Some of Yorkshire and the Humber’s leading forces-friendly organisations were honoured last night when the region’s four His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenants came together to pay tribute to their contributions at a ceremony hosted by the RFCA .
Seventeen employers, which included commercial companies, NHS bodies and a college, were all first-time winners of prestigious Silver Awards under the Government’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. A further nine organisations had their existing Silver Awards revalidated in recognition of their sustained support for reserves, cadet force adult volunteers and military veterans.
They were all presented with their awards at an event in York whose significance was marked by the attendance of all four of the region’s His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenants. It is one of only a handful events in the civic calendar attended by all four Lord-Lieutenants and each of the Lord-Lieutenants presented Silver Award certificates to recipients from their county.
Thanks to employers
RFCA vice chair (Army) Colonel Lisa Brooks said:
“I would like to thank all employers of reservists, of cadet force adult volunteers and veterans for all the support they give the military. Because we couldn’t do it without you.
“A good employer makes a huge difference to military reservists and veterans that they know they have the employers support. And this is because the employer understands the skills they gain from their employee serving or having served in the forces – skills such as leadership, teamwork and communication.”
First time winners
- Acumen Waste Services Ltd – Director of compliance, Adam Hindson said: “We are immensely proud to receive the Employer Recognition Scheme Armed Forces Covenant Silver Award. This award recognizes our outstanding support of those who are serving or have previously served in the Armed Forces and their dependents. Acumen remains committed to providing opportunities for those who have served, our Reserves and the wider Armed Forces community. Since our previous Bronze Award, we’ve continued to show our support to this community by offering our Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers additional enhanced terms and conditions, as well as fundraising to support a number of Armed Forces charities.”
- AESSEAL plc – Innovation manager and veterans lead Darren Jones said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this prestigious accolade. As silver award winners, AESSEAL is extremely proud to be nationally recognised for going above our covenant pledges to support defence and the armed forces community. Committed to the covenant, and awarded Bronze status in 2021, AESSEAL acknowledges and understands that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives. Equally, we recognise the huge value that defence and the armed forces community brings to our business, and we are extremely proud to support defence and the armed forces community. Moving forward, and working with the ERS initiative, we hope to achieve Gold status in the near future.”
- Engineering UTC Northern Lincolnshire – Principal Anesta McCullagh said: “We are extremely pleased to announce that we are now holders of the Armed Forces Covenant Silver Award. This award is a great honour to hold, and we are proud of all of our links and partnerships with the armed forces, from members of our staff who are ex-military or spouses of military, to working in partnership with the forces to inspire our young people across our college. Thank you to RFCA for helping us to achieve.”
- Genesis Protection Services
- GEV Wind Power – Chief executive David Fletcher said: “We are proud to be supporting those who have and continue to serve and encourage individuals leaving the armed forces to consider a career in the wind energy industry given the many transferable skills that exist. We have always recognised the outstanding talent that is developed by the armed forces and that our industry is a natural step for individuals to further develop their careers and professional development. Our team will now actively work to progress our level of support to achieve the gold award standard”.
- Gough & Kelly Security Ltd – Senior operations manager Richard Cuff said: “We see every day the positive contribution that veterans make to our workforce and business. They provide invaluable insight and experience in civilian security situations as well as transferable skills that benefit the entire team. We are honoured to receive the silver employer recognition award, we are committed to continuing and advancing our support of those previously or currently employed with the armed forces.”
- Health Education England – Chief executive Dr Navina Evans said: “Health Education England has been committed to working towards this award and I am so pleased that our colleagues have had an active role in supporting us to get there. We know how much this means to many of our colleagues here at HEE and this award shows our dedication to our colleagues who are part of the armed forces community.”
- Intertrain (UK) Ltd
- KH Plant Training Limited – Director Kieron Honeyman said: “I feel the armed forces both serving, and veterans offer themselves in service of our country, its peoples and the freedoms we take for granted, based on their continued sacrifices both at home and on foreign soils often facing hardship and adversities. For this we at KH Plant Training thank you and will continue in the future to support you in whatever manner we are able.”
- Leeds and York NHS Partnership Foundation Trust – Joanna Forster Adams, Chief Operating Officer and Emergency Accountable Officer, said: “LYPFT are very proud to have been granted the ERS Silver Award, building on our Bronze award and Veteran Aware status, demonstrating our commitment as an employer to support the Armed Forces. It is a fantastic recognition of our dedication to veterans’ employment and recruitment practices supporting the armed forces community. We want to build on this work, do more as an employer, and advocate for people who have served.”
- Marvel Projects Ltd – Managing director Ash Hibberd said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded the Silver Award and stepping up from our previous success of achieving the bronze award. Having family, friends and associates being linked to the forces in different ways, it highlights the importance of those in the service that take the pledge. But, it is equally as important that we support these people when their service is over. At Marvel we take this seriously, we do this by investing in these people and giving them opportunity, the scheme is pivotal to the success for both sides of the coin and we will continue to support it along the way to achieving gold status.”
- Northern Lincolnshire & Goole NHS Foundation Trust Veteran’s Champion, Deputy Director of Estates and Facilities, Simon Tighe, said: “We are extremely proud to have been given an Armed Forces Covenant Silver Award for our work in supporting veterans and serving members of the forces in Northern Lincolnshire and Goole, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We know how important it is to understand your additional needs when providing care in our hospitals and in the community. We are also committed to helping those of you who have left the forces to adapt to civilian life, by providing career opportunities. There are many life skills that are transferrable from the military into the NHS, and we are happy to support you into this next phase of your career.”
- Offploy CIC – Managing director Jacob Hill said: “I am delighted to receive the MoD ERS Silver Award. Offploy was founded to give people another chance in life and it is absolutely right that we include veterans and reservists in our business. This award is a fantastic recognition that Offploy understands the skills and experience that veterans and reservists can bring to us as an employer and we are grateful to the Ministry of Defence for giving us the prestigious Silver Award.”
- Pennine Energy Resources – Talent acquisition partner and former army officer Dan Wilkinson said: “Recognising the skills that ex-military personnel can bring to business is something that we at Pennine Energy Resources are deeply passionate about. We will continue to work hard for service personnel in order to break down the barriers between two entities that have been, historically, wary of each other. We are delighted to earn this Silver Award for the Employer Recognition Scheme.”
- Purple Dog Ltd
- Sheffield Hallam University – Director of human resources and organisational development Tracey Hulme said: “We’ve recently updated our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant in 2022. I’m really pleased that we’ve been recognised with the Silver Defence Employer Recognition award. Our Reserve Forces make a huge to contribution to their communities and the civilian workplace. We’re committed to our civic responsibilities as a university, we inspire people to realise their potential and begin life-changing journeys, where collaboration means working together to solve problems and challenge the status quo. This award truly recognises how we achieve this for both our staff and our students.”
- The National Horseracing College – Chief executive Colonel (Retired) Stephen Padget OBE said: “Trustees, staff, learners and supporters of the NHC are delighted that the College has achieved the 2022 Silver Award under the MoD’s Employer Recognition Scheme. The NHC employs several veterans and its terms of employment ensure also that staff may undertake commitments as Reservists or with cadets without being disadvantaged in any way compared to others. We believe this is important for our Country, to society and it delivers advantages to our business by helping us to retain great people.”
- Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust – Director of strategy Matt Graham said: “We are extremely proud to have retained our Silver Employer Recognition Award. Our Trust employs a significant number of veterans and reservists who have, and continue to make, immense sacrifices to keep us all safe. We owe them a great debt and it is important that as an employer we treat them fairly, make sure they are not disadvantaged and support them however we can. It is fantastic to be recognised at silver status, but there is more we can achieve in the future, and I hope that our efforts will lead to us achieving gold status”.
- Hull Kingston Rovers Community Trust – Chief executive Craig Shepherd: “As someone whose Father and Grandpa served in the Armed Forces, I am incredibly proud to lead an organisation that has been granted the Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award for 2022. We will continue to do our utmost to support those who are serving currently along with veterans, who have proudly served, and their families in the communities of the local Humber region.”
- Leeds City Council’s Armed Forces Champions – Councillors Jane Dowson, Caroline Gruen and Gohar Almass said: “We are delighted and humbled that we have our silver status revalidated. Leeds is proudly a diverse and inclusive city where everyone is welcome, especially veterans and those in active service who put their lives on the line to ensure the rest of us live safely. The work however does not stop here, as we aim to achieve gold status and make the city a shining example of our values.”
- Persimmon Homes – Group HR director Richard Latham: “Persimmon has been a proud signatory to the Armed Forces Covenant for a number of years. That is why we are particularly delighted to have again achieved a Silver Award in its Employer Recognition Scheme. We look forward to maintaining our engagement, including informing service personnel about the opportunities a career at Persimmon can provide. New recruits would join many other ex-service personnel who are already valued colleagues and demonstrate the benefits the Armed Forces Covenant bring to both our business and the individuals themselves.”
- Snugpak – Sales director Darren Burrel: “We are delighted to have our Armed Forces Covenant Silver Award revalidated. It has been a badge of honour, an excellent way to open conversations with customers worldwide about our policies and passion for supporting the Armed Forces community. We look forward to redoubling our efforts to secure a Gold Award in the future.”
- University of Bradford – Director of people Joanne Marshall said: “We are delighted to have received revalidation for a further 5 years in recognition of the University’s support to the Armed Forces. We are the place to be to make a difference, we value the strengths that existing and prospective colleagues from the armed forces community can bring to our team. We look forward to building on our commitment as we strive for our gold award.”
- West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service – Deputy chief fire officer/director of service delivery said: “Revalidating our Silver award is important to WYFRS, and we are delighted to be recognised once again. We acknowledge the complex world that we operate within, and firmly believe that no single organisation is equipped to resolve all of the issues we are challenged by. We will work with the Armed Forces community by way of a joint endeavour to be the best that we collectively can. Now the pandemic is behind us we will strive to achieve a Gold award.”