South West employers recognised for support to Defence


Eight employers from across the South West have been presented with a Silver Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Award at a recent ceremony.


Amongst the award recipients were Cotswold Outdoors, Devon and Cornwall Police, Engage Technical Solutions, Plymouth University, Protection Vessels International, Recruit for Spouses, Mears Group and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory.

The awards were presented to employers by James Heappey, MP for Wells. Before entering politics James served in the Army reaching the rank of Major. During his 10 year career, James served on operations in Kabul in 2005, Northern Ireland in 2006, Basra in 2007 and Sangin in Helmand Province in 2009.

James thanked the employers in the audience, saying; “Being a Reservist is a challenging thing for the individual, but it is also a challenging thing for you as employers to support, and I know we are hugely grateful that you do”.

He went on to say; “It’s not just about the Reservists, it’s not just about the adult instructors in the cadets, it’s not just about spouses, it’s not just about Regulars, it is about the entire Armed Forces community and that relationship with employers and the community, which underpins the Armed Forces Covenant”.

Brigadier Steve Hodder, Chief Executive of Wessex Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA), the organisation who deliver the Armed Forces Covenant and the Defence Employer Recognitions Scheme in the South West, said about the awards; “We are absolutely delighted with the very positive way in which our regional employers have embraced the Corporate Covenant (now rebranded the Armed Forces Covenant). 

“The awards today conclude a series of presentations in which we have recognised a total of 24 companies in the South West in the past year, bringing our total to 43 since the scheme began.  In addition we have 81 Bronze award holders and one Gold award holder, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust, in the region.  We are very grateful for the excellent support that these innovative employers give to their employees from the Defence-community.” 

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) encourages employers to support Defence and inspire others to do the same.  The scheme 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 Defence Employer Recognition Scheme was launched by the Prime Minister in July 2014 and 43 employers based in the South West have so far been presented with a Silver Award.

To find out more about how your organisation could benefit from pledging their support to the Armed Forces community, please contact the Regional Employer Engagement Director, Jon Beake on 01823 250110 or

Reserve Forces