INDEPENDENT tech consultancy Opencast has formalised its close relationship with the UK’s armed forces community.

The Newcastle 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, 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.

Read more: Transformational HMRC contract for Opencast

Ammar said: “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.


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 organisations.”

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.



Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on or contact 01325 505054