Rail Operations Group has been celebrated at a glitzy award ceremony held in the Officers’ Mess at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks for being one of the East Midlands’ greatest champions for our Armed Forces.
Partnerships between Defence and civilian employers are a fundamental foundation of the UK’s Reserve Forces.
Thousands of such partnerships exist to support and advocate not just the Reserves but former and serving Armed Forces personnel and their families and Cadets across the East Midlands.
Some of these are informal, whereas others are formally recognised by entry into the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.
Each year the most extraordinary champions are awarded the Ministry of Defence’s highest accolade for employers – the Gold Award – which this year took place in Grantham on 19th October.
This honour recognises organisations which proactively demonstrate their Forces’ friendly credentials as part of their recruiting and selection processes. They also, amongst other policies, provide Reserves within their workforce with at least 10 days of additional paid leave for training.
In return, employers benefit from members of staff who return with new qualifications and skills.
For 2023, each recipient was handed their award by Lieutenant General Tom Copinger-Symes CBE, Deputy Commander of UK Strategic Command.
They were joined by special guests His Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenants of Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire and the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Leicestershire.
The Officers’ Mess unique charm provided a special backdrop to what was a special occasion.
A display of light field guns courtesy of 103 Regiment Royal Artillery, a visit from The Mercian Regiment’s mascot Lance Corporal Derby, support from military musicians and also the Prince William of Gloucester Detachment Army Cadets added to the ceremony’s distinct atmosphere.
Dave Burley, Chief Executive Officer at Rail Operations Group said: “I am absolutely delighted that the Group have received this prestigious award. This is the result of a huge effort on behalf of many colleagues within the business. The importance of ensuring that those who serve, have served or support Cadet Forces are themselves supported by employers cannot be overstated. Since signing the Armed Forces Covenant in June 2020 and harnessing the full range of skills that veterans, reservists and Cadet Force Volunteers bring to the company we have worked through bronze and silver levels before achieving gold status. Rail Operations Group is truly honoured to join the increasing number of businesses that benefit from the scheme and commend it wholeheartedly to others”.
Fred Hopkins, Head of Engagement at East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, added: “Achieving the Gold Award is a remarkable accomplishment and I would like to congratulate Rail Operations Group.
We are very proud of the support and advocacy our Gold holders provide to Defence, especially for Reserves and Cadets.
I very much look forward to building on these mutually-beneficial partnerships and establishing even more through the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme in the years ahead.”
Kirstie Lawrence, Regional Employer Engagement Director at East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, said: “Award holders in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme celebrate the excellence of Defence people in the workplace routinely, having seen it for themselves and now gaining Gold for promoting it to others who have since shared that success. So it was a wonderful experience to thank them”.