The ERS was launched in 2014 to recognise employer support for the wider principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for the employers that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to Defence and the Armed Forces community. This includes the Reserve Forces, Service leavers, Armed Forces veterans, the wounded, injured and sick, Cadets, military spouses or partners and their families.
The winning organisations are spread across all of the region's counties and come from a wide range of sectors across industry, in addition to education providers, NHS Trusts, charities and local authorities.
The 2021 winners include Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Elwood Recruitment, Four Circles Group, Kenton Black, Midland Heart, Midlands Recruiting, The Phoenix Collegiate, Totally Modular, Trident Group, WAWI Project and West Mercia Search and Rescue.
Old Swinford Hospital School, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and Walsall College were also welcomed to receive their revalidated award after showing their continued commitment for five years since first receiving their award in 2016.
West Midland RFCA’s regional employer engagement directors Cat Suckling and Philip Sinclair, voiced their appreciation to this year’s winners, “We are particularly pleased and delighted to be able to welcome the West Midlands-based Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award winners for 2021 into the West Midland Silver alumni. As regional employer engagement directors, we seek to work very closely with our employers, and have made the journey with them, so it is a huge pleasure to see that their commitment and effort has been rewarded with this recognition.
"Our class of 2021, the largest cohort yet, all display a strong commitment to show their support, and demonstrate it by employing members of the Armed Forces community within their workforce or by being powerful advocates for the Armed Forces Covenant and the Armed Forces community that it supports amongst their own networks. We have the full range of the Armed Forces community represented amongst those employers that have achieved the Silver Award recognition this year, which is fantastic! We now look forward to strengthening our links to them further, by supporting their journey towards Gold Award recognition. Congratulations, and thank you, your support is much appreciated.”
The lunchtime event was held in Aspects at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. Guests were welcomed to the event by Watchman, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, which is a military mascot for the now disbanded Staffordshire Regiment, but continues his duties as part of the Staffordshire Regimental Association.
As well as highlighting the outstanding support of the employers the event also showcased the local reserve units with members of the Royal Naval Reserve, Army Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force all in attendance.
The event concluded with a short act of Remembrance at the Armed Forces Memorial, led by Father Ian Stephenson from 11 Signals and West Midlands Brigade.