Network Rail’s work supporting members of the Armed Forces into the workplace received the royal stamp of approval as the company was presented with an Armed Forces Covenant Gold Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) award by HRH Prince Henry of Wales.
The Gold ERS award is the Ministry of Defence’s prestigious badge of honour for organisations who have demonstrated outstanding support for the Armed Forces community.
Network Rail, alongside 32 other organisations, received its award at a presentation hosted by the Secretary of State for Defence, Sir Michael Fallon, on Monday 9 October at the Imperial War Museum.
Network Rail has a long tradition of supporting our armed forces and in employing ex-service personnel and reserve staff. There are plenty of similarities between Network Rail and the Armed forces – the challenges and pressures, where every day is different, requiring a professional can-do attitude and strong teamwork ethos.
A large number of our workforce come from an Armed Forces background and have thrived in our organisation providing the skills that are critical to our Railway Upgrade Plan and helping us to build a bigger, better railway for Britain.
We are extremely proud to have received this recognition of our work and continued commitment to support the Armed Forces community.
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail
Network Rail has a host of company initiatives and policies in place to encourage and support Service personnel in its workforce, including a dedicated defence engagement manager and granting additional leave to Reservists so that they can fulfil their training requirements.
Darin Gray has worked for Network Rail for 10 years and is a principal conformance engineer with one of its subsidiary companies, Network Certification Body. He has also been an Army Reservist for 28 years, serving as Corps Colonel for the Royal Engineers – responsible for recruiting, training and retaining reserve officers and soldiers.
Combining a Reservist role with a civilian job is tough but highly rewarding. Striking a balance between family, work, Reserves and some down time has been my hardest challenge but I’ve managed by prioritising things to maintain a healthy balance. Having a supportive employer has been instrumental to helping me achieve that.
I’ve had many opportunities to travel and train alongside highly gifted people including serving in Afghanistan for six months and a year as a full time Commanding Officer. I’m hugely grateful to Network Rail for supporting me to have these experiences and then come back to my day job.
Darin Gray, principal conformance engineer, Network Certification Body, and an Army Reservist
Network Rail signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2015, and since then the company has worked closely with the Ministry of Defence to transition skills into the rail industry and develop a forces-friendly environment with its workplace. Gold Award winning employers have to first make pledges under the Armed Forces Covenant, then demonstrate and advocate their support for the Armed Forces.
Pictured (top, from l-r): HRH Prince Harry; Mark Carne; Leanne Wood, Network Rail defence engagement manager; Darin Gray; The Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon MP