September 11th 2023

Ex-Sea Cadet appointed MoD Employer Engagement Director for the East Midlands

Kirstie Lawrence pictured at the 2022 ERS Gold Awards ceremony in the East Midlands.

Kirstie Lawrence has been appointed as the new Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED) for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in the East Midlands.

The former Sea Cadet is no stranger to helping businesses support Reservists, Service Leavers, Cadet Volunteers and spouses and partners having been with the organisation since 2020.

She will continue to work closely with businesses looking to hire, support and retain Armed Forces personnel through engaging with the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC) and the Defence Employer Recognition (ERS) Scheme.

The AFC is a promise from employers that no member of the Armed Forces community will be disadvantaged by their service. ERS, which the AFC is the gateway into, awards organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support through the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards, respectively.

As the REED, Kirstie will now focus on organisations which have achieved or are working towards the prestigious Gold ERS Award in the East Midlands. This includes 2023 winners Alstom, Northamptonshire Police and Toyota.

Kirstie, who is directly employed by the East Midlands Reserves Forces and Cadets Association on behalf of the MoD, said: “The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme is the highest badge of honour for organisations that employ and support our Defence community.

“If you support the notion, as I’m sure we all do, that being a part of the Defence community should not be a detriment to an individual in the workplace, then you can – and should – sign the Covenant.

“Our people add intrinsic value and I am very proud to be continuing to provide support to people in their civilian employment and to repeatedly hear of the benefits this brings back to the employer.

“Whether you’re already benefiting from Defence personnel in your workforce or want to know where to get started, please reach out so we can introduce you to the Ministry of Defence’s award scheme, discuss the needs of your business and how ‘our people’ can become ‘your people’ and bring value to your organisation.”

Kirstie (far left) helped Caterpillar become the 1,000 organisation to sign the AFC in the East Midlands.

Kirstie (far left) helped Caterpillar become the 1,000 organisation to sign the AFC in the East Midlands.


Kirstie has risen through the ranks in a short space of time. She joined the organisation as an Administration Officer in 2020, stepped up to become the Deputy REED in 2021 and jumped at the chance to lead the team earlier this year. But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

She said: “I remember on my first day it was during lockdown and I couldn’t work. A lorry had driven into a telegraph pole outside of my house, ripping the wires out of everybody’s house, so I had no Wi-Fi. I remember thinking ‘oh my, they’re not going to believe this.’”

As the Deputy REED, Kirstie has since been involved in a number of milestone AFC signings in the East Midlands.

She oversaw Primary Integrated Community Services become the 800th, Ratcliffe College become the 900th and Caterpillar Building Construction Products become the 1,000th organisations to make the pledge in the region.

Earlier this year she travelled to Cyprus on a special employer trip to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of Reserves as assets to Defence and the workplace.

Her grounding in the Sea Cadets in Guisborough, Yorkshire, has also given her a lifelong appreciation of the MOD-sponsored youth organisation, especially the Cadet Force Adult Volunteers.

She added: “I benefitted from the great roles models and stability of the Sea Cadets as a child. The adults there gave me direction and support and helped to push me back on the right path during my youth.

“Cadets provides routine, structure and there’s an element of self-discipline, integrity and self-confidence that’s instilled in you. It’s a good place to spend those formative years of your life.

“I’m proud that I now help organisations to support Cadet Forces Adult Volunteers who in turn make the Cadet experience possible.”