SMMT awarded Gold employer status for services to armed forces community

12 July 2023 #SMMT News
  • SMMT honoured with Gold Award under the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme for commitment to the armed forces community.
  • Scheme recognises organisations that offer exceptional support and provide job opportunities to ex-armed forces personnel.
  • Follows SMMT’s Bronze and Silver Award recognition in 2021 and 2022 and creation of Mission Automotive, the UK’s first ever industry-led initiative to unlock ex-Forces talent.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has become one of the first sector-specific trade bodies to be awarded Gold status under the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). The ERS recognises UK employers that demonstrate and advocate support for the armed forces community, and have values aligned with the Armed Forces Covenant – a pledge to ensure fair treatment for those who have served in the forces and their families.

The Gold ERS Award is the highest recognition available and reflects SMMT’s active promotion and advocacy of Armed Forces engagement in the UK automotive sector via Mission Automotive – the first initiative of its kind in any industry. Funded by the SMMT Charitable Trust and delivered in partnership with armed forces charity Mission Motorsport and The Royal Foundation, Mission Automotive maps out how military skills are transferable to qualifications and roles in the sector, helping ex-forces talent to retrain and enter jobs across the UK. Such has been its success that the initiative has already been replicated in the renewable energy sector, with the launch of Mission Renewable in 2021.

SMMT signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2021, gaining Bronze recognition in the same year and the Silver Award in 2022. Its work includes promoting the benefits of armed forces engagement across the automotive industry, operating dedicated engagement programmes with SMMT members, supporting them to create tailored recruitment programmes and publicising employment opportunities within the sector via initiatives including the Mission Automotive service-leaver guide.

Steve Lees, JLR Armed Forces Engagement Programme Manager, Mission Automotive, said,

SMMT’s consistent commitment and support to Armed Forces Engagement over the last five years is one of the best examples of advocacy in the UK today. I am incredibly proud to be able to support SMMT through their Mission Automotive initiative.

Kerry Boniface, Senior HR and CSR Manager, SMMT, said,

Ex-military personnel offer a wealth of talent and critical transferrable skills, which are in high demand as the automotive industry undergoes a radical shift to new technologies, and we are so proud to be helping to unlock this talent and open up new doors to rewarding careers. To have our work, and that of our members, recognised by this Gold award is a real honour and we look forward to welcoming many more service leavers and veterans into the sector.

Some 58 SMMT member companies are already Armed Forces Covenant signatories and work with the armed forces community, employing veterans, service leavers and their families across all parts of the automotive supply chain, from cars to commercial vehicles, across design, manufacturing, repair and through to retail and logistics. Many also offer bespoke training schemes for wounded, injured and sick personnel and reservists leading to help them achieve full-time employment in the sector. Collectively, SMMT members have been recognised with 12 Bronze ERS Awards, 11 Silver Awards, nine Gold Awards and seven Gold re-validations.

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