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Gold award for our support to the Armed Forces Community

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Published on 31 July 2020

Hayley Fairweather graduated with a First in Adult Nursing Practice, worked on the Covid-19 frontline at South Tyneside District Hospital and is an Army Reservist with 251 Medical Squadron.
Hayley Fairweather graduated with a First in Adult Nursing Practice, worked on the Covid-19 frontline at South Tyneside District Hospital and is an Army Reservist with 251 Medical Squadron.

The University of Sunderland is one of 127 new organisations to be judged the most supportive organisations for Britain’s armed forces, in this year’s Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Awards. We are now one of 353 organisations, including nine universities, to have met the required gold standard.

Launched in 2014, the Employer Recognition Scheme recognises employer support for the wider principles of the Defence Armed Forces Covenant and the full spectrum of defence personnel. This includes the reserves, service leavers, wounded injured and sick, cadets, and spouses.

Sir David Bell, University of Sunderland Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive, said: "We are thrilled to be recognised with a ‘Gold‘ award under the UK Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.

"It is a significant milestone for the University as it reflects the commitment our staff have shown to ensuring that those who serve in the armed forces are well-supported. Through our work, we ensure that service personnel and their families are not disadvantaged, particularly as they make the transition into civilian life.

"The University of Sunderland values and respects the experience of reservists, veterans and their spouses. Through this ‘Gold’ award, we look forward to cultivating even deeper links in the future with service leavers from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force.”

Johnny Mercer, Minister for Defence People and Veterans, said: “The breadth and diversity of the winners this year shows how business support for the Armed Forces continues to grow no matter the sector, company size or location. I am grateful for the positive attitude and flexible policies these organisations have adapted towards the defence community, which is testament to the fantastic contribution our serving personnel, veterans and their families can make to any organisation.”

How is the University supporting the Armed Forces Community?

Every year armed forces personnel return home to the region after leaving the Services. For many this transition is not without its challenges. In some cases the veterans, or those injured in the line of duty, find it difficult to cope with life outside the Forces, and in many cases need extra support and help to re-adjust.

The University signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2018. This is a promise to ensure that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. The University is playing a key role in helping these veterans, young and old, get back onto the career ladder.

Ultimately, the aims of the partnership between the University and the Armed Forces include:

  • Recognising the skills of Combat Medical Technicians and medics who may not have an academic background and help them access the University’s programmes
  • Providing free access to University facilities to 251 Med Regiment for training and education of their medical staff
  • Enabling students to take part in team-building activities, leadership and trauma exercises to raise awareness of medical careers in the Armed Forces
  • Working with the Defence Medical Services to establish a recognised nursing programme aimed at those wishing to join the military after qualification

More on the Employer Recognition Scheme

The Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Awards continues to grow in strength year on year. To win an award organisations must demonstrate that they provide ten extra paid days leave for Reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for Veterans, Reserves, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and Spouses and Partners of those serving in the Armed Forces. They also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and to engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme.

There is a full list of Employer Recognition Scheme Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners HERE.

More information about the Armed Forces Covenant and how to get involved is HERE.

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