Representing our Trust: CEO Douglas Blair (pictured second left), Associate Director of Workforce and Lead for Employment of Veterans and Reservists, Andrew Collins-Mills MBE (holding Gold ERS Award), Community Services Manager and Veterans Steering Group Lead, Jonathan Thomas, and Chair Ingrid Barker.
Representatives from our Trust were extremely proud and honoured this morning to receive the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award from the Wessex Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (WRFCA), in recognition of its commitment and support for defence personnel.
The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. The ERS encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards 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.
The award was presented by Jon Beake, Regional Employer Engagement Director, WRFCA (pictured far right), to veteran and GHC’s Lead for Employment of Veterans and Reservists, Andrew Collins-Mills MBE (pictured third left).
Upon presenting the award Jon said: “The Covenant is all about supporting those people in the armed forces community and ensuring they do not experience disadvantages in accessing services.
“The awards scheme backs that up. Bronze recognises any organisation’s intent to be supportive through the Covenant, having developed a bespoke Armed Forces Covenant – so they’re not just signing something generic, they’re saying, ‘Yes, we support the Covenant, and this is how we deliver it in our organisation, and this is specifically what we do around employment of those people in the armed forces community’.
“Silver is about recognising an organisation’s delivery of that support. Have they got process or policy in place which supports what they said they were going to do when they signed the Covenant?
“And Gold recognises an organisation’s advocacy of that delivery and support. Gold, you are shouting about that support to other organisations through the activities you are doing and the publicity you are doing around those activities.
“With just over 600 employer organisations in the UK who have been awarded Gold ERS status, Gloucestershire Health and Care (GHC) is in a very, very select few, so this award is very significant. Defence values GHC as an organisation and the Gold Award is held very, very highly.”
Neil Savage, Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development for the Trust, said: “We are delighted to have achieved Gold ERS status, in recognition of our ongoing commitment towards our armed forces community. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the people who serve our country at home and overseas and as one of Gloucestershire’s largest employers and provider of services, we are fully committed to doing everything we can to support our serving military personnel, their families and our veterans.”
“We all owe a debt of gratitude to the people who serve our country at home and overseas, and as one of Gloucestershire’s largest employers and providers of services, we are fully committed to doing everything we can to support our serving military personnel, their families and our veterans.”
The Gold ERS award comes after the Trust signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant in December 2019, which demonstrates that GHC is armed forces-friendly and open to employing reservists, armed forces veterans (including the wounded, injured and sick), cadet instructors and military spouses/partners.
The Trust’s commitment to driving improvements in NHS care for defence personnel and their families was further recognised in May 2021, when it was named a Veteran Aware Trust.