Transport for Wales (TfW) is one of nearly 200 organisations which have been recognised by the UK Government for supporting the Armed Forces community, a record high since the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme launched in 2013. The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award, the highest badge of honour, recognises the positive role that employers play in supporting the Armed Forces community.

Karl Gilmore, Rail Infrastructure Director & Armed Forces Champion at Transport for Wales said: “At Transport for Wales we continue to support our Armed Forces Community and are proud to have achieved Gold status of the Employer Recognition Scheme. By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, we acknowledge, understand and support those who have served in the Armed Forces or continue to do so in a Reservist capacity, their families or those who are Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, should be treated with fairness and respect in the community, society and the workplace.

“TfW values a diverse workforce; it makes us stronger, helps us understand our customers better, make better decisions and be more innovative. Everyone’s different and has their own perspective so we’re building a diverse team that mirrors the communities we serve. Through this, we’re determined to be one of Wales' leading inclusive employers and look forward to continuing to support our Armed Forces Community.”

This year, organisations across a range of sectors including transportation, education, finance, and healthcare have been recognised in the awards. Of the Gold Award winners, 28% are either micro or small sized organisations, while 47% are large organisations with over 500 employees. This not only demonstrates the importance of the Covenant, but the skills and benefits that ex-service personnel can bring businesses.

Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison said: I would like to thank all the organisations that have been recognised in this year’s awards. I’m delighted that we have seen so many organisations recognised with a gold award. Their continued support demonstrates the unique benefits and strengths that our Armed Forces community can bring to the workplace.”

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, delivered by Defence Relationship Management has a current total of 641 holders. Organisations must reapply every five years to retain their Gold Award status.

To win a Gold award from the Ministry of Defence, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for reservists, and have supportive HR policies in place for reservists, veterans, Cadet Force adult volunteers and the spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces. They must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community, by encouraging other organisations to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage with the Employer Recognition Scheme.

This year, Marks & Spencer Plc, Motorola Solutions UK Ltd, Hilton and Toyota Manufacturing UK are among the household names that have been recognised, alongside many small organisations including the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.