Double presentation rounds off year

December 20, 2023

Highland RFCA Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED) Ray Watt rounded off 2023 by presenting Armed Forces Covenants to two Highland businesses.

On 13 December he headed north to Keith in Moray to visit Spey Valley Brewery. Charlie Thornhill and Melanie McOwen received the certificate from Ray on behalf of the brewery.

Spey Valley Brewery was set up in 2007 by a distiller and a farmer. Brewing initially from a small pilot plant, the business survived for the first four years on the owners’ day jobs as they focused on getting the recipes and products right. The first casks of Spey Stout arrived on the market in 2012 with the first international sales following in 2015. The business moved to a new 20-barrel brewhouse in 2016 to become the largest, most modern brewery in Moray.

Charlie Thornhill and Melanie McOwen.
Charlie Thornhill and Melanie McOwen of Spey Valley Brewery with their Armed Forces Covenant.

Then, on 14 December he travelled to the Arbroath offices of Journeycall to present their certificate to Head of People and Policy Kerri Price.

Arbroath-based Journeycall (part of The ESP Group) handles a huge volume of customer inquiries each year on behalf of Transport for London, Network Rail and other operators.

Kerri said: “The ESP Group is proud to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and we look forward to demonstrating our commitment to upholding that pledge through our promotion, engagement, employment and support of the Armed Forces community.”

Kerri Price and Ray Watt.
Kerri Price accepts the Covenant certificate from HRFCA’s Ray Watt.

Spey Valley Brewery first signed the Armed Forces Covenant in October 2023, with Journeycall signing in November. By signing the Covenant, both firms have joined the 10,000+ UK organisations to have pledged support to the Armed Forces community. 

Spey Valley Brewery’s commitment to honouring the Covenant includes pledges to:

  • Promote the fact it is an Armed Forces-friendly organisation.
  • Support the employment of Veterans and Service leavers.
  • Support the employment of Service spouses and partners, including by providing flexibility in granting leave for Service spouses and partners before, during and after a partner’s deployment.
  • Support employees who are members of the Reserve Forces; granting additional paid/unpaid leave for annual training; supporting any mobilisations and deployment; actively encouraging members of staff to become Reservists.
  • Support employees who are Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs), granting additional leave to attend annual training camps and courses; actively encouraging members of staff to become volunteer leaders in cadet organisations; supporting local military cadet units.
  • Support national events such as Armed Forces Day, Reserves Day, the Poppy Appeal Day and Remembrance activities.
  • Support Armed Forces charities.
  • Offer a discount to members of the Armed Forces community.

Journeycall’s commitment to honouring the Covenant includes pledges to:

  • Promote the fact it is an Armed Forces-friendly organisation.
  • Support the employment of Service personnel and their spouses and partners.
  • Support the employment of Veterans.
  • Promote the fact it is an Armed Forces-friendly organisation at recruitment events and on social media and marketing.
  • Use reporting measures to profile the contribution Service personnel make to the business and set targets to grow this year-on-year. 

Signing the Covenant sets organisations on the journey to future recognition through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). The prestigious Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards are for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to Defence and the Armed Forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

To find out how you can support the Armed Forces, contact Highland RFCA REEDs Roy McLellan at [email protected] or Ray Watt at [email protected].

Find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant.

Find out more about the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.