On Thursday 6th October 2022, employers and organisations from across the South East attended a ceremony at HMS Warrior in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard to receive their Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Awards; the Ministry of Defence’s highest badge of honour in recognition of supporting the Armed Forces Community.
Nationally, a record breaking 156 organisations received the award this year and similar to the previous year, instead of one national event, multiple regional ceremonies were organised to celebrate those that employ and support individuals who serve, are veterans and their families.
Colonel Patrick Crowley, Chief Executive of South East Reserve Forces & Cadets Association said: “HMS Warrior has been a fantastic venue for this year’s Gold awards. This year we’ve got sixteen new gold recipients as well as three who have been revalidated for another five years. These are all organisations, both private and public, who have signed up to the Employer Recognition Scheme and have moved up the ladder from bronze to gold. That means they are real advocates of the scheme, which is mutual benefit for both the employers and to Defence.”
The evening commenced with a spectacular Chinook fly past provided by Joint Helicopter command. Guests also enjoyed music from the RAF Salon Orchestra and Sussex Air Training Corps Cadet Piper. In addition to these were displays from The King’s Colour Squadron, formerly the Queen’s Colour Squadron, and The Band of His Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood.
The Chief of Defence People, Lieutenant General James Swift, who presented the awards, added: “During my tenure I have had the privilege of attending the Employer Recognition Scheme awards and recognising all the work employers do for the Armed Forces Community. The 2022 South East ERS Gold Awards was an opportunity for me to personally thank all nineteen organisations for the work they do to support Defence and those connected with it”
To win an award, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for Reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for veterans, Reserves, and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, as well as spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces. Organisations must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community by encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme.
On winning gold, Dr Tracey Leghorn, Chief HR and H&S Officer for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK said: “I am absolutely delighted that we have received the prestigious gold award in recognition of our support for the armed forces community. Our veterans are a great asset to SUEZ and we are committed to helping them develop fulfilling careers with us.”
Dave Shaw, Veteran of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and Fleet Manager for SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said: “An incredible amount of hard work has gone into the development of SUEZ’s veterans’ network since its inception in 2018. The level of support that SUEZ gives to the armed forces community is fantastic and it continues to be reviewed and improved with input from veterans.”
Shaun Cunningham, Group Commander for Fire and Rescue Service added: “Everybody throughout our organisation is extremely proud to have received the Gold award. There has been a lot of hard work from the crews on the ground at the fire stations up through to the support staff, the Chief Fire Officer and to the Chair of the Fire Authority.”
Gold Award Recipients in 2022:
- Absolute Military
- Ashford and St. Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust
- Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service
- Catalyze Ltd
- Esri (UK) Ltd
- Hampshire Constabulary
- Isle of Wight Council
- Kent Police
- NATS Limited
- NHS Kent and Medway Integrated Board
- QA Limited
- Roke Manor Research Ltd
- SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK
- Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
- The Royal Engineers Central Charitable Trust
Gold Award Revalidations in 2022:
- Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
- Mabway Limited
- South Central Ambulance Service