There are many ways in which supporting Defence can help your organisation become stronger and more successful.
Your organisation – whatever its industry sector or size, can become a powerful force for positive change at a national and regional level.
The Ministry of Defence is keen to establish open, strategic relationships with employers, tailoring partnering opportunities to mutual needs and business goals.
Join some of the most dynamic organisations in the UK who are already enjoying relationships with Defence and working towards outstanding results.
Cranfield University recognised by the Ministry of Defence for their support to Defence People.
The University started its journey with Defence by signing the Armed Forces Covenant in December 2016. This year, it has received the Gold ERS Award, the highest recognition for its support to Defence.
Jon Stewart, Head of HR Operations, said: "Our HR policies ensure we offer flexibility to current and former military staff and their families, and we greatly value the skills and hard work our Armed Forces’ colleagues bring to our University."
Network Training Partnership Ltd will offer free training and employment opportunities for veterans and service personnel.
Managing Director, Gary Tucker, said, “When we formed Network Training Partnership Ltd, a strong social responsibility programme was at the forefront of our plans. We immediately signed the Armed Forces Covenant and were awarded Bronze as part of the Employer Recognition Scheme."
Gary added: "Now, to achieve the Gold award within our first years is something we are exceptionally proud of and is a testament and formal acknowledgement of the work we have put in to support the Armed Forces community.”
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) King's Lynn NHS Trust has forged strong working relationships with RAF Marham and via the Step into Health programme is keen to promote employment from the defence community.
QEH Chairman, Professor Steve Barnett, said: "I am absolutely delighted that the Trust has been recognised for all of the hard work that they do in supporting the Armed Forces."
Steve added: "We value all of our ex-serving staff members, and are incredibly proud to regularly recruit ex-service personnel into the Trust.”
Businesses and charitable organisations can sign the Armed Forces Covenant to publicly show their support for the Armed Forces community.
The Ministry of Defence publicly honours those organisations for their support through their Employer Recognition Scheme. Another mark of a supportive employer is to advertise jobs through the Career Transition Partnership.
The Armed Forces Covenant is the Nation’s commitment to those who proudly protect our nation, who do so with honour, courage, and commitment, that they and their families will be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.
Businesses and charitable organisations can sign the Covenant to publicly show their support for the Armed Forces community.
For employers, it demonstrates that they recognise the value our reservists, cadet force adult volunteers, regular soldiers and veterans contribute to our country.
It also shows they aim to uphold the principles of the Covenant: that no member of the Armed Forces Community should face disadvantage in the provision of public and commercial services compared to any other citizen. And that in some circumstances special treatment may be appropriate, especially for the injured or bereaved.
The Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) acknowledges employers who have provided exceptional support to the Armed Forces community and Defence by going above and beyond their Armed Forces Covenant Pledges.
Once you have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, you can self-nominate for a Bronze award as long as you promote yourself as being Armed Forces-friendly and are open to employing reservists, service leavers/veterans, cadet instructors and military spouses/partners.
Award holders receive an electronic certificate and logos to display on their website and stationery.
Through a three tier approach of Bronze, Silver and Gold awards, the scheme recognises the different levels of commitment provided by employers. This allows the Ministry of Defence to publicly thank and honour those organisations for their support.
Headquartered in Stevenage, Morrison Utility Services (pictured with their Gold ERS Award) employ more than 80 veterans and numerous reservists. They work tirelessly with businesses across several industries to help recruit military personnel.
They ran a social media campaign to recruit new military personnel into the gas industry. This involved placing candidates onto a training programme, giving them industry qualifications and longer term career prospects in an industry area where there is a skills shortage. The resulted in Morrison Utility Services employing 22 ex-service leavers.
How can our Regional Employer Engagement Director help you?
The Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED) is an impartial role, created by the Ministry of Defence, to make information and support available to employers of a member of the Armed Forces community.
Kristina Carrington is your Regional Employer Engagement Director.
Kristina can guide you through the process of writing and tailoring your Armed Forces Covenant pledge. You decide how you want to support Defence People through your covenant promise.
Kristina has a great deal of experience working with companies of all different sizes and industries. she said: "The best covenants are those that are ambitious, include specific pledges and demonstrate an awareness of how your company can make a difference to the lives of those who serve."
If you wish to have your pledge co-signed by a member of the Armed Forces, Kristina can make the necessary arrangements.
Working with Kristina, you can join our growing number of supportive employers who have received recognition from the Ministry of Defence.
Kristina can assist you with gaining recognition from the Ministry of Defence, taking you through the process of achieving Bronze, Silver and onto Gold recognition.
Family-owned facilities management business CS Hodges created advocacy for Armed Forces Day and the Armed Forces Covenant. They won the hearts and minds of the people and with Kristina's assistance, they were awarded the Silver, then Gold ERS Awards.
Kristina and her team preserved the testimony of companies who received Silver recognition in dedicated booklets, from 2015 to present day. See what companies have said about achieving Silver ERS Award in 2020.
Once you've become a supportive employer, you can enjoy the rewards of a mutually beneficial relationship with Defence.
View the Partnering with Defence leaflet to find out more about tangible benefits for employers.
In the Armed Forces, people develop valuable leadership skills, teamwork, effective communication and organisational ability. Many will also be trained in trade-specific skills, such as first aid or driving. This ongoing development can lead to improved performance and less sickness absence in the workplace.
Download Guide to Employing Reservists to explore the specific benefits employing a reservist.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who can participate in the Armed Forces Covenant?
The Covenant can be adopted by a business or charitable organisation of any size, and from any industry.
What are the top reasons for signing the Covenant?
- To show support for Britain’s Armed Forces
- To get help to advertise your vacancies on free jobs boards aimed at service leaders, and
- To be more attractive to high-quality service leavers and reservists.
- To display the Armed Forces Covenant logo on your marketing
- To access military-run leadership and team-building training
Who makes the decision on a Silver or Gold award?
When the nomination has been validated, it will be considered by a selection board at national level for Gold awards and regional level for Silver awards. The selection boards will be chaired by a senior military officer and each nomination will be considered against the award criteria. Organisations selected for Silver and Gold awards will be notified in writing and invited to attend a presentation event.
What is the time-frame for nominations?
Employers may register for a Bronze award online at any time throughout the year. Nominations for Silver and Gold awards are also submitted online, closing dates are given on the website.
How long is an award valid?
The Gold and Silver awards will be linked to the year of the award. It is expected that employers will actively reflect their status as an award winner for 5 years from the date of the award, although the award itself will continue to be listed on the website and be a matter of public record.
How can the MOD and the Armed Forces Community support businesses?
The Armed Forces Community can contribute real value to a business, both as employees, who bring a wealth of skills and experience, and as customers. The Covenant scheme encourages the Armed Forces Community to do their bit to nurture this two-way relationship.
Join our growing number of supportive employers
Read the stories from some of our supportive employers who received a Gold ERS Award from the Ministry of Defence in 2020.
Based in Chelmsford , Essex, Network Training Partnership Ltd, are a specialist training company working across the emergency services, automotive, logistics and roadside industries, in addition to government agencies. Their relationship with Defence was instilled from day one.
Managing Director, Gary Tucker, says, “When we formed Network Training Partnership Ltd, a strong social responsibility programme was at the forefront of our plans. We immediately signed the Armed Forces Covenant and were awarded Bronze as part of the Employer Recognition Scheme. Now, to achieve the Gold award within our first years is something we are exceptionally proud of and is a testament and formal acknowledgement of the work we have put in to support the Armed Forces community.”
“We will continue to promote the AFC and ERC and we have numerous projects in the coming months that will offer free training and employment opportunities for veterans and service personnel.”
With 23 years’ worth of Army service behind him (with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers), Gary knows first-hand, the number of transferable skills military personnel can offer to a business. “The general public’s opinion has slowly changed over the years and forces personnel are now valued for the qualities they offer organisations. In addition to exhibiting confidence and reliability, they bring with them a diverse range of skills and qualifications that can be adapted to meet the needs of most businesses.”
A number of NTP’s trainers are ex-military and according to Gary, they tend to excel at delivering training to the emergency services and are widely respected for their professionalism and standards. NTP have even started to adopt a ‘military style’ form of training delivery which has proved exceptionally popular.
The company’s support to Defence is not only reflected in their employees but in those they deliver training to. Through their contracts with The AA, RAC and Copart they have offered free training courses for both serving members and veterans. Their new training contract with the RAC will further see free spaces offered to the military.
NTP have also just launched the Youth Assured Employment Programme that will offer 16-24-year olds employment and training opportunities in conjunction with the government backed Kick Start Scheme.
Paul Jarratt, a member of NTP’s training team says “I am exceptionally proud to be a member of NTP and I fully support the courses and programmes that the organisation has developed. Supporting veterans is at the heart of what we do and it’s very rewarding to assist service personnel during their transition from the forces to civilian life.”
Cranfield University recognised by the Ministry of Defence for their support to Defence People.
Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, commented: "Cranfield University has a proud tradition of supporting our Armed Forces and we have many reservists and former military personnel among our staff. It is crucial that we actively demonstrate support and flexibility to those making an invaluable contribution to our nation’s defence and security."
Gold award-holders demonstrate their support by employing staff from the defence community, actively communicating and projecting a positive image of defence to their partners and supply chain. Employees who volunteer for the Armed Forces are given the flexibility needed to plan and fulfil their annual training and mobilisation commitments.
Jon Stewart, Cranfield University’s Head of HR Operations, said: "Cranfield University is a world leader for defence and security education, so we are delighted to be recognised with this gold award. Our HR policies ensure we offer flexibility to current and former military staff and their families, and we greatly value the skills and hard work our Armed Forces’ colleagues bring to our University."
The University originally pledged its support to the Armed Forces scheme in December 2016, achieving Silver Employer Recognition in 2017 and re-signing the Armed Forces Covenant in February 2020. Cranfield University also recently recognised the achievements of forces veteran Captain Tom Moore with an honorary degree.
Our NHS provide invaluable support to the Defence community and in recent years more of our local Trusts are providing innovative, structured programmes to support not only the military personnel they employ but those they treat as well.
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust Chairman, Professor Steve Barnett, said “I am absolutely delighted that the Trust has been recognised for all of the hard work that they do in supporting the Armed Forces. We value all of our ex-serving staff members and are incredibly proud to regularly recruit ex-service personnel into the Trust.”
With a workforce of more than 2800, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is an impressive hub of activity with seven main operating theatres (including two fully integrated endoscopic theatres), 500 beds, 28 wards, a dedicated West Norfolk Breast Unit and the midwife-led Waterlily Unit which provides expectant mothers with greater choice. Overall it serves a population of around 278,800 people who are living in three counties of Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire.
The hospital have forged strong working relationships with RAF Marham and via the Step into Health programme are keen to promote employment from the defence community. For them, the transferrable skills into the NHS are clearly apparent – they have hierarchies, a frontline and a huge range of different roles.
QEH have employed a wide range of people with defence connections and all have been able to bring skills to their roles either from previous NHS employment or from their defence background. When recruiting a spouse or forces family member who may move in future, they are likely to be looking for a role that they can train into and take elsewhere. QEH offers that flexibility. Equally as forces families move to the area they may bring previous NHS experience from a previous deployment which can benefit the hospitals services, patients and community.
Veteran Chaz Scholefield is the Waste and Linen Services Manager at QEH. Having left the Army in 2003 she has worked in both Public and Private sectors. “When I joined the NHS it was apparent that there are significant similarities between both large organisations, as Multi-Disciplinary Teams are found everywhere and a sense of common purpose and a pride in doing the job is culturally embedded. Challenging issues are faced frequently, without the need for a great deal of fuss, so I am convinced ex-service personnel will always feel at home within the NHS.”
“I believe that the Trust has benefitted from recruiting individuals from the defence community. There is still a long way to go but the more people we recruit, the more advocates we have within the Trust to encourage others to join.”
Steven Rose, MD of Rose Builders, talks about the benefits of employing veterans, and his ongoing commitment to advocate for the ERS scheme in this fantastic video produced by the Defence Relationship Management team.
Steven said: "Our HR Manager became aware of the AFC through the local college whilst supporting the Building Heroes programme they were running. The college apprenticeship team were involved with the AFC and introduced her to the scheme."
Their HR Manager attended the local college’s Building Heroes graduation ceremony and was immediately hooked! After speaking with the cohorts for that course, she passionately believed that Rose Builders could play a part in supporting the Armed Forces community.
Rose Builders currently employ 1 Reservist, 1 Cadet Force Volunteer and 10 Veterans. Since 2018, three personnel have successfully transitioned to Rose Builders through the Building Heroes scheme, 2 starting apprenticeships with them. Their roles range from General Operatives, Apprentices (carpentry and brickwork) to Assistant Site Managers and H&S Managers.
The company also run a Forces Incentives scheme on their new homes, which is open to Regular and Reserves personnel, but Steven insists: "Every effort makes a difference! Don’t be put off by thinking that you have to make a big elaborate gesture. Individuals from the Defence Community bring with them a wealth of transferable skills, it really is worth exploring."
The Milbank Group was recognised by the Ministry of Defence with an ERS Gold Award 2020
Andy Mayne, Group Managing Director of the Milbank Group said: “Receiving the Gold Award means a tremendous amount to our Group and both its Senior Managers and staff that made it possible."
Andy added: "We have seen first-hand how by supporting our staff to continue their training and attend camps and exercises with the services delivers us on their return a sharp, committed and engaged individual that any organisation would employ. We will relish the opportunity to continue to improve on our achievements and ensure that we remain worthy of such an award.”
He explained: "We try and provide an atmosphere of engagement and communication with the line Managers of Defence employees, and encourage our Defence employees to talk to the remaining staff about their experiences, for example their enjoyment of their reserve commitment. We offer our reservists an additional 10 days paid leave on top of holiday allowance to accommodate for exercise training, along with enhanced flexibility for weekend camps."
Leo Crumpton-Taylor is a concrete works foreman for Milbank Concrete Products and a Staff Sergeant in the Army Reserve. Currently serving with 36 Signal Squadron based in Colchester, 43 year-old Leo has been an Army Reservist for the past 14 years. Like many, he longed for a new challenge, and life as an Army Reservist provided the physical and mental ‘fix’ that was much needed.
As a troop SSgt within his squadron, his main task is to look after the careers and welfare of the soldiers, assisting and coordinating troop administration. That guidance is based on Leo’s extensive Army career, that has taken him across the world, including a deployment on Op Herrick 8 (Afganistan) with 216 Parachute Signals Squadron. As part of that tour, he worked with the Afghan Police/Army and spent three months with the Medical Emergency Response Team (Helmand Province's combat air ambulance) as their radio operations force protection. He also joined the Regimental Leadership Department at Camp Dwyer; a forward operating base of the United States Marine Corps located within Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Alongside his Army career, Leo works for Milbank Concrete Products as a post installation remedial works foreman. “Without a doubt, my employer values my role with the Army Reserve. The main benefit of being a Reservist is the self-discipline and organisational skills that I have developed. In turn, Milbank have always been very supportive of my activities and deployments, providing extra paid leave for training and exercises, and adapting my work requirements around my mandated weekend commitments as a Reservist. They are declared advocates of the Armed Forces Covenant and are proactive in recruiting from the Armed Forces community.”
Ringway Jacobs awarded the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award 2020
Mike O'Neill, MD of Ringway Jacobs said: "We are a forces friendly employer who continuously strives to attract ex-military personnel to our organisation and supports reservists working within our organisation. Having already successfully employed a number of people from the forces, we recognise the value reservists, veterans and military families bring to our business, together with the transferable skill they bring to our work force."
Mike added: "This talent pool includes not only ex-military veterans and reservists but also cadet force adult volunteers and spouses of serving personnel, many of whom will demonstrate a can-do attitude, strong moral compass, ability to learn quickly and problem solving skills."
Since joining civil engineering company Ringway Jacobs in Chelmsford, 40 year-old Aaron also took on the challenge of being an Army Reservist with the Royal Signals – 36 Signal Squadron.
As a Site Agent for Ringway Jacobs, Aaron runs schemes for one of their clients Essex Highways; which entails everything from the construction of new bridges to installing drainage gullies. His civilian and military careers intertwine seamlessly and his skill set continues to grow.
“I’ve gained a lot of leadership experience as an Army Reservist and learnt how to make decisions and remain calm in pressurised situations. This is something directly transferable to my work with Ringway Jacobs. I’ve also gained additional qualifications having undertaken trade training in Blandford (home of the Royal Signals) and am now a class three Signaller.”
Balancing a civilian and military career presents numerous challenges but Aaron believes the positives far outweigh the negatives. “I have to plan my entire year in advance! Ringway Jacobs are very supportive. They take an active interest in my Reservist role and allow additional paid leave for training purposes.”
Ringway Jacobs began their journey of Partnering with Defence by signing the Armed Forces Covenant and received the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme Bronze Award, achieved the Silver ERS Award in 2019 and the Gold ERS in 2020.
Broadland Council and South Norfolk Council on their Silver Employer Recognition Scheme 2020
Broadland Council and South Norfolk Council awarded the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award 2020
Trevor Holden, MD of Broadland Council & South Norfolk Council is a former RAF Wing Commander. He said: "For us in the Council, and in our role as community leaders, it's a really good example to set as an authority."
South Norfolk and Broadland District Councils are signatories of the Norfolk Armed Forces Covenant, which was signed at an official ceremony on 7 March 2012. This year, their contribution has been recognised by the Ministry of Defence with a Silver Employer Recognition Scheme award. Their application was supported by East Anglia RFCA Employer Engagement team.
Councillor Jo Copplestone is the Armed Forces Convenient Champion for Broadland District Council. She said: “This is a fantastic achievement and we are thrilled that our work in our organisation and in our communities to support the Armed Forces community has been recognised.”
The Broadland and South Norfolk councils look after 260,000 residents and 12,000 businesses, operating 85 different services.They currently employ two reservists, a number of veterans and former military spouses "We find that experience of service life has equipped all our Defence employees with resilience and flexibility."
As well as advertising vacancies on the Careers Transition Partnership website and Forces Families for Jobs, the Councils offer staff e-learning on: 'the Armed Forces Covenant for frontline staff', 'Housing, homelessness and the Armed Forces Covenant', and 'Adjusting to life outside of the Armed Forces'.
Steve Williams is the Council's Waste Senior Operations Manager, a former RAF Squadron Leader and serving reservist. He said: “The organisation has really helped me settle in after leaving the RAF and the support that it gives to ex-service personnel is brilliant. The transition from the military way of working to a civilian way has gone smoothly, but I know that if I needed extra support, it would be readily available.”
Dunster House on their Silver Employer Recognition Scheme 2020
Dunster House awarded the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award 2020
Bedfordshire-based Dunster House were first awarded with the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award in 2015. The awards last for five years, but they can be re-validated if, like Dunster House, support to Defence people continues to impress.
Chris Murphy, veteran, owner and founder of Dunster House said: "We have been developing sanitation solutions for OXFAM and Unicef for some years as a philanthropic activity, and we thought about what can we do in the UK. Having served in the Army and hearing about the plight of veterans suffering from PTSD, homelessness, separations and family matters we felt that we could do something with some savings."
Dunster House has donated a farm to Woody's Lodge, a charity which helps veterans with PTSD. They chose this initiative because helping veterans and their families was the right fit for their business. Chris explained: "Most small charities cannot afford a Centre, let alone one set in the country where people can relax, get counselling, become engaged with the open air, enjoy a decent workshop and even have a brief inexpensive break. So that all added up to a smallholding in a rural environment."
That's why, this year, Dunster House has once again been recognised by the Ministry of Defence with a Silver Employer Recognition Scheme award. Their application was supported by East Anglia RFCA Employer Engagement team.
Fortem on their Silver Employer Recognition Scheme 2020
Fortem awarded the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award 2020
Fortem provides specialist property solutions including 24/7 repairs, capital projects and refurbishments. Fortem invest in their community every year through volunteering, supplying materials and fundraising.
In 2018, Fortem signed the Armed Forces Covenant, committing to provide work experience and support veterans into employment through their Pathways4Life initiative. Mick Williamson, MD of Fortem said: "Our experience of employing ex-Forces personnel has been tremendously positive. "
Mick added: "We have been extremely proud of the impact that we have made through partnerships with Project RECCE and Walking with the Wounded, supporting veterans through training and into employment, both in Fortem and with other like-minded organisations, which is why we felt it was right to apply for the Employer Recognition Scheme."
Fortem reviewed their recruitment process to make it much more inclusive for veterans to apply for roles and their Pathways4Life initiative complements this through training programmes, work experience and apprenticeship opportunities.
Paul Ludlow, previously a Warrant Officer Class 1 in the Army's Royal engineering Regiment, is General Manager at Fortem. He said: "Being flexible, reactive and going the extra mile goes with the territory of being a soldier; my ‘can do’ attitude fits the needs of the business and I go where I’m needed, this has allowed me to see parts of the UK I would have never dreamed of visiting."
Paul added: "I believe I was very fortunate to find a company with a family feel. I left the military family and became part of the Fortem family, who have, over the 14 years I have been with them, given me training, support and continuous personal development which has given me the opportunity to progress from a supervisory role to a senior management role."
The Fortem team believe that supporting the Armed Forces is absolutely the right thing to do: "Service personnel sign up to the Forces to protect the lives and freedom of everyone in the country. The very least we can do is offer support to help eliminate some of the struggles they may face during their transition back into civilian life."
Start your Partnering with Defence journey today!
Take a look at some of the exciting events our supportive employers have taken part in.