks in her role. She’s also been go-karting, to the Boardman Performance Centre and on a track day thanks to the company.

“I have learned so much from the experienced colleagues that work for Halfords and Halfords Autocentres”, she added, “and it’s great to work for a company which promotes fun and is supportive of my Reservist activities that I do outside of normal office hours.”

To those who might be thinking of their career after leaving the armed services, she explained that balancing working full time and being a Reservist can be a challenge at times, but the benefits that I’ve got from doing both is immeasurable.

She said: “The best thing about being a Reservist, which I think would be applicable to those thinking of leaving a full time career in the Armed Forces, is that you may be leaving one family, but you’re simply joining another. And as cheesy as it sounds, by joining Halfords, I feel like I’ve actually joined two new families!”

Adam Smith

Adam Smith

Age - 28
Position - Centre Manager, Halfords Autocentre Peterborough
Military Roles - Scimitar driver, gunner and commander, infantryman
Rank - Private
Lives in - Peterborough

Autocentre Manager Adam grew up in a military family. He was born on an RAF base in Germany as his dad was an engineer. As a boy, he wanted to be in the military so, in 2006 he signed up, aged just 16.

He trained at the Army’s Armour Centre in Bovington, Weymouth, before joining an armoured division called the Queen's Royal Lancers regiment, based in Catterick in North Yorkshire.

Adam loved the military life. In the Army he found he quickly developed his confidence and skills and was given a high level of responsibility. During his career, he visited places all over the world including Canada, Dubai, Afghanistan and Cyprus. His jobs included being a Scimitar tank driver, gunner and eventually the tank commander where he was in charge of the vehicle and its crew.

In 2013, Adam decided to leave the forces and started his six month resettlement period. He began considering new careers and in preparation, he trained as a vehicle mechanic. He found leaving the Army behind tough: his life had had a structure which disappeared when he left, and he spent a period of time doing jobs he didn’t enjoy.

However things took a turn for the better last year when he joined the motor trade as a mechanic and last year, he was interviewed and got the job as Peterborough Autocentre Manager, a job that he really enjoys.

He said: “I’ve got a really good team here at Halfords and we all look out for each other as we did in the Army. When I was with the regiment, I took responsibility for my colleagues and we all depended on each other to succeed - it is the same here. In the Army you have to have the mindset of being able to solve problems as a team, something that is really useful when helping customers and fixing their cars. I think it's fantastic Halfords is supporting the forces and I think more companies should do it.”

Tony Velda

Tony Velda

Position - Cycle Republic store manager, Birmingham
Age - 40
Joined - Royal Armoured Corps in 1998
Born - Cardiff
Lives - Bromsgrove
Rank - Lance Corporal
Served - ‘1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards’ The Welsh Cavalry
Trained - Winchester and Bovington

Cycle Republic Store Manager Tony comes from a family with a strong military history. His grandfather and great grandfather served in the forces and in 1998, he joined the Royal Armoured Corps, aged just 19, in the 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards.

His role was a radio operator in a Scimitar tank as part of a reconnaissance unit.

During his career Tony toured several war zones including Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq where, in 2002, he was posted to Iraq during the second Gulf War and was part of the successful assault on Basra. Though his unit was normally used for reconnaissance, Tony’s vehicle was used as part of the assault, because the heavier British tanks struggled in the soft sand.

After active service, Tony returned to Britain to train new officer recruits at Sandhurst, which included the Princes William and Harry, whom he trained in fighting exercises.

He decided to leave the army in 2004, and he did various jobs before becoming store manager at Cycle Republic.

As a Lance Corporal, Tony led a team of eight ‘troopers’ which gave him very strong leadership skills, enabling him to lead the team in the Cycle Republic store.

He said: “My team are really tight knit and they all aim to give outstanding customer service, because we treat every customer as we’d like to be treated. We are focused on finding solutions to problems which is exactly the mindset I took in the Army. I also learnt to act with integrity and honesty, which is something I encourage my team to do, so we always own up to any mistakes and try to fix them.”

He added: “Halfords making these pledges and offering support to the men and women who are prepared to step up and serve this country, is really important. My team believe in helping the wider community and if companies can step up and make a difference, then they should do it.”

John Lightfoot

John Lightfoot

Position - Gear 3 Colleague at the Halfords store in Clough Road, Hull
Served - Royal Marines
Lives - Hull
Age - 35

Halfords Gear 3 colleague John Lightfoot grew up in Stoke-on-Trent. His family has a tradition of the men joining the military and with his uncles and cousins in the Army, John decided to follow in their footsteps.

He joined the army aged 17 with the aim of becoming a mechanic, but during the second phase of his training John changed course to join the Royal Marines, where he had a three year career.

The training was really tough he says, but it developed him into the man he is today. He saw active service in Afghanistan in 2004 and fought in Helmand province, before leaving the forces in 2005.

Rejoining life in the civilian world was tough for John, for a number of years he took on labouring jobs but struggled to find a job he liked and never staying in a role for long.

That changed when he joined Halfords in 2015, he found the security, career progression and benefits that come with working for Halfords made him want to stay.

John quickly worked through his Gears 1 and 2 training and is now on the Aspire training programme with the ambition to become an Assistant Manager.

The relationships he built with his team makes them feel like his family and he likes the varied nature of working in the Halfords store in Hull where he meets new customers everyday.

He said: ‘When I came out into the world I thought, what do I do now? But working for Halfords has been really good for me, I’m making progress in the company and the only barrier to my success is me - I’ve never been happier.’

‘I think it's absolutely brilliant Halfords is offering guaranteed interviews to service leavers’, he added, ‘It will make applying much less daunting which will give confidence to people, some of whom have never known anything other than the forces.’