A national housebuilder has achieved the highest award from the Ministry of Defence for supporting armed forces personnel – the first dedicated housebuilder in the industry to receive the recognition.
From left, Roger Morton, Josh Beesley, Chris Pugh, Darren Partridge and Communications Officer Danni Wood at Bovis Homes' Faringdon Fields in Oxfordshire
Watch the video of Bovis Homes colleagues reacting to the MOD's Gold Award recognition.
Bovis Homes received the Government’s Defence Employee Recognition Scheme Gold Award for a raft of initiatives, including providing employment opportunities and helping those connected to the military onto the housing ladder.
There are around 100 employees with ex-military backgrounds within the company, including site managers, technical staff and trainers. The business also offers discount schemes to help servicemen and women buy a home.
Former Royal Engineer, Roger Morton, joined the housebuilder in 2016 following 25 years in the Army. Performance director Roger said: ““As a former Royal Engineer myself, I am a huge advocate of employing veterans.
"Bovis Homes has always been supportive of the armed forces family but having this external recognition means a huge amount to us.
“As with most jobs, you learn lots of transferable skills being in the armed forces, so being open about this and encouraging participation of these individuals into the world of work – as well as ensuring the move is a smooth as possible – is crucial to us as a business, but also to society.
“I am a firm believer in ‘bringing yourself to work’ and, as a former member of the military, I want colleagues to be able to feel they can be themselves at work and still feel included.”
Bovis Homes has introduced a trainee assistant site manager programme, which targets ex-armed forces personnel and in 2017 received the MOD’s ERS Silver Award. The housebuilder is also a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise to ensure that those who serve or who have served in the Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
Darren Partridge, site manager at Bovis Homes’ Faringdon Fields location in Oxfordshire, is also a former Royal Engineer and last week applied to become a Reservist in the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers.
He said: “I love my job at Bovis Homes’ Faringdon Fields location and it’s fantastic to work at a housebuilder which is so committed to the armed forces and has gained this Gold award.
“I’ve applied to join the reservists as I missed the comradery the military provides and wanted to fill my spare time with those who contribute to the safeguarding of our country. It’s a brilliant work and life balance and Bovis Homes has been so supportive of my decision to sign up.”
Chris Pugh, business systems manager at Bovis Homes, has served in the Army Reserves for 21 years, taking part in two tours, including four months in Kabul and 6 months at Camp Bastion as part of the Force Protection Company.
The Training SNCO (senior non-commissioned officer) for A Company 6 Rifles, said: “For Bovis Homes to get this Gold award is a great achievement and thoroughly deserved.
“There are many aspects of my role in the reserves that I use in my position at Bovis Homes, including the need for organisation, punctuality and teamwork.
“It’s also great to leave the office and get out onto the field for weapon handling and other training exercises.”
Former Welsh Guard Josh Beesley, who is trainee assistant site manager at Bovis Homes’ Filton location, said there were opportunities at the housebuilder for both young and older military personnel.
Josh was medically discharged from the army but the housebuilder has offered him a second career.
The 26-year-old said: “For many young people leaving the armed forces, it can feel quite daunting trying to find civilian work. But Bovis Homes were there to give me an opportunity and train me and I’m not surprised the company has won the Gold award.”
Among a number of key initiatives, Bovis Homes also offers mentoring and work placements to those with military backgrounds.
UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said: “These awards recognise the outstanding support for our armed forces from employers across Britain and I would like to thank and congratulate each and every one.
“Regardless of size, location or sector, employing ex-forces personnel is good for business and this year we have doubled the number of awards in recognition of the fantastic support they give.”
Bovis Homes sponsored this year’s Armed Forces Day National Event in Salisbury in June, which marks the service of men and women in the armed forces and includes three days of celebrations including a military parade.
The housebuilder offers a discount scheme for military personnel and there is the Forces Help to Buy, which allows service personnel to borrow up to a maximum of £25,000 interest free.