October 31st 2023

Gold for Alstom, Gleeds and Toyota at Ministry of Defence awards

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Fourteen of the East Midlands’ greatest champions for our Armed Forces have been celebrated at a glitzy award ceremony held in the Officers’ Mess at Prince William of Gloucester Barracks.

Winners of the Ministry of Defence’s prestigious ‘Gold Award’ for 2023 include Alstom, Gleeds and Toyota Manufacturing UK.

Campbell Cain Wealth Management, Everyone Health, Fred Sherwood Group and Rail Operations Group have also been awarded the highest accolade in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme for recognising the value of Defence personnel in their business.

Completing the list are Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Northamptonshire Police, Nottinghamshire Police, SRC UK, United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Wescom Group and West Northamptonshire Council.

Gold ERS

Formal recognition

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 for the East Midlands.

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.

Mutually beneficial partnerships

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 our 2023 winners.

“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.”


We are also pleased to announce that Leicester’s Hospitals and the University of Lincoln, who were recognised for their outstanding support and advocacy for the Armed Forces in 2018, have recently been re-awarded their Gold status in the Employer Recognition Scheme.

Julian Free CBE, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Lincoln, said: “The University of Lincoln was one of the first universities to receive the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award, and we are delighted this prestigious status has been renewed. It demonstrates our long-standing commitment to supporting members of the Armed Forces community, recognising the immense contribution defence people and their families make to our workforce.”

Ballu Patel, Armed Forces Champion and Non-Executive Director at University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, added: “I feel really strongly about our Armed Forces and their representation in our hospitals. This is excellent news and it highlights our support to the armed forces whether it’s caring for veterans who use our services, creating employment opportunities for people coming out of the forces or supporting colleagues who are reservists or involved with the cadets.”

Photos from the night can be viewed here. 

Search Defence Employer Recognition Scheme to find out more.