Defence Employer Recognition Scheme awards

An overview of the Ministry of Defence-led awards programme which recognises organisations for their support to the Armed Forces Community.
Ministry of Defence

9 January 2020

The Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) aims to encourage organisations across the UK to publicly demonstrate their commitment to support members of the Armed Forces Community.

The awards recognise positive actions taken by organisations which help to ensure that members of the Armed Forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged during recruitment and are supported in the workplace. The different award levels are indicative of different levels of commitment, with the ERS Gold award being the highest level of recognition an organisation can receive.

There are three levels of award you can enter.


Employers can self-nominate for the Bronze Award via the ERS website. For the bronze award, you must:

  • have signed the Armed Forces Covenant
  • promote being a forces-friendly employer open to employing reservists, Armed Forces veterans (including the wounded, injured and sick), cadet instructors and military spouses/partners.

As a Bronze Award holder, you will receive an electronic certificate and Bronze Award logo to add to your organisation’s website and communications.


For the Silver Award, you must:

  • have received the Bronze Award and continue to meet the Bronze Award criteria
  • proactively demonstrate that service personnel/Armed Forces community are not unfairly disadvantaged as part of your recruiting and selection processes
  • employ at least one individual from the Armed Forces community category that the nomination emphasises. Exceptions may be made where there is outstanding generic support for the Armed Forces community and/or the size or business model of the organisation makes employment of such an individual impossible
  • actively ensure that your workforce is aware of your positive policies towards defence people issues
  • within the context of Reserves, demonstrate support for mobilisations or have a framework in place and must provide at least 5 days’ additional unpaid/paid leave (wherever possible, not to the Reservist employees’ financial disadvantage)
  • not have been the subject of any negative PR or media activity
  • demonstrate support to the Cadet movement as a whole by providing proactive support to individual cadets and/or to local cadet units.

Silver Award certificates are distributed during a regional awards ceremony. After receiving the Silver Award, you will be able to add the silver award logo to your website and communications.


You must be nominated by a third party to receive the Gold Award, which recognises advocates for recruiting from and supporting members of the Armed Forces community. To meet the Gold Award criteria, you must:

  • have received the Silver Award and continue to meet the Silver Award criteria
  • have an existing relationship with your local regional employer, engagement director (REED) or relevant defence representative
  • proactively demonstrate your forces-friendly credentials as part of their recruiting and selection processes and, where possible, be engaged with Career Transition Partnership (CTP) in the recruitment of service leavers and have registered for the Forces Families Jobs (FFJ) portal
  • be an exemplar within your market sector, advocating support to defence people issues to partner organisations, suppliers and customers with tangible positive results
  • have demonstrated support to mobilisations or have a framework in place, within the context of Reserves, and provide at least 10 days’ additional leave for training, fully paid, to the Reservist employee
  • be an exemplar in demonstrating support to the Cadet movement. This could, for example, be through mentoring cadets in key employment skills, providing guaranteed interviews, direct investment in equipment and infrastructure for a local cadet unit, or by funding and sponsoring competitions, events, and specific activities for cadets such as overseas expeditions
  • promotes volunteering with the cadet forces from their workforce, by providing additional leave for employees who are Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs).

Gold Awards are distributed during a prestigious national event. Once received, you will be able to display the Gold Award logo on your website and communications.