More than 3,000 businesses across the UK have now signed the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC), as organisations of all sizes and sectors pledge their support for Reservists, Veterans and the wider Armed Forces family.
A recent visit by HRFCA to the Isle of Lewis saw three small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) put pen to paper and officially pledge their support to the Armed Forces community.
Cala Hotels Ltd, A D Macdonald & Son and BeSpoke Bicycle (Hebrides) Ltd signed the Covenant at the Army Reserve Centre in Stornoway this week. This takes the number of AFC signings on the island to 10 – all in a town less than three square miles in size!
The surge in Armed Forces Covenants in the Outer Hebrides has been driven by Captain Malcolm Dalzel-Job, the officer commanding the Hebrides platoon of 7 Scots Reservists; he also signed all three Covenants on behalf of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
Captain Dalzel-Job said: “In a small close-knit community like this, Reservists are very visible and well-known members of the community.
“It is vital that we have good relationships with their employers so that the soldiers can be released for training and exercises. The employers then see that their staff members are bringing skills and expertise back to the business and so everyone benefits. The Islands have a long and proud history of supporting the Armed Forces, and I am delighted at the engagement going on here and the partnership work with HRFCA.”
Hotel Manager Christine Miller signed on behalf of Cala Hotels – the holding company for Caberfeidh Hotel, Caladh Inn and Royal Hotel, all of which are located in Stornoway and offer traditional Hebridean hospitality.
BeSpoke Bicycle (Hebrides) Ltd was signed by Owner Alistair Glover. BeSpoke Bicycle run a fully-kitted mobile workshop which can fix any bike related problem on your doorstep.
Manager John MacDonald signed for A D MacDonald & Son – a small family run plumbing company that services accommodation throughout the Outer Hebrides.
HRFCA Regional Employer Engagement Director Michelle McKearnon travelled to Stornoway to witness the three signings.
She said: “The three Covenants demonstrate that every business, regardless of size has something to gain from recruiting and working with the Armed Forces community.
“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; with two SMEs on the Island having already received their Bronze awards this year.”