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Opencast commits to help those who have served the nation.

Independent tech consultancy Opencast has formalised its close relationship with

the UK’s armed forces community.

The company has signed the Ministry of Defence-backed Armed Forces Covenant,

confirming its commitment to serving military personnel, former servicemen and

women and reservists.

In a signing ceremony at 101 (Northumbrian) Regiment’s Napier Armoury in

Gateshead last week, Opencast’s chief people officer Cate Kalson and client

relationship director Richard Handley joined army top brass from the region,

including honorary colonel Ammar Mirza CBE, alongside other army representatives.

As well as signing the covenant, this summer Opencast was recognised by the

government-backed Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS), acknowledging businesses

that "have provided exceptional support to the armed forces community and

defence by going above and beyond their covenant pledges.”

The three-tier ERS approach of bronze, silver and gold awards recognises the levels

of commitment to the covenant pledges and beyond provided by employers – and

allows the MoD publicly to thank and honour those businesses for their support.

Opencast has initially been granted bronze accreditation under the ERS – and is now

seeking to step up to silver then gold accreditation.

Welcoming Opencast’s commitment, Ammar said: “The Armed Forces Covenant is a

voluntary pledge made by employers to demonstrate their appreciation of the

significant and sustained contribution of our armed forces.

“Whether it be cadets, regular, reserves or veterans, the North of England

contributes more personnel than any other area. That is why it is wonderful to see

fellow North East-based companies like Opencast signing up, recognising the skills

developed and positive attitude that accompany every member of our armed forces.

“Following the example of this leading values-driven organisation, I hope that others

in and beyond the North East will be encouraged to get involved and support our

armed forces.”

Newcastle-headquartered Opencast’s commitment to the armed forces was driven

by the arrival to the business this year of Richard, formerly a captain in the Royal

Regiment of Artillery.

Commenting on the signing, Richard said: “We want Opencast to be a leading light in

the community as a forces-friendly employer. The values and ambitions of Opencast align to the Armed Forces Covenant, as well as a commitment to the ERS – and we are aiming for the gold award.

“Opencast is committed to ensuring the company does more to help those who are

serving and have served. We are always on the look-out for great people and there is

a constant pipeline of talent leaving the armed forces. Many of them are

enthusiastic, tech-savvy soldiers wanting to build a second career.”

He added: “Soldiers very often have the right attitudes, skills and discipline to fit

straight into an agile team – it’s the way we train, even if we didn’t use the same

terminology. These people can be our tech wizards of the future.”

The company’s chief people officer Cate Kalson said: “Opencast is a caring employer

that is always looking to give something back. Our pledge and commitment are a

part of this. Who better to support than those who have served their country and

those that continue to serve as reservists?

“I’d like Opencast to help service personnel bring their skills and mindset from the

armed forces into exciting, meaningful technology careers.”

Cate added: “Opencast is firmly behind plans to help and support former servicemen

and women and reservists. This is part of our wider commitment to making an

impact on the region and its people. It’s fantastic to have met the leadership team at

101 (Northumbrian) Regiment and started to build real links between our


Opencast revealed an ambitious plan earlier this year to employ 500 people by 2025

to enable the company to tackle ever larger and more complex client challenges. The

team is now nearly 200 strong.

Joining forces (left to right): Richard Handley (Opencast client relationship director), Lt Col Peter Winton (commanding officer, 101 Regiment Royal Artillery, Lee Kennedy (regimental sergeant major, 101 Regiment), Cate Kalson (Opencast chief people officer) and Ammar Mirza CBE (honorary colonel, 101 Regiment) at the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant at Napier Armoury in Gateshead on 8 December 2021.

About Opencast

Opencast is a growing team of specialists who work at the heart of government,

global finance, and growth enterprise, providing a range of digital consultancy and

tech services. Our OpenCulture empowers independent-minded people in our

mission to do the right thing for our clients, our team and wider society: good

teamwork to make life better.

Opencast specialises in developing end-to-end enterprise solutions for government,

health and social care providers and global financial services, as well as for

renewable energy and regional enterprises. We provide services in digital

architecture, user -centred design, software, digital & technical delivery, DevOps.

Cloud & platform engineering and, live service support.

Opencast was founded in 2012 by co-chairs Charlie Hoult and Mike O’Brien. It is

headquartered at Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne, with staff located nationwide,

including in Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds, York, and London.


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