On Thursday 3 November, seven organisations from the Lowlands of Scotland received the Gold Employer Recognition Scheme Award.
Held in the Great Hall at Stirling Castle, the event was hosted in conjunction with Highland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association.
In total 15 Scottish organisations were presented with their awards by General Officer Scotland Major General Bill Wright CBE.
Guests were treated to a musical accompaniment by the Royal Marines Corps of Drums, who excellently set the tone for the evening.
The stunning venue, inspirational speeches and military music made for an exceptionally enjoyable evening which allowed like-minded individuals to network and to celebrate their efforts together.
A total of 156 organisations have been recognised by the UK Government for their outstanding support towards the Armed Forces community.
Representing the highest badge of honour, the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award identifies businesses that employ and support those who serve, veterans and their families.
Of the winners, 44% are either micro-organisations or small and medium sized enterprises, while 33% are public organisations. This demonstrates both the growth in numbers and the depth of supportive employers. 10% of this year’s winners are based in Scotland.
Commodore Martin Quinn FCIS, FCG, FIoD, Head of Reserves, said:
‘It is tremendously encouraging to see such a variety of businesses and organisations from across Scotland winning the Gold Employer Recognition Scheme Award this year.
‘These awards distinguish those employers who continually seek to support both past and present members of our Armed Forces. I would like to thank each and every one for their invaluable efforts.’
Charlie Cook, Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association Regional Employer Engagement Director, said:
‘Receiving the Gold ERS Award is a staggeringly impressive achievement which only comes as a result of an organisation’s hard work, commitment, and flexibility. Each of this year’s winners have demonstrated a resolute dedication to ensuring that those who have served or continue to serve in His Majesty’s Forces are treated fairly and given every opportunity to flourish. Many congratulations to this year’s recipients who are all playing their part in the Defence of the Nation.’
This year’s winners from the Lowlands were:
With over 11,000 employees, Arnold Clark is one of Scotland’s largest private enterprises, and since signing its Armed Forces Covenant four years ago it has also grown to be one of the most outspoken advocates for the Armed Forces community in the Lowlands.
Having achieved the ERS Silver Award in 2021, Arnold Clark has continued building upon its already impressive HR policies to ensure fair opportunities for Reservists in its workforce, including promoting the Employer Recognition Scheme throughout its vast network and speaking at a Transition Road Show for service leavers and their families.
Graham Sloan, Group Employee Engagement Manager at Arnold Clark, said:
‘The Arnold Clark Group is incredibly proud to be recognised by the Armed Forces Covenant – it’s a real honour to receive the Gold Award.
‘We pride ourselves on being a Forces-friendly organisation that recognises the valuable contribution Reservists make within the UK Armed Forces, their communities and the civilian workplace. We seek to ensure that those who currently serve in the Armed Forces, those who have served in the past, and their families, are welcomed and supported in our workplaces. This is something we raise awareness of both internally, with a well-communicated and robust Reservist policy and comprehensive management training, and externally, through our recruitment activity and social media channels. We also work with key organisations and stakeholders in the Armed Forces community on an ongoing basis to explore new and innovative ways of supporting veterans.
‘This award is impactful as it will help to raise the profile of the Group within the Armed Forces community and amplify the positive work we are doing in this area. Progression is one of our key values and ultimately, we want to be able to offer everyone long and fulfilling careers at Arnold Clark.’
GalloGlas Group Ltd. specialises in providing security, training, logistics and environmental services, and has gone above and beyond in advocating for both the Armed Forces Covenant and Employer Recognition Scheme throughout the south west of Scotland since picking up its Silver Award in 2021. As well as being named Scottish Veteran Employer of the Year 2022, Richie Nicholl (CEO) was also awarded as Scottish Entrepreneur of the Year 2022.
The organisation is a regular sponsor of the Cadet Adult Recognition Awards (CARAs), has offered its facilities for hosting Lowland RFCA events, and maintains strong relationships with its local military groups, which in itself is no small feat in a sprawling rural area.
Richie Nicholl, GalloGlas Group CEO, said:
‘We are absolutely delighted to be recognised and awarded the Gold Award. As a veteran-owned company we continually look to recruit and help veterans and their families into employment. This has been an amazing year with the company winning two National Veterans Awards for Entrepreneur and Employer of the Year for Scotland, so getting the Gold just tops this off amazingly.’
As a member of the Royal British Legion group of military charities, Poppyscotland plays a major role in supporting past and present members of the Armed Forces community. This year has seen Poppyscotland launch several campaigns commemorating the 40th anniversary of the ending of the Falklands War, and has worked closely with the Royal British Legion to produce a report for the 10th anniversary of the Armed Forces Covenant, highlighting the advances in awareness, involvement and support that the Covenant has generated for the Defence community over the last decade.
Austin Hardie, Director of Poppyscotland, said:
‘Poppyscotland is Scotland’s leading Armed Forces charity, supporting veterans, serving personnel, and their families with a wide range of services, advice and financial support. As an employer working directly at the heart of the Armed Forces community, we feel it is important to show leadership and highlight the benefits of employing and supporting members of this community. Not only do veterans, Reservists, and other members of the Defence community have a unique insight into the issues we work with, they also have numerous transferable skills which benefit our organisation.
‘We are delighted to win this award, as it is testimony to the values of Poppyscotland and our commitment to those who have served and are serving currently. By espousing these values publicly, we also hope that it will inspire others and encourage them to be involved in our life-changing welfare work.’
Inverroy Crisis Management
Dedicated to helping businesses in multiple industries better understand potential crises and how best to handle them, Inverroy Crisis Management earned its ERS Silver Award in 2021 thanks to its generous leave policy for Reservist colleagues and its immense support for the veteran community. Since then, 83% of the permanent staff taken on by the organisation have been connected to the Armed Forces as Reservists, veterans and spouses. Moreover, Inverroy Crisis Management continues to donate to veterans’ charities, and support resettlement workshops for service leavers.
Matthew Wardner, MA, MBA, MBCI, Founder and Managing Director of Inverroy Crisis Management, said:
‘Inverroy Crisis Management is a proud supporter of the Armed Forces. With 83% of our staff comprising veterans, service spouses and Reservists, we are committed to providing opportunities, guidance and support to those no longer in active duty. Inverroy is delighted to have gained the Gold Award of the Employer Recognition Scheme as we continue to support Defence and inspire other organisations to do the same.’
Joint Force Alba Ltd.
Managed by and working for veterans, Joint Force Alba Ltd. is Scotland’s only recruitment agency specialising in matching employers to candidates who are service leavers. The organisation is a regular attendee at workshops and events held by Lowland RFCA and the wider Defence network, and has expanded its own recruitment network by signing up to both Career Transition Partnership (CTP) and Forces Families Jobs (FFJ).
Emma Davies, Managing Director, said:
‘As a veteran-owned and run business supporting ex-Armed Forces employment in Scotland, we are over the moon to have our work recognised in this way. Being a relatively young and small business, this is a huge accolade for us and is a demonstration of our commitment to the whole military community, particularly in Scotland. It also shows that you don’t need to be a large organisation to achieve this Gold standard. We’re looking forward to continuing our work to support the Forces community in Scotland and to promote them to employers.’
St Andrews Timber & Building Supplies (West)
Since winning the ERS Silver Award in 2020, St Andrews Timber & Building Supplies (WEST) Ltd. has built up a strong working relationship with Lowland RFCA and the broader Defence community, actively recruiting Reservists and advocating the benefits of the Armed Forces Covenant to its network of clients and suppliers. As well as guaranteeing up to 10 days of paid leave for any Reservist colleagues, St Andrews Timber took the extra step of supporting the mobilisation of a Reservist staff member to South Sudan, working together to cover the absence and assisting with the transition back into civilian work following a back-to-back tour.
Margaret Ann Speirs, Officer Manager, said:
‘We at St Andrews Timber (West) Ltd. are very honoured to receive this prestigious award. We have worked on this journey with Lowland Reserve Forces’ & Cadets’ Association since 2019 when our Reservist (John Shorts) was mobilised for a tour in Africa. Due to exceptional circumstances, we were contacted and asked if we could support the nation by extending our employee’s military tour for a further period. Even though this impacted on our business we were happy to support this request!
‘Our journey will not cease on attaining the Gold ERS award! We at St Andrews Timber will continue to support the Armed Forces family by promoting and advocating the Armed Forces Covenant and MOD Employer Recognition Award to our customers, partners and suppliers.’
As a proud advocate for the Reserve and Cadet Forces, Sked Construction displays its Armed Forces Covenant logo across its fleet, and has been an enthusiastic sponsor of the Cadet Adult Recognition Awards (CARAs). The strong working relationship between the company and the Defence community is often seen through Sked Construction’s attendance at military networking events, and through its collaboration with Armed Forces recruitment resources including CTP, FFJ and the REME Association Jobs Agency (RAJA).
Stephen Sked, Director of Sked Construction, said:
‘Since signing the Armed Forces Covenant I have bought into the whole ethos of supporting those who serve or who have served. Last year we won Silver and that just spurred us on to go and do all that we could to win Gold. We are regular attenders at Lowland RFCA events and I am constantly encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant.
‘My family were heavily involved in the Armed Forces, consequently I’ve always had a close affiliation with the Forces. I am in awe of how much Service Personnel do and the sacrifices they have made.
‘Winning Gold is really significant for us, as it recognises our commitment to Reservists, Veterans and others in the Defence community.’
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