The scheme is designed to recognise and thank employers who are supporting Armed Forces personnel and their families.  TA Plastics has two reservists in their team of 30 staff and gives flexibility to them to help them with training and any other needs.

John Humphreys, managing director, TA Plastics said: “I am hugely honoured to win this gold award which was very unexpected.  It is important that we support everyone who is in the reserves to fulfil their duties with the Armed Forces and also ensure our businesses run smoothly.  There are also benefits to my business as the leadership and man management expertise which has come onto the company as a result is excellent. ”

A passionate advocate of encouraging other employers to allow staff to become army reservists, John Humphreys has also advised on how the army can best liaise with employers to ensure minimum disruption.

Congratulating the winners, Defence Secretary, Michael Fallon said: “Every year the level of support from companies across Britain for the armed forces continues to grow.  This commitment is making a real difference to everyone who serves and their families – whether giving Reservists more time to train or supporting veterans or spouses, they embody what the Armed Forces Covenant is about. To qualify for a Gold Award, employers must not only pledge their support but become advocates, encouraging others to do likewise.”

James Ramsbotham, chief executive, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “I was in the Armed Forces in my early career at know at first hand how important it is to have a positive approach to people who want to serve their country and also have a permanent job outside of the army.  TA Plastics are to be congratulated for what they have achieved, which is even more significant due to the size of business.”

Further information on the ERS is available by contacting Gary McLafferty the Ministry of Defences’ Regional Employer Engagement Director on ne-reed@rfca.mod.uk.