193 organisations awarded Gold ERS 2023 for their support towards the Armed Forces Community

Nearly 200 organisations have been recognised with a Ministry of Defence Gold ERS 2023 award for supporting the Armed Forces community.

This is a record high since the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme launched in 2013. In East Anglia, the Gold ERS 2023 is awarded to 11 organisations :

  • Reactive Integrated Services
  • Brentwood Borough Council
  • East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust
  • James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
  • Johnson Controls
  • Lotus Cars Ltd
  • Seetec Business Technology Centre Ltd
  • Vertas Group
  • Essex Bulk Services Ltd
  • Magpas Air Ambulance

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award, the highest badge of honour, recognises employers who commit to eliminating disadvantage for the Armed Forces community.

Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison said: I would like to thank all the organisations that have been recognised in this year’s awards. I’m delighted that we have seen so many organisations recognised with a gold award. Their continued support demonstrates the unique benefits and strengths that our Armed Forces community can bring to the workplace.”

This year, organisations across a range of sectors including transportation, education, finance, and healthcare have received a Gold ERS 2023 award.

  • 28% are either micro or small sized organisations,
  • 47% are large organisations with over 500 employees.

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, delivered by the RFCA Defence Relationship Management department, has a current total of 641 Gold ERS Award holders. The Regional Employer Engagement team for East Anglia is a local point of call for reservists’ employers on behalf of Defence Relationship Management for the Ministry of Defence. The department works closely with organisations who wish to deepen their relationship with the military and steers them in the right direction. Support includes providing information on legal rights and responsibilities as an employer; reserves’ and adult volunteers’ training commitments and how they can affect employers; and guidance on how to get the best out of your reserve or cadet force adult volunteer employee. 

Embedded in the RFCA, the Regional Employer Engagement Directors (REED), can also help employers access events and opportunities organised by the Armed Forces, including:

The REED and the county RFCA Employer Engagement groups also nurture a network of employers who are supportive of the Armed Forces, and encourage more employers to sign the Armed Forces Covenant, or apply for a Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Award.

To win a Gold award from the Ministry of Defence, organisations must advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community, by encouraging other organisations to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage with the Employer Recognition Scheme.
They must also provide 10 extra paid days leave for reservists, and have supportive HR policies in place for reservists, veterans, Cadet Force adult volunteers and the spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.

This year, Marks & Spencer Plc, Motorola Solutions UK Ltd, Hilton and Toyota Manufacturing UK are among the household names that have been recognised, alongside many small organisations including the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.

Director of Corporate Affairs and Forces Community Network Sponsor at M&S, Victoria McKenzie-Gould said:

‘One of the things I’m most proud of as a colleague at M&S is our history of supporting our Forces. I’m proud that spirit lives on, led by our amazing Forces Community Network, who have helped steer us in just a few years from Bronze to now Gold accreditation in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. From working actively to recruit Forces leavers to giving reservists time off to play their part serving our country, it’s fantastic to see this recognised by the Ministry of Defence. Thank you to them and more importantly to our fantastic Armed Forces community.”

CEO at Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, Sharon Smith said:

“As a Gold Award holder, we will continue to promote our advocacy via support and collaboration with members, through our events and via regular engagement with businesses across the two counties. We will also ensure that HR policies are updated, so that Armed Forces community are not disadvantaged; to include a comprehensive Reserve Forces Training Mobilisation policy.”

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