RFCA Member Jim Wright was awarded a Meritorious Service certificate by HM Lord-Lieutenant Northamptonshire in his home county. The citation described Jim as “an ardent and staunch friend to the Defence community, an engine room of activity and enthusiasm and force-multiplier for good across the East Midlands and beyond.”
Jim said: “I feel very humbled and proud; I didn’t expect it at all!” But for over 30 years, Jim has advocated for Reserves, Cadet Force volunteers and veterans’ employment, encouraging dozens of businesses to complete an Armed Forces Covenant pledge so employees feel their contributions to Defence and the betterment of our nation’s youth are celebrated and enabled. This year alone, Jim has helped over 80 companies sign the Armed Forces Covenant.
Jim Wright chairs the Bedfordshire RFCA Employer Engagement Group and is the Deputy Chair of the Northamptonshire RFCA Employer Engagement group on a voluntary basis, and he is a former Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committee member. His logistics compliance company has been awarded a Gold ERS Award by the Ministry of Defence.
He recounted in an article for EM RFCA: “I knew of a company that had two Reservists being deployed to Bosnia. The boss didn’t like the idea; he didn’t recognise the contributions the reservists were making to the country and the organisation, and so he was going to let them go. I was not happy about that and engaged with the local Employer Engagement team from the Ministry of Defence, and managed to convince him to support them both. That incident in the 90s was the beginning of my long involvement.”
Under the direction of the RFCA Regional Employer Engagement Board (REEB), the Regional Employer Engagement Group (REEG) includes the leaders of the reserve units in our area and leaders of the RFCA county employer engagement groups. Their goals are to:
- Enhance the status of the Volunteer Reserve Force (VRF) among employers, peer groups and families of members of Reserve Forces.
- Enlist the demonstrable support of employers for those employees who are, or may wish to become, members of the VRF, and support to Reserve service.
- Improve retention rates amongst members of the VRF.
Reporting into the REEG are the RFCA’s county employer Engagement groups; made up of 26 members representing employers in each of the counties in our region. The aims of the county groups are to:
- Encourage employers to develop their support for the Armed Forces by signing up to the Armed Forces Covenant.
- Raise awareness of the Reserve Forces among employers, aiding recruitment and retention.
- Nominate employers for Awards under the MOD’s Employer Recognition Scheme.
- Identify opportunities to recognise and reward employers for their support.
East Anglia RFCA’s members like Jim Wright are proactive in using their networks to advocate for the Reserves and Cadets in the region.