Posted on Oct 10, 2017
Winning Gold – Harry Awards Firms Backing The Armed Forces
Prince Harry and the Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon have presented special awards to organisations that support the armed forces and their families by offering training, work placements and employment.
The pair handed out 33 Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Awards to organisations across the UK.
One of the employers recognised was defence company General Dynamics UK, which supported Ian Taylor when he decided to take part in this year’s Invictus Games.
Mr Taylor, 30, from Aberystwyth, left the Army in 2016 after serving eight years as part of the Wildcat Fielding Team.
In October 2015, a medical board ruled that he had to leave the military due to health reasons, and therefore he had to find a job.
He took up a role with General Dynamics, which is a supplier to the Ministry of Defence, as an integration and test engineer.
When he decided to take part in the Invictus Games this year, General Dynamics supported him by giving him time off to attend training and take part in the games.
He competed in powerlifting, rowing and swimming, finishing fourth in powerlifting in the middleweight class with a personal best lift of 146kg, made the finals of the 50m and 100m freestyle swimming events and finished second in the 50m breaststroke with a time of 34.03.
Mr Taylor, who had a chat with Harry after the presentation, said: “My personal highlight of the Invictus Games was winning a silver medal in the 50m breaststroke swimming this year, nearly a two second personal best and seeing all the months of early morning training sessions pay off.
“The Invictus Games gave me a sense of purpose. It has allowed me to focus on the things I can do and what I can achieve rather than dwell on how my injury restricts my life.”
Mr Taylor said his Invictus Games experience would not have happened without his employer’s support.
He also described Harry, who he has met before, as “fantastic” and “just like one of the guys”.
Mr Taylor said he talked about the games and employment with Harry, about how much of an asset ex-military people are to a business.
Other employers to pick up an award included Airbus, Balfour Beatty, the Metropolitan Police Service, Network Rail, Combat Pest Control and Transport for London.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said: “This year’s Gold Award winners should be extremely proud of the work they are doing to live up to the Armed Forces Covenant pledge and to promote the pledge to others.
“I’m delighted to recognise employers who make it crystal clear that regardless of size, location, or sector, employing people with military skills is good for business.
“I hope others follow their example, thereby delivering a better deal for veterans and armed forces families.”
The ERS was launched in 2014 and 47 organisations have previously been given the ERS Gold Award.