Carmarthenshire County Council gains Ministry of Defence Silver ERS Award

Carmarthenshire County Council has received a prestigious award for its support to the Armed Forces Community.

The authority is one of only 17 Welsh employers to receive the Silver Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) award this year.

The scheme has three levels, Bronze, Silver and Gold for organisations that pledge, demonstrate and advocate support for Defence and the Armed Forces community.

In July 2022 Carmarthenshire County Council reaffirmed its commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant by re-signing the covenant, which is a pledge to the Armed Forces Community and their families that they will be given respect and fairness. In the same year it was awarded the Bronze Award of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme.

To achieve Silver, organisations must proactively demonstrate that the Armed Forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged as part of their recruitment policies. They must also actively ensure their workforce is aware of their positive policies towards Defence people issues for Reservists, Veterans, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, and spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.

Carmarthenshire Council employees can fulfil their HM Reserve Forces commitments to attend training by using their annual leave, flexi-leave or take additional days unpaid leave.

One Reservist who works within the Place & Infrastructure Department said: “As a Reservist, I appreciate the flexibility that my employer offers. My Heads of Service have all been very supportive of my applications to take unpaid leave in order to fulfil my yearly deployment exercise. Having the Reserve Force Training policy in place assists me to balance my home life with work and reserve service by allowing me to utilise my annual leave for holidays etc rather than having to use it for Reserve Forces training.”

The Council recognises the knowledge skills and experience that Veterans and members of the wider Armed Forces Community provide. The recruitment team proactively work with the AFLO, the Poppy Factory and RFEA to access armed forces employment pool to share relevant job opportunities.

In the coming months the Council will be introducing a Guaranteed Interview Scheme (GIS) for members of the Armed Forces Community, for those applicants who meet the essential criteria for the advertised role. This initiative is an additional measure to support our Armed Forces Community.

Armed Forces Champion and Cabinet Member responsible for Organisation and Workforce, Cllr Philip Hughes, said: ‘’I am delighted that Carmarthenshire County Council has received the Silver award. It is very important that we support our Armed Forces Community as much as we can. This award demonstrates the determination and hard work of the staff in progressing the Armed Forces Covenant within the Council to ensure that we are an Armed Forces Friendly Employer. We will continue to progress with this initiative, and next step will be to work towards Gold!’’