Three East Midlands’ organisations have achieved a Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award for proactively demonstrating their advocacy for the Armed Forces community…

University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) NHS Trust, the University of Lincoln and Nottinghamshire based SkillForce have all received awards and will be invited to a formal presentation event later this year.

The Defence ERS encourages employers to support Defence and inspire others to do the same. The scheme encompasses Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to Defence and the Armed Forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

The organisations awarded each employ at least one person from the Armed Forces community such as a veteran, reservist or Cadet Force adult volunteer and have previously signed the Armed Forces Covenant.

In order to achieve a Gold Award SkillForce has a policy in place that supports reservist employees before, during and after a period of mobilisation. SkillForce’s Instructors are internally viewed as positive role models and their military background plays a very important part in this.

Explaining why the SkillForce was honoured to receive the award. Ben Slade, Chief Executive of SkillForce said: “We are delighted to receive the Gold Award for actively supporting the Armed Forces in our workplace and encouraging others to follow our lead.

“Our commitment to developing and supporting our instructors, mainly former Armed Forces personnel and Reserves, ensures that the very highest level of skills and experience are used in our school programmes to develop the character of the UK’s most valuable asset, our young people.

“We are privileged to contribute to the support of our Armed Forces and proud to have our ongoing commitment recognised in this way by the Ministry of Defence.”

Tobias Ellwood, The Minister for Defence People and Veterans said: “The breadth and diversity of this year’s winners shows how business support for the Armed Forces continues to flourish. Their commitment is a testament to the fantastic contribution our serving personnel, veterans and their families can make to any organisation.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring that the Armed Forces community is not disadvantaged by service, and each of these employers is a setting an example as meaningful advocates for those protecting the nation.”

John Wilson, the Ministry of Defences Regional Employer Engagement Director for the East Midlands, said: “This is the first time three organisations in the East Midlands have achieved a Gold Award in the same year. Each of those awarded are dedicated to supporting and promoting the Armed Forces community and I look forward to continuing to work alongside each of the award winners in the future.”

To find out more about the ERS and how your organisation could support Defence personnel in the workplace search ‘Defence Employer Recognition Scheme’ online.