North West companies ranging from a motor manufacturer to a construction company were honoured at the first ever Armed Forces Business Awards.
More than 200 people, most of them from the business community, attended the Saturday night event at the Imperial War Museum North, Salford.
The aim was to recognise the businesses and organisations which have shown the most support to Reservists on their staff – particularly those deploying on operations.
But the awards also recognised the commitment shown by businesses and other organisations to supporting wounded, injured and sick personnel and the Cadet Force.
Seven awards were presented:
- Support to Reservists on Operations – Grantreel Construction, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
- Support to Reservists on Annual Training (Small Organisation) – Nationwide Safety & Training Ltd, Wigan
- Support to Reservists on Annual Training (Medium Organisation) – LA Bowl, Warrington
- Support to Reservists on Annual Training (Large Organisation) – The University of Chester
- Support to the Cadet Force – Vauxhall Motors, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire
- Support to Wounded, Injured and Sick Personnel (a shared award):
- Carillion plc, offices in Manchester and Aintree
- Preston Specialist Mobility Rehabilitation Centre, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust
Grantreel is a civil engineering firm based in Hooton which employs two Reservists. It was nominated by employee and Army Reservist Private Jonathon Smitham, for the understanding shown him during his six month deployment to Afghanistan and the six months of training which led up to it.The company’s MD Michael Vesey said: “Our Reservists are very committed members of our staff and bring a variety of skills back with them into the workplace, for example Jonathan drove HGVs out in Afghanistan and now does the same for us here. We’re very proud to have won this award.”
Keith Richardson, a senior member of the Human Resources team at Carillion Services, said: “We’ve committed this year to take on 300 Reservists and six Reservists into the graduate programme that we have. They come in with specialist knowledge, leadership and management experience, a whole range of knowledge and qualifications they have gained during their time with the Reserve and we find that valuable and a close match to the kind of people we are looking for. It’s fabulous to recognised like this and we hope this is one of many more to come.”
Lieutenant Colonel Rosie Stone, Head of Business and Community Engagement for the Army in the North West, said: “The aim has been to recognise some of the extraordinary support that has been provided by the business community during our time in Afghanistan and elsewhere; including anti-piracy operations off Somalia and the humanitarian efforts we were involved in last year following Typhoon Haiyan in the Phillippines.
“But we also hope to raise awareness of what Reservists can offer the business community and show, as the Armed Forces transform, that there is an important role for the business community to play.”