East Anglia RFCA’s employer engagement team welcomed more than 20 organisations to an exclusive event at the Royal Norfolk Show to celebrate partnering with Defence.
The aim of the event was to acknowledge the tremendous support Defence friendly employers such as Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold winners Norfolk & Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust offer to Defence. Other businesses were also able to discover how partnering with Defence can benefit them and their workforce.
Regional Employer Engagement Director Kristina Carrington said, “The Royal Norfolk Show has a true sense of occasion and it offers the perfect opportunity for us to champion and thank local employers for the work they do in support of their local Defence community.
She added: “Today, we also have employers here looking to begin their journey, sign the Armed Forces Covenant and join the Ministry of Defence’s ERS. At an event such as this they discover best practice from other organisations and have the opportunity to engage with military personnel. Often for the very first time in their careers.”
Following morning coffee and pastries, the audience were invited to participate in a talk and Q&A session with the Deputy Commander of 7th Infantry Brigade Col David Wakefield OBE and Lt Col Matthew Woodeson, Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment.
Col Wakefield introduced 7th Infantry Brigade, explaining how this particular Army RPOC (Regional Point of Command) covers the East Midlands and East Anglia; an area the size of Belgium. He then gave an overview of the Reserve units across the region, of which 3rd Battalion, Royal Anglian Regiment are one of the key ones. He discussed the wealth of experience and qualifications Reservists can take from their military career into their civilian career.
Lt Col Woodeson, a Regular Army Officer, has commanded 3 Royal Anglian for the best part of two years and discussed how humbled he was by a Reservists weekend. How after a manic, busy working week they switch into military mode, drive to their unit on a Friday evening, deploy for weekend training, return to loved ones late Sunday evening and then again give 100% to their employers on a Monday morning. First hand he has witnessed how supercharged and driven Reservists are to transfer their military leadership, command and medical skills back into their civilian careers.
Kristina Carrington guided the audience through the partnering with Defence process encompassing the Armed Forces Covenant and its principles and how an organisation can progress through the ERS Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.
The audience asked numerous questions about how individuals can join the Reserve Forces, the selection process and the level of commitment required.
Following the talk, guests had the opportunity to enjoy the Royal Norfolk Show for the rest of day, with many moving on to enjoy the military discovery zone and meet with local Royal Air Force and Army Regular and Reserve units.