The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is one of the first higher education institutions in the country to be awarded a significant honour from the Ministry of Defence.
UCLan has received a Gold Employer Recognition Scheme award which recognises the support it gives to people with former or current links to the armed forces.
Led by the College for Military Veterans and Emergency Services (CMVES), which is based at UCLan, the University has been rewarded for the support it gives to staff who are serving or veteran members of the military or staff whose family are involved within the armed forces community. It also recognises the commemorative military events which have taken place both on the UCLan Campus and within the local community.
Dr Celia Hynes, CMVES co-founder, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic news. I’m extremely proud and it’s great recognition for the hard work which has gone into supporting the armed forces community since 2015. We’ve gone from highly commended in our first year, bronze the year after, silver last year and now gold, it’s an amazing achievement and I thank my colleagues Jenny Stuart and Stuart Kilmartin for all their hard work.
“One of the major pieces of work has seen us collaborate with Human Resources to create a policy which provides guidance for people who are involved in the armed forces. That means our staff, who are also reservists, can have two weeks paid leave to undertake their training. It also gives guidance to managers on what support is available for those whose spouse is deployed for long periods of time.”
The CMVES, which works closely with two local Army barracks and Army HQ North West regularly hosts networking events on campus, has ensured the UCLan website has special recruitment pages for members of the armed forces and continues to support Remembrance events in a variety of ways, including the projection a large red poppy on St Peter’s Arts Centre for Remembrance Day.
The University, which currently employs in excess of 30 military veterans and around 15 reservists, also hosts the Lancashire Armed Forces Covenant Hub, which is project led by Ian Barber. This is a collaboration between Lancashire County Council, Lancashire Care Foundation Trust and Army HQ NW and will offer help with job opportunities, health and housing services, employment, education and training for the armed forces community in addition to support for welfare concerns.
Dr Lynne Livesey, UCLan Interim Vice-Chancellor, said: “The Gold Employer Recognition Scheme award is a fantastic achievement and a well-deserved accolade for everybody involved. The CMVES has been instrumental in raising the profile of our work with the armed forces, not only across the University but the higher education sector too, so to be one of only four institutions achieving the top award is wonderful.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace MP added: “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.”