Trust gets gold standard for being armed forces-friendly employer

The Trust has picked up the highest badge of honour for supporting members of the Armed Forces community including veterans and reservists in employment once they leave.

LYPFT staff with the Lord Lieutenant for West Yorkshire Ed Anderson

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) is one of only three organisations in Yorkshire and the Humber to have been awarded the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) 2023 Gold Award which recognises the positive role that employers play in supporting the Armed Forces community. A total of 193 organisations across the UK have been awarded Gold this year for their support towards the Armed Forces community.

Staff who’ve led this work at LYPFT attended a ceremony in York on 14 November 2023 where they were officially commended by West Yorkshire’s Lord Lieutenant, Ed Anderson (pictured above), alongside fellow regional gold standard bearers Leeds City Council and Phillips 66 Limited.

The awarding panel was impressed by LYPFT’s:

  • Guaranteed interview scheme for members of the Armed Forces Community meeting essential job criteria for any advertised role,
  • Reserves and Cadet Force Policy, supporting reservists and cadet force volunteers to take paid leave away from their Trust role to attend essential training, and
  • Collaborations with the Leeds Army Reserve Centre, the Step into Health and the Careers Transition Partnership programmes that support ex forces personnel into careers beyond military service.

Emily Bird, Widening Participation Officer at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “This is an honour to receive and a huge testament to the commitment of Team LYPFT to being a forces-friendly employer. I would like to thank those colleagues within the organisation who’ve championed this work from the start and helped us move from Silver to Gold accreditation within the space of two years.

“We work closely with our Op COURAGE veterans’ mental health team who make a real difference to the lives of those who serve. The Gold ERS award is recognition that we value the skills and experiences that members of the Armed Forces community bring to society and to the Trust.”

Nearly 200 organisations have now been recognised by the UK Government for supporting the Armed Forces community, a record high since the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme launched in 2013.

This year, Marks & Spencer Plc, Motorola Solutions UK Ltd, Hilton and Toyota Manufacturing UK are among the household names that have been recognised. Organisations across a range of sectors including transportation, education, finance, and healthcare have been recognised in the awards.

Of the Gold Award winners, 28% are either micro or small sized organisations, while 47% are large organisations with over 500 employees. This not only demonstrates the importance of the Covenant, but the skills and benefits that ex-service personnel can bring businesses.

Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Dr Andrew Murrison said: “I would like to thank all the organisations that have been recognised in this year’s awards. I’m delighted that we have seen so many organisations recognised with a gold award. Their continued support demonstrates the unique benefits and strengths that our Armed Forces community can bring to the workplace.

“The Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, delivered by Defence Relationship Management has a current total of 641 holders. Organisations must reapply every five years to retain their Gold Award status.

“To win a Gold award from the Ministry of Defence, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for reservists, and have supportive HR policies in place for reservists, veterans, Cadet Force adult volunteers and the spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces.

“They must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community, by encouraging other organisations to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage with the Employer Recognition Scheme.”

Find out more about armed forces employment at LYPFT on our website.

Find out more about the Employer Recognition Schemed at


For more information please contact:

The Communications team

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

T: 0113 85 55989



About Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust:

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust provides specialist mental health and learning disability services to the people of Leeds and across Yorkshire and the Humber. We employ around 3,500 people. Visit: