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Employer recognition from the Royal Navy

19 October 2016
The Royal Navy was out in force last Wednesday night at the Royal Hospital Chelsea as His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge presented ERS Gold Awards to employers who have gone above and beyond the call of duty in their support of the Armed Forces and wider Defence community.

Admiral Sir Philip Jones KCB ADC, the First Sea Lord and professional head of the Naval Service, headed up the Royal Navy delegation at the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Awards in London on Wednesday 12 October. 

The First Sea Lord was accompanied by Rear Admiral Simon Williams CVO, Flag Officer for the Reserves, Commodore Martin Quinn ADC, Commander of the Royal Naval Reserve and Royal Marines Reserve, and a group of officers and sailors from HMS President, the Royal Navy Reserve Unit in central London.

Commodore Quinn said: "It was a real privilege for me to meet some of the employers on Wednesday.  These organisations, from multinationals like HSBC and Nationwide to small business like DJ Rees Decorating Services in South Wales, don't just let their staff join the Reserve Forces, they positively encourage them to do so.  

As a reservist member of staff I’ve been extremely well supported in my role by my employer at all levels for over two decades.

Keith Whitehead

“And they support their employees when they deploy overseas, and advocate within the business community on behalf of Defence. 

“The fact that Prince William gave up his time to recognise their contribution and present their awards shows just how important it is that we never forget that the success of reserve service is a team effort: the Royal Navy, the reservist and the employer all work together to ensure the safety and security of our nation."

The scheme, which recognises those employers who support the Defence community, has three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold. 

While companies can self-certify for Bronze, they have to be nominated for Silver and Gold, and only twenty two of the UK's most supportive employers were awarded Gold this year. 

One of those winners was Hampshire County Council, who have strong links to the Naval Service. 

Keith Whitehead, a reservist from Portsmouth-based Royal Navy Reserve Unit HMS King Alfred and a Chartered Building Surveyor at Hampshire County Council, said: "As a reservist member of staff I’ve been extremely well supported in my role by my employer at all levels for over two decades.

“This is a richly deserved award that recognises the support that Hampshire County Council gives Reservists and the wider military community.”

Able Seaman Charlotte Wood, a 21 year old reservist from Kent, supported the event. 

Charlotte, who graduated from Reading University in Construction Management and Quantity Surveying, recently joined BAM Nuttall's Graduate Programme, working on Crossrail. 

She said: "I was really grateful to be invited along to the Royal Hospital Chelsea as a host and to hear all the success stories from the winners. 

“My employer is supportive of my reserve service and my manager recently visited HMS President. 

“When I told him what I'd been up to, he wanted to know more and find out how BAM Nuttall could reach the Gold Award status!"

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