St George’s has been named as one of the most supportive organisations for Britain’s Armed Forces across the entire private and public sectors in an announcement today (30 July 2020).

The Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Awards continues to grow in strength year on year. Award winning organisations must provide ten extra paid days’ leave for Reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for Veterans, Reserves, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and Spouses and Partners of those serving in the Armed Forces. They also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and to engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme.

2020 marks the seventh year of the awards scheme. St George’s is one of just 127 employers to win a Gold Award this year.

Johnny Mercer, Minister for Defence People and Veterans said: “The breadth and diversity of the winners this year shows how business support for the Armed Forces continues to grow no matter the sector, company size or location. I am grateful for the positive attitude and flexible policies these organisations have adapted towards the defence community, which is testament to the fantastic contribution our serving personnel, veterans and their families can make to any organisation.

“I am delighted so many companies are supporting our people and that, through this scheme, we can give them the public recognition they deserve.”

Chief Nursing Officer Rob Bleasdale, Executive Sponsor for St George’s partnership working with the Armed Forces, said: “We are proud to receive this accolade. We are committed to building on our support for service leavers and their spouses – making it as accessible and welcoming as possible in joining us – and for reservists working here to continue their vital role.

“During the past two years, St George’s staff have done much to support service leavers to discover more about working in the NHS, and provide routes in. We recruited some brilliant new colleagues from the Forces in recent months, and we are proud to have such a strong contingent of service leavers and reservists here. This award underpins our commitment at every level to more partnership working.”

“It’s great to see colleagues across the trust getting behind such a valuable and important initiative,” said Sarah Shoesmith, head of resourcing for South West London Health and Social Care Partnership’s South West London Recruitment Hub, and previously St George’s Head of Resourcing.

“This support for the armed forces also means opportunity to bring more excellent service leavers into the NHS. It is something I will be looking to extend across south west London as the Recruitment Hub launches in October.”

One innovation has been hosting insight seminars for veterans, service leavers and service spouses at St George’s in Tooting and in the city of London. Colleagues from different services including Rob have talked about life here and what people can expect on joining the NHS. They answered questions and had informal chats with serving and former Forces personnel.

The St George’s Recruitment team has led development and delivery of many other initiatives including:

  • Joint working with our local 256 Field Squadron, an Army Reserve unit based in south London and London’s only Army Medical Services Hospital. Unit representatives attend events including our Nursing Recruitment Open Days, and provide specialist training to our Emergency Department
  • Honorary contracts for reservists so paramedics and other clinicians can access essential Emergency Care training enabling them to be better prepared for deployment at any time and maintaining their CPD
  • Fast Track process for service leavers and spouses to enable rapid recruitment, decision and offers including flexible start date opportunities
  • Tailored work experience opportunities – which have directly leading to employment for colleagues who were about to leave the services
  • Promotion of specific routes into the NHS and careers us to Armed Forces staff.
  • Attended various education and support events to raise awareness

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise by the nation ensuring that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. More information about the Armed Forces Covenant and how to get involved is at

The Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) was launched in 2014 by then Prime Minister David Cameron to recognise employer support for the wider principles of the Defence Armed Forces Covenant and the full spectrum of Defence personnel. This includes the Reserves, Service Leavers, Wounded Injured and Sick, Cadets, and spouses.

We join a select group of 226 winners from previous years who can share their knowledge and experience on the benefits of employing those from the Armed Forces community. 47% of winners are either Micro organisations or SMEs and 38% are public organisations. This demonstrates both the growth in numbers and the depth of supportive employers who cover a wide range of sectors and company size.

For a full list of Employer Recognition Scheme Gold, Silver and Bronze award winners: