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News article

University recognised for commitment to the armed forces community

Published: 31 July 2020

Army boots and rucksack alongside a man's legs and feet in suit trousers and smart shoes

York St John has become one of only a handful of English universities to receive this award which recognizes commitment to developing opportunities for members of the armed forces and reserves.

The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) encourages employers to support defence and inspire others to do the same. The scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for employer organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community, and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.

Central to the award win is York St John University’s initiative the Military Human™ which supports and enables staff from a wide range of professions and community services to understand military culture and the complex transition to civilian life following time in the armed forces.

Nick Wood, Military Culture and Transition Lead at York St John, served in the Royal Navy in the Falklands in 1982 before joining the University in 2012. Since then, Nick has successfully delivered the Military Human™ training to more than 3,500 staff NHS and other public body staff across England and Wales.

He said: “Being a veteran myself I am absolutely delighted to learn that our university has received the prestigious MOD ERS Gold Award. To be recognised in this way reflects the incredible hard work by our Continued Professional Development (CPD) team, HR in supporting our reservists, staff and students from the School of Science, Technology and Health and York Business School, student engagement staff and colleagues who are veterans themselves. The Award resonates with one of the core values we work towards which is making a positive difference within our community and to engage with social and community issues to enhance people’s lives for the better. A significant and very proud day for York St John University.”

Gold ERS awards are given to organisations that proactively advocate and support defence, communicating this commitment both to employees and the wider community. They should have established policies and examples of support, be positive to all service personnel during recruitment and be an exemplar within their market sector.

Vice Chancellor of York St John University, Professor Karen Bryan, OBE said: “I am extremely proud that the University has received this national accolade for our support for Britain’s armed forces. Advocacy and commitment to the armed forces community is evident at all levels within York St John. This is the result of more than five years work by the Continued Professional Development team alongside academic and professional service colleagues across the university. My hearty congratulations to all those involved and to the other gold award winners.”

York St John has become only the 8th university in the UK to receive the gold award. It is one of 127 employers recognised this year. 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 adopted towards the defence community, which is testament to the fantastic contribution our serving personnel, veterans and their families can make to any organisation. I am delighted that so many companies are supporting our people and that, through this scheme, we can give them the public recognition they deserve.”

Read more about the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme here.

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