East Anglia companies awarded Defence ERS 2016 Silver

Defence ERS 2016 Silver Award winners East Anglia

Eleven employers were rewarded at the East Anglia Defence ERS 2016 Silver Awards to thank the employers for the support they demonstrated to their reservist and veteran employees.

Along with the ten employers that received East Anglia Defence ERS Silver Awards 2015 in March this year, there are now a total of 117 Silver award holders based in East Anglia, with many more national companies and organisations also delivering their Armed Forces Covenant pledge in the region. 

The Future Reserves 2020 plan calls for growing the Army Reserve to 30,000 by 2020, so more employers are likely to find they have a reservist amongst their workforce. Of these employers, those who demonstrate supportive policies to enable their reservist employees to fulfil their service commitments, are being recognised by the Ministry of Defence for their role in helping the government to reach its Defence targets.


To be eligible for a Silver Award, a business must employ at least one of the following: veterans, service spouses, reservists, cadet adult volunteers (Sea Cadets, Air Cadets or Army Cadets). 

Employers must have also signed the Armed Forces Covenant pledge, must show how they have delivered on their pledge, and they must be nominated by a third party via the Employer Recognition Scheme website

Kristina Carrington, Regional Employer Engagement Director for the East Anglia RFCA said: “Any business, no matter its size or industry, can seek to be recognised for the support they give Defence personnel. I invite businesses to get in touch to find out how they can demonstrate their support.”

The eleven East Anglian companies received Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Awards are:

Adnams, Barr-Jones Associates, Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, Chapman Ventilation, Forces Recruitment Services, Kelvin Hughes, Maritime Transport Ltd, the Mercury Theatre, Norse Commercial Services, Paragon and MEL Group.

There are now over 500 private and public organisations that hold Silver Awards in the UK, and over 1,000 have signed the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire Mrs Jane Lewin Smith, The Royal Navy Regional Commander for Eastern England Commodore David Elford, and the Deputy Commander of the British Army 7 Infantry Brigade and HQ East Colonel Stuart Williams, were amongst the special guests at the regional Defence ERS 2016 Silver event in Cambridge. 

The  Vice Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, Mrs Lewin Smith thanked the winners, adding: “It’s wonderful that as employers you support your employees’ aspirations to serve their country.”

Commodore Elford said: “It’s a huge honour for me to have been invited this evening, to recognise and celebrate what employers in the East Anglia region do in support of the Armed Forces Covenant.”

Commodore Elford reminded guests that: “The employer recognition scheme was launched in 2014 to recognise employers who pledge, demonstrate, and advocate support to the armed forces community, including reservists, veterans, cadet instructors and military spouses.”

Ant Chapman, MD of Chapman Ventilation, gave an insightful talk from the employer perspective on why they were chosen for a Silver Award.

The company offers paid leave and flexible working for reservist employees, business insight days to service leavers, and even 2-week work experience packages with rotations in logistics, H&S, and project management,  so that people can go away better placed to make decisions about what will be their first ever job outside the armed forces.

Ant said: “This is a valuable recruiting channel too; we recruited an officer from the Royal Engineers recently, and his performance has been exceptional. He has all the attributes that we know come with a service individual; he’s professional, smart, punctual, and quick-thinking.”

Essex Theatre receives Defence ERS 2016 award for support to reservists, veterans and military families 

Steve Mannix, Executive Director, said: “As a theatre built by the people, for the people of Colchester and North Essex, the Armed Forces community is very important to the Mercury Theatre.”

Whether it is giving forces families somewhere to enjoy time together over, or promoting the employment of families and veterans, the Mercury Theatre is a proud signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant.

Graham Brown, MD of Forces Recruitment based in Cambridgeshire, accepted a Defence ERS 2016 Silver Award.

Forces Recruitment Services was set up in Ely, Cambridgeshire in 2001 and now has five offices in the UK (Ely, Birmingham, Plymouth, London and Bristol). The recruitment firm has placed over 2,500 ex-servicemen and women into work and assisted thousands more with CVs and interview preparation.

Graham, attending the event with Operations Manager Adam Bonner, said: “The ERS Silver Award is so widely recognised by candidates and employers now that it highlights Forces Recruitment Services’ commitment to help ex-military personnel to build a successful and fulfilling second career as a civilian. This is a very proud moment in Forces Recruitment Services’ 15 year history.”

Paul Fuller CBE QFSM, the Chief Fire Officer for Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, accepted a Defence ERS 2016 Silver Award.

Paul said: “We are extremely honoured to receive the ERS Silver Award nomination for our work over the years.”

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue and Paragon were the two organisations from Bedfordshire receiving the award at this year’s regional event organised by the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association for East Anglia.

Paragon, a leading Bedfordshire used vehicle retailer received a Silver Award for their support to Defence people under the Armed Forces Covenant.

Neil Priestman, QSHE & Training Manager at Paragon Automotive, said: “Ex-servicemen and women make an invaluable contribution to our business. We see a huge benefit from the skills and positive attitude they bring.”

The programme booklets 2015 and 2016 for these regional events include the full list of East Anglia based employers that have received the Defence ERS Silver Award since its inception in 2014.