Fourteen employers from the West Midlands region received their Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Silver Awards from West Midland Reserve Forces & Cadets Association (West Midland RFCA) at an awards ceremony on Friday 2nd November.

The ERS was launched in 2014 by the Prime Minister 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 Reserves, Service leavers, Armed Forces veterans, the wounded, injured and sick, Cadets, military spouses or partners and their families.

Fourteen employers receive their Silver Awards at a special ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum

The outstanding winners for 2018 were Accord, Aspire Supported Living CIC, Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Black Country Housing Group, The Busters Group, E.ON, Highways England, The Next Step (Veterans Transition) Ltd, North Warwickshire Borough Council, Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council, Samuel Jones Pearls, University Centre Shrewsbury, Wace Morgan Solicitors and Wasps Rugby.

Councillor Andy Jenns, Armed Forces Champion for North Warwickshire Borough Council said, “We are very pleased to receive the Silver award.

“This is another example of our commitment to deliver on the Armed Forces Covenant pledge and is the result of the on-going efforts of councillors, officers and the dedicated network of departmental champions set up to promote the Covenant right across the organisation”.

The Armed Forces Champion for Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, Councillor Barry Longden, added: “The Silver award is a great achievement and highlights the dedication of our Members and officers. We pride ourselves on embracing and embedding the Armed Forces Covenant across the organisation and this award is well deserved”.

The Wales and West Midlands RAF Air Cadet Band provided the music throughout the day

Siamha Butt, Head of Engagement for West Midland RFCA added “I would like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thanks to each of our Silver Award winners for their outstanding contribution to Defence. The award itself is a recognition of the passion and commitment that our employers invest in both those who serve, have served, and their families. It represents their contribution to the overall defence of the nation, whether it be in supporting a Reservist employee, a veteran, Cadet Force Adult Volunteer or Cadet, none of this would be possible without the support of organisations like these.”

The lunch time event was held at the iconic National Memorial Arboretum, a fitting place for such awards to be presented, and Michael Collie, who you might recognise from BBC Midlands Today, kept the event running smoothly as the Master of Ceremonies.

As well as highlighting the outstanding support of the employers the event also showcased the local Reserves and Cadets. Members of the Royal Naval Reserve, Army Reserve and Royal Auxiliary Air Force all had stands and the Army Cadet Force and Royal Air Force Air Cadets were on hand to help the event run smoothly.

In the year when the Royal Air Force reached its 100th birthday we were lucky enough to welcome Air Vice Marshal (Ret’d) Aroop Mozumder CB, Honorary Air Commodore for No. 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, as our guest speaker and to present all of the awards. The musical entertainment, and all important fanfares, were provided by the Wales and West Midlands Royal Air Force Air Cadet Band, who performed brilliantly.

Guests and winners joined together to take part in a special Act of Remembrance at the Armed Forces Memorial

To conclude the event we saw it fitting, in the year marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, to hold an act of remembrance at the Armed Forces Memorial, which was led by Padre Andrew Chapman from RAF Cosford.

Debra Barton, Regional Employer Engagement Director for West Midland RFCA reflected: “The ceremony at the memorial was very moving. The sound of the bugler playing The Last Post, resounded off the walls of the Memorial, brought a tear to my eye. Military personnel, in unison, stood to attention and offered a salute at key points of the ceremony. A visiting child stood in complete silence watching the spectacle, her Grandmother stating afterwards that she was in awe. A wonderful act of commemoration at a poignant time of the year.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about the Employer Recognition Scheme please contact West Midland RFCA’s Employer Engagement team on or 0121 274 2227

You can view more photos from the Silver Awards event in our gallery here.