11 organisations receive ERS Gold Awards

November 16, 2023

Eleven employer organisations had their outstanding commitment to the Armed Forces recognised at the 2023 Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Awards.

The Highland RFCA-organised event was held at Scone Palace on November 9 with the recipients representing a wide range of organisations and companies from both the public and private sectors.

Nationally, 193 organisations have been recognised by the UK Government for their outstanding support towards the Armed Forces community. This is a record high since the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) launched in 2013. The ERS Gold Award is the highest badge of honour and recognises the positive role employers play in supporting the Armed Forces community.

The Employer Recognition Scheme, delivered by Defence Relationship Management, now has a current total of 834 Gold holders. Organisations must reapply every five years to retain their Gold Award status.

To win a Gold Award from the Ministry of Defence, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for Reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for Reservists, Veterans, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs) and the spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.

They must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community, by encouraging other organisations to sign the Covenant and engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme.

The 2023 ERS Gold Award recipients.
Representatives from the 11 employer organisations to receive ERS Gold Awards in 2023 with Chief of Defence People Vice Admiral Phil Hally.

2023 ERS Gold Award winners in the HRFCA-area: Donut Pig Digital Media; Drumfork Nursery & Family Centre; Fife Medical Group; Flagship Maritime Ltd; Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce; Moray Council; NHS Highland; NHS Tayside; Recruitment Bee (Scotland) Ltd; The MacRobert Trust; Trident IES.

Principal guest at Scone Palace was Vice Admiral Phil Hally, Chief of Defence People (CDP). Vice Admiral Hally presented the Awards and delivered a speech on the Employer Recognition Scheme and the value of Reservists to civil society.

He said: “We are here tonight to celebrate your success as employers who have been awarded the accolade of Gold status in support of our nation’s Defence.

“As I look around the room, I see a rich diversity of organisations, private and public sector, large and small. The support you provide is so much more than just about employees who have signed up to become Reservists. Your organisations support the whole Armed Forces Community from the support you give to families of Service personnel to the opportunities you provide Forces spouses and partners.

“I want to say a heartfelt thank you and congratulations to you all on behalf of UK Defence and Government.”

During the evening guests also heard from serving Royal Air Force (RAF) Reservist AS1 Virginia Ankers of Lossiemouth-based 2622 Squadron; Cadet Force Adult Volunteer (CFAV) Lieutenant Colonel Sarah High, Deputy Commandant of Angus and Dundee Battalion Army Cadet Force (ACF); and Stephen Massetti, Chair of HRFCA’s Highland Gold Network. They spoke respectively on the value of Reserve service; the rewarding nature of being a CFAV; and the benefits to employers of the Employer Recognition Scheme.

Music was provided by a quartet of musicians from 7th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland (7 SCOTS); Cadet Pipe Major Magnus Porter, Pipe Major Conner Pratt, Drum Major Cameron Goodsir-McGuire of The Black Watch ACF Pipes & Drums; and Cadet Lance Corporal Saul Cameron of the Royal Marines Cadets who drummed the guests into dinner.

Our congratulations and thanks go to all the winners for the support they give to the Armed Forces; and to the staff at Scone Palace for helping to organise a successful evening.

Guest representatives on the evening were: Donut Pig Digital Media Shaun Moat (Managing Director); Drumfork Nursery & Family Centre Roanna Wood (Co-owner and Director) and Lyndsey Errington (Deputy Manager); Fife Medical Group Michael Braid (Owner) and Jackie Mitchell; Flagship Maritime Ltd Brian Flannagan (CEO) and Laura Flannagan (Director); Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce Lynn Harris (Chief Executive) and Christie Frail (Business Development Executive); Moray Council Kathleen Robertson (Council Leader) and Peter Bloomfield (Councillor and Armed Forces Champion); NHS Highland Gareth Adkins (Executive Director for People and Culture), Jo McBain (Director of Allied Health Professionals, Armed Forces Champion); Kari Magee (Armed Forces & Veterans’ Project Manager), and Major Rosalyn Shearer (Consultant Surgeon & Reservist 252 (Hospital) Squadron, 215 (Scottish) Multirole Medical Regiment); NHS Tayside Lorna Birse-Stewart (Chair), Sarah Dickie (Ex Armed Forces Champion); Corporal Shona Kennedy-Smith (RAF Reservist, 612 Squadron); Recruitment Bee (Scotland) Ltd Lorraine Westley (Managing Director); The MacRobert Trust Rear Admiral (Retired) Chris Hockley (CEO) and Kate Hockley; Trident IES Adam Riley (Service Director & Veteran), Donna-Marie Cunningham (HR Business Partner), and Duncan Barclay (Project Director).

Find out more about the Employer Recognition Scheme.

ERS Gold banner