As you know, dear Readers, you normally have your instalment of our Blog “REED in the Wind” on a monthly basis but as we surface from summer activities, relentless rain and annual leave, we notice that not one, but two months have slipped by! When did that happen? The trees at Seathwood are starting to change colour and there is a distinct scent of autumn in the air already.
So where have we been, and what have we been up to this fine Scottish Summer?
The Engagement team is now up to full strength with both our new REED Jim and new admin officer Bethany, settled in and doing their thing. This takes our motley crew to seven humans and one bear – but there could be more news on bear numbers coming soon – watch this space…
July saw a lot of in-house training and re-organising as we worked on our new engagement plan for the next 12 months. Lots of ideas put forward and some interesting new comms strategies which we will introduce as we try and utilise every channel open to us to communicate with employers, employees and service personnel. From the recent edition of our hard copy magazine High-Light to the latest animation and video software for our social media feeds, there is really no stone left unturned in getting the message across that Reservists, Cadets and Military Spouses are good for business, and that business can benefit in so many ways from engaging with Defence.
Which leads me nicely to the big news over the summer; the announcement of our Gold and Silver Employer Recognition Scheme Award winners for 2019. We were absolutely delighted that six organisations in our area had been awarded Gold this year, a record haul. Massive congratulations to Aberdeenshire Council, IED Training, Police Scotland, Stirling Council, Knockhill Racing Circuit and West Dunbartonshire Council for achieving the coveted Gold Award status. They will be heading to London in November to receive their certificates at a VIP ceremony.
We also had tremendous success in the Silver Award Category with seven winners this year, again a new record. Hats off to Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce, EVI Charge Points Ltd, High Life Highland, Scottish Water, SFB Consulting, Sport Aberdeen and Fife Chamber of Commerce. They will all be headed to the Silver Awards ceremony in Edinburgh Castle – also in November. (November is going to be a busy week for posh frocks and celebratory glasses of bubbly!).
And speaking of Edinburgh Castle, August saw us visiting with many of our employers as guests at the ever fabulous Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo. We managed to dodge the worst of the rain during our two nights, and guests of both Highland and Lowland RFCA enjoyed hospitality and a stunning performance as our thank you for their continued commitment to the Armed Forces family. Still in Edinburgh, but moving from land to sea, we also took employers from Stirling and the Forth Valley area to visit their affiliated ship HMS Forth, while she was berthed in Leith. This was a fascinating visit with the ship’s company pulling out all the stops to produce a wonderful afternoon and tour of the ship; Sgt Major George even managed to sneak onto the bridge.
To round off August, and still with a Navy theme, the team enjoyed being part of a community and families day at HMS Scotia. For once, the sun shone and a lovely day was enjoyed by all, despite the best efforts of the pesky occupants of a nearby wasps’ nest to interrupt the fun.
And so to September, the Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Diaries are full to bursting point with engagement meetings and events across Central and Northern Scotland as the REEDS clock up the miles, roving ceaselessly in their search for Armed Forces Friendly employers, visiting our cadets and reserve centres, and leaving a trail of Armed Forces covenants and ERS Bronze Awards in their wake.
If they rock up at your door, be nice to them. A cup of tea and a biscuit is usually enough to do the trick…and who knows what benefits you may get in return!