Almost 2,000 businesses across the UK have now signed the Armed Forces Covenant, as organisations of all sizes and sectors pledge their support for Reservists, Veterans and the wider Armed Forces family.
This variety was very much in evidence in Stornoway last week when two very different businesses put pen to paper in the workplace.
Western Isles NHS re-signed their original Covenant with new pledges and a desire to offer more support to Reservists.
Chief Executive Gordon Jamieson commented on how the NHS has benefitted from medical Reservists bringing back new skills and techniques from their deployment, in particular trauma care learned at Camp Bastion. This work has been so innovative and successful that most NHS hospitals across the UK now use the so-called Bastion Protocol in dealing rapidly with trauma patients’ radiology requirement. An excellent example of skills acquired in the military being transferred into the civilian workplace.
Blackhouse Bakery then became the first private sector business in the Outer Hebrides to sign the Covenant, with Director Becca Engebretsen keen to show support for the first Reservist on their workforce, James Morgan.
“James has been working for us for six years now. He is a great employee and we will always back him in whatever he chooses to do outside of the bakery,” said Becca.
“Having been in the Cadets myself I understand a bit about what the Army has to offer and we are really pleased that James wants to give up his spare time to pursue a career in the Army Reserves. Signing the Armed Forces Covenant is our way of showing our support.”
Both of the Covenants were co-signed on behalf of the MoD by Captain Malcolm Dalzel-Job, OC C Company of 7 Scots.
HRFCA Regional Employer Engagement Director Michelle McKearnon travelled to Stornoway to witness the two signings.
She said: “The two Covenants demonstrate that every business, regardless of size has something to gain from recruiting and working with Armed Forces personnel and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers.
“The business benefits from the amount of personal development training which their Reservist staff receive – up to £8K per year – and from the skills which they bring into the workforce. Organisations who have signed the Covenant can also be put forward for Bronze, Silver and Gold awards through the Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme; and we will be working with both NHS Western Isles and the Blackhouse Bakery to help them achieve these standards.”