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High Life Highland strike gold in Employer Recognition Scheme

The Board of Directors of High Life Highland were informed at their meeting this afternoon that the Charity has received the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award for their support of The Armed Forces Covenant in the Highland area.  

The Directors were informed by Chair Ian Ross, that High Life Highland has joined an elite club as one of 10 Scottish organisations that have managed to achieve gold status this year bringing the national total to 33.  

The Board members were advised that to win an award organisations must demonstrate that they have supportive HR policies in place for Veterans, Reserves, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and Spouses and Partners of those serving in the Armed Forces as well as provide ten extra paid days leave for Reservists. The organisations must 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. 

Speaking after the Board meeting, the Charity Chair commented, “This is yet another great achievement for the Charity in demonstrating our support for the armed forces communities across the Highlands. 

“To be one of very few Scottish organisations, and the first in the Highlands is a major achievement for the Charity and those involved should be extremely proud. The Board and I are delighted to see HLH receive this coveted award.”  

Making the presentation of the gold award to High Life Highland, Lieutenant Colonel Graham Sefton, Commanding Officer of The Black Watch, 3 SCOTS said, “I am delighted that a local Highland Charity has become one of the most recent recipients of the MOD Employers Recognition Scheme Gold Award. 

“I am extremely aware of the positive role that the many High Life Highland services play in the lives of military families across the Highlands. Whether this is access to libraries; museums; archive centres; or accessing youth clubs, swimming pools or fitness facilities, I know how appreciative families are for being able to access such services affordably at a local level.  

“Knowing only too well how much work is involved for an organisation in order to achieve the gold award, I could not be more pleased to be making the presentation to High Life Highland on behalf of 3 Scots and the whole of the Defence family.” 

High Life Highland Chief Executive Steve Walsh is an ex Royal Air Force Wing Commander and is a Board member of the Highland Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, in support of the Officer Association, he also meets and assists service leaders as they transition into civilian life and look for employment relevant to their skills. 

Mr. Walsh said, “I am delighted that we have been able to build on the success of our silver award last year and attain a gold award this time round. I know from experience that many of the skills gained during service, such as communication, organisation, leadership, management and teamwork are highly transferrable into the workplace. 

This year marks the seventh year of the awards with a total of 353 businesses from both private and public sectors participating in the scheme. 

Mr. Walsh continued, “High Life Highland already provides opportunities and support in local communities across the Highlands as part of the Charity’s work in the area and it is a natural extension that returning service personnel would be able to become part of our delivery team.  

We are currently implementing our Recovery Action Plan from COVID-19 which is being led by our Corporate Programme Manager, who is also a veteran and reservist, further evidence that our approach is a successful one.”