Five Scottish lowland employers are to receive a top award from the Ministry of Defence for their outstanding support for the Armed Forces.
Glasgow building contractor, City Building LLP, City of Edinburgh Council, Edinburgh Napier University, Midlothian Council and Rangers Football Club will be presented with the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award – the highest badge of honour available to those that employ and support serving men, women, veterans and their families.
Each winner of the Gold Award has signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a commitment to supporting Defence through services, policy and projects.
And employers have went above and beyond with their support through engaging with initiatives such as employing veterans, supporting individuals transitioning out of the armed forces into a new career and providing flexibility for reservists.
As one of Scotland’s largest construction firms, City Building have filled two new vacancies with serving military reservists and support them through paid leave, job security and aid serving individuals and their families before, during and after mobilisation.
The company’s Executive Director, Dr Graham Paterson, said: “We support the lowland reservist units that our employees are attached to in practical ways such as financial support for family fun days, Christmas gifts and the provision of training for other reservists.
“Our managers participate in reserve forces exercises and we advocate the benefits of the Armed Forces Covenant and the employment of reservists to our internal workforce through our intranet and also externally to our supply chain.”
Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, Prof Andrea Nolan, praised the institute’s ground-breaking research into complex PTSD and educational support for all ranks of ex-service personnel.
Prof Nolan said: “I am now delighted that we have become the first university in Scotland to receive this gold award as recognition of the work we do with our Armed Forces and their families.”
City of Edinburgh Council led work to inform the UK government’s consultation on veterans, reviewed and updated their Reserve Forces Training and Mobilisation policy and has sought to create an Armed Forces network to further support their employees.
Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh and Armed Forces and Veterans Champion, Frank Ross, said: “We have a strong forces community in Edinburgh and we’ve found the skills people develop in service really valuable for the wider working environment.
“I’m thrilled our forces-friendly credentials have now been recognised with the highest standard possible, the gold award.”
As part of Armed Forces Week 2019, Midlothian Council set up a new Armed Forces Network for employees and ran internal communication campaigns. This provided an overview of the unique challenges of service life and sets out how employees can support the serving community at a local level.
Midlothian Provost and Armed Forces Champion, Councillor Peter Smaill said: “This award is a great honour for Midlothian and tribute to all those involved in supporting the Armed Forces Community at a local and national level.
“We are extremely proud of the contribution made by our Armed Forces and in return we help provide support on a range of issues for serving personnel, veterans, reservists and their families within our community and our workforce.”
The Glasgow club and Rangers Charity Foundation offer serving personnel match ticket discounts and support a number of service charities working with existing and ex-forces personnel including Erskine, Poppyscotland, SSAFA and Combat Stress and further provide community programmes for veterans.
Rangers Managing Director Stewart Robertson said: “Achieving the Gold Award is a wonderful recognition for both the Club and Foundation and I would like to pay tribute to everyone within Rangers, as well as our supporters, who have contributed to this important work over many years.”
Rangers Manager, Steven Gerrard, added: “This is proud moment for everyone at the Club and Foundation, who I know work hard to support serving Armed Forces personnel and veterans each season.
“I hope that the fans will join us all in celebrating this special award – it’s well deserved.”
One hundred UK employers will be recognised for their support to the armed forces with the ERS Gold Award by Defence Minister Ben Wallace on 12 November 2019 at the National Army Museum in London.
“Regardless of size, location or sector, employing ex-forces personnel is good for business and this year we have doubled the number of awards in recognition of the fantastic support they give.”
Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer said: “Veterans make a huge contribution to businesses across the country and it’s fantastic to see a record breaking number of organisations recognised for their support.
“We’re working closely with businesses to help them further understand the huge value that veterans, reservists and military spouses can bring to their organisation.”
Colin Vooght, Head of Engagement at Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA), the organisation which manages relationships between employers and defence in Scotland, said: “I would like to congratulate the wide variety of different organisations who received a Gold Award this year. This proves companies and institutions of all sizes and sectors can play their part in supporting the armed forces community in Scotland.
“I am delighted that these employers have been recognised with the Ministry of Defence’s highest award and look forward to continuing to work alongside each of the award winners in the future.”
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