Heriot-Watt receives prestigious Armed Forces employer award at Edinburgh Castle



Award presentation
Heriot-Watt staff with the Gold Award (L to R) Helen Hymers, Head of Employee Relations and Policy; Dr Amos Haniff, Pan-Dean and Armed Forces Engagement lead; Mark Hamid, Senior Governance Officer and Senate Clerk, who is a Royal Navy reservist.

In a ceremony at Edinburgh Castle, Heriot-Watt University has collected a Gold Award for its outstanding commitment to the Armed Forces Community.

This award builds on a Silver Award the University received in 2019.

The Gold Award of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme is the highest badge of honour available to organisations that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to the Defence and the Armed Forces Community – including Reservists, service leavers, Cadet Force Adult Volunteers and their families – and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant.  This is a commitment to support Defence through services, policy and projects.

I’m delighted that we have seen so many organisations recognised with a Gold Award.

Dr Andrew Murrison, Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families

Heriot-Watt is one of 19 Scottish businesses and organisations who collected the award at the 2023 Gold Employer Recognition Scheme Awards at Edinburgh Castle last week. The event was hosted by the Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association, who connect and promote the work of the Armed Forces across professional and community networks.  

Heriot-Watt’s forces-friendly policies for staff include offering 10 days additional leave to Reservists for training commitments and supporting Reservists under conditions of mobilisation.  

The University also works with the Career Transition Partnership – the Ministry of Defence’s official provider of Armed Forces Resettlement – in the recruitment of service leavers and adjusts job descriptions where appropriate to reflect military qualifications.

Other Heriot-Watt policies include offering guaranteed interviews to all veterans and service leavers where the essential criteria for the post are met and providing tailored advice and information to service leavers transitioning into higher education.

In addition, Heriot-Watt University provides unwavering support to Army, Navy and Airforce Student Officer Cadets and their associated service units through the work of the Edinburgh Military Education Committee, the oldest such committee in the nation.

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.”

In total, 193 organisations have been recognised in 2023 by the UK Government for their outstanding support towards the Armed Forces community.

Heriot-Watt becomes one of only four universities in Scotland to receive the Gold Award.


Victoria Masterson