193 employers awarded Gold for Armed Forces support

July 12, 2023
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Nearly 200 organisations including 11 in the Highland RFCA-area have been awarded the prestigious Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award for 2023.

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 that employers play in supporting the Armed Forces community.

This year, organisations across a range of sectors – including transportation, education, finance, and healthcare – have been recognised in the Awards. 28% of the Gold Award winners are either micro or small sized organisations, while 47% are large organisations with over 500 employees. This not only demonstrates the importance of the Armed Forces Covenant, but the skills and benefits that ex-service personnel can bring businesses.

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The Employer Recognition Scheme, delivered by Defence Relationship Management, has a current total of 641 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 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 winners in the HRFCA-area are:

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

Hear from some of the winners below:

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Shaun Moat, Managing Director of Donut Pig Digital Media, said: “A small business achieving the ERS Gold Award shows to others going through the ERS process that Gold is achievable. For Donut Pig, it cements the hard work we do in supporting our Armed Forces community.”

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David Wood, Owner and Director of Drumfork Nursery & Family Centre, said: “Support and advocacy of Defence is central to our ethos, so it is an honour for our efforts to be recognised by receiving the Gold Award.”

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Michael Braid, Director and Owner of Fife Medical Group, said: “We are extremely proud to be awarded the Gold Award. We feel it’s pertinent to all of the hard-working, dedicated and professional staff.”

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Bryan Flannagan, Chief Executive Officer of Flagship Maritime Ltd, said: “It is an absolute honour for our organisation to be awarded Gold. It is recognition to the entire Flagship Maritime team for all their efforts getting to this stage.”

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Lynn Harris, Chief Executive of Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, said: “We are delighted to have received the Gold Award in recognition of our support for the defence family, which has been more than worth the effort. We recognise the high-quality people serving in the Armed Forces and the real benefit they bring to our communities and businesses.”

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Frances Garrow, Head of Human Resources, Information and Communications Technology & Organisational Development at Moray Council, said: “Moray Council is honoured to receive this Award, which is in recognition of a deep and enduring relationship and of the proactive approach we take to uphold the key principles of the Covenant.”

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Jo McBain, Allied Health Professionals Director and Armed Forces Champion for NHS Highland, said: “It’s such an honour and a privilege that our support for the Armed Forces community has been recognised with a Gold Award. NHS Highland is proud to support those who serve.”

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Sarah Dickie, Nurse Director and Executive Armed Forces Champion at NHS Tayside, said: “We are delighted that our support for the Armed Forces community has been recognised with a Gold Award. It has been our privilege to support putting the Armed Forces Covenant into practice.”

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Lorraine Westley, Director of Recruitment Bee (Scotland) Ltd, said: “We are not only happy to be championing the diverse skills and talent our defence community brings to the labour market, but we recognise it as part of our DNA too! We will wear our Gold badge with pride and showcase our commitment to the wider Defence community for many years to come.”

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Rear Admiral Chris Hockley, Chief Executive Officer of The MacRobert Trust, said: “We know that our founder and benefactor, Lady MacRobert, would be immensely proud of her Trust for winning this Award. The ERS Gold Award epitomises the core values that she required us to demonstrate and the support to the Armed Forces that she wished us to advocate.”

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Donna-Marie Fyfe, HR Business Partner at Trident IES, said: “Since making our commitment to the Covenant in 2021, we have expanded our network which has connected us with committed, motivated and highly capable individuals who are an asset to our business. Receiving the ERS Gold Award represents a significant milestone on our journey to becoming an employer of choice for the Armed Forces community.”

A Gold Award ceremony will be held at Scone Palace on 9 November to present the winners with their Gold Awards.

Armed Forces Covenant logo with Gold Award banner

View the full list of ERS Gold, Silver and Bronze Award winners.

Find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant and how to get involved.