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"Highest badge of honour" for Forces-friendly Brunel

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The Ministry of Defence has recognised Brunel University London with the “highest badge of honour available” for its work supporting the British Armed Forces and its ex-service personnel.

Brunel received the rare Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award for its deep relationship with the military and for its work helping veterans transition into relevant and rewarding work once their military career comes to an end.

“I’m immensely proud to see Brunel achieve the ERS Gold Award,” said Vice-Chancellor and President, Prof Julia Buckingham CBE. “We’re delighted to be continuing to expand our support to those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, both across the London Borough of Hillingdon and more widely. This award recognises our long-standing commitment and we are honoured to have been recognised in this way.”

In 2016, Brunel became the first HE institution in London to sign the Armed Forces Covenant (AFC), which committed it to fully upholding a “promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly.”  Since then, the university has launched several Forces-friendly programmes, including jointly-holding a conference with South Bank University to encourage other HE and FE institutions to sign the AFC, promoting Armed Forces Day throughout the university and holding Remembrance Services for the Armistice.

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Mike Keighley, Brunel University London’s Armed Forces Covenant Champion said: “As an army reservist working alongside other reservists, veterans and Adult Cadet Instructors at Brunel I’m hugely impressed with the support that the university provides for those who serve in their Armed Forces. As a university we’re continually looking to broaden and strengthen our support for the wider Armed Forces community and it’s a genuine pleasure to work in an organisation where so many people ask, “how can we help support our Armed Forces Covenant commitment?”

Amongst its staff, Brunel boasts at least six military veterans and five current reservists, who are given up to 18 days additional leave each year to fulfil their duties. In recent years Brunel’s reservists have been involved in exercises as far afield as Philippines and Kenya, and in assisting operations for the 2018 Royal Wedding.  

To help ex-servicemen and ex-servicewomen find work when they leave the military, Brunel works with the Career Transition Partnership to promote relevant job vacancies and runs an Armed Forces Network on campus for reservists and veterans, students currently serving in the Armed Forces, Adult Cadet Instructors and military spouses.

Teams competing at the Invictus Games – an international sporting event for wounded, injured or sick armed services personnel – were invited to use Brunel’s world-class facilities to prepare for the event, and the university has committed to continue supporting Invictus athletes through 2019 and 2020.

Brunel was one of just 100 organisations to receive the award, alongside such luminary organisation as Rolls-Royce and the Royal Mail, with a ceremony due to take place at the National Army Museum on November 12 to celebrate all the awardees.

In a statement released by the MOD, UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace said: “These awards recognise the outstanding support for our armed forces from employers across Britain and I would like to thank and congratulate each and every one.

“Regardless of size, location or sector, employing ex-forces personnel is good for business and this year we have doubled the number of awards in recognition of the fantastic support they give.”

Top image: Brunel proudly supports the military: From left to right: Mike Keighley, Director of College Operations; Chris Stock, College Services Manager; Helen Blake, Senior Laboratory Technician; Pekka Kahkipuro, Chief Information Officer; Pauline Smith, Personal Assistant; Mary Liddell, Data Protection Officer. 


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