RFCA engagement team builds links between the military and business community in Essex

Representatives from 60 firms across Essex came to Merville Barracks early on Thursday 5th October for a networking breakfast event with soldiers, organised by East Anglia Reserve Forces and Cadets Association engagement team.

The event was organised by East Anglia RFCA to improve awareness of the military among business, to encourage firms to support their employees serving in the Reserves and to highlight employment opportunities for veterans and the families of serving soldiers.

As part of the event, Colchester City Council and London Drainage Facilities signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a voluntary pledge to articulate their support for the Armed Forces community to ensure those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, don’t face disadvantage in work and in accessing local services. Colchester Garrison Commander Lt Col Ed Rankin co-signed the pledges with representatives from both companies at the event.

RFCA Regional Employer Engagement Director Jo Horn explained to guests how the AFC pledge helps veterans, military spouses or reservists like herself and their employers to recognise the mutual benefits and opportunities they offer one another. 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 through the RFCA’s Defence Relationship Management department.

Deputy Commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, Col Jim Loudoun OBE, gave a presentation for guests about the role of Colchester-based 16 Air Assault Brigade, the British Army’s global response force. Guests then toured the barracks to see some of the weaponry, signalling and medical equipment used by troops and they were shown how paratroopers carry out parachuting ground training. The event also included a tour of the Urban Training facility, and interactive stands displaying various trades of Reserve and Regular Army.

Six of the eleven Gold Employer Recognition Scheme recipients in East Anglia this year are based in Essex, having demonstrated their outstanding support to Defence. Almost 300 organisations in Essex have signed the Armed Forces Covenant pledge already. The county is home to an estimated 76,000 veterans, 700 adults volunteering in the uniformed cadet organisations (CCF, Sea, Air, Army) as well as reservists training out of Army Reserve Centres in Colchester, Chelmsford, Brentwood and Southend.

To attend an upcoming event like this one, to arrange a military guest to co-sign your company Armed Forces Covenant pledge or to join the growing number of supportive employers who have received recognition from the Ministry of Defence, contact us today.

Photos courtesy of Cpl Stone, British Army

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