Armed with award for allegiance to the Forces

Nelson and Colne College group is one of forty-seven forward-thinking organisations across the North West to receive a Silver Award from the Ministry of Defence.

The Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) rewards employers who support Defence People objectives and encourage others to do the same. This includes employing serving and former members of the Armed Forces community and demonstrating flexibility towards training and mobilisation commitments for Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers.

Lancashire has one of the largest populations of serving and veteran personnel in the country and Nelson and Colne College group have made it their duty to support skills needs – including the transition back into civilian life.

Lancashire Adult Learning Tutor Craig Harrison has been fighting for veteran’s education and was instrumental in bringing the Enhanced Learning Credit scheme to the college group. This means departing members of HM Forces can draw-down funding from the Ministry of Defence, to take their future careers forward.

Craig said: “Every member of the Forces should make it their individual responsibility to plan for life after service. It might be tough, as you can become institutionalised, with everything done for you from housing through to finding a doctor and a dentist. But the key is education. It is education that will really save you.”

Commenting on the announcement of the 2024 Employer Recognition Scheme Silver awards; Colonel Mark Underhill OBE DL, Chief Executive at the North West of England and the Isle of Man Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (NW RFCA), said:

“On behalf of the Ministry of Defence we are honoured and delighted to be able to recognise the outstanding support and commitment given to the Armed Forces Covenant by businesses and organisations in the region, through the Employer Recognition Scheme awards. Each recipient has demonstrated not only that their support to the Covenant and the wider Armed Forces community, but also that they are prepared to support their Reservists, Service Leavers, Spouses, Veterans, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and Cadets in the workplace.”

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