Reserves Day 2017 provides an opportunity for the whole of the UK to celebrate our Reserve Forces, and for Reservists to show pride in their service.
“The Reservist is twice the citizen.” Sir Winston Churchill
Reserves Day takes place on Wednesday 21 June 2017 and celebrates all of those who make up the Reserve Forces.
It provides an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the important part that Reservists play in supporting the UK’s defence capability. Reservists have always played – and will continue to play – a key role in our Armed Forces, making a valuable contribution to the nation over and above their day jobs.
Formerly known as ‘Uniform to Work Day’, Reserves Day is an opportunity for employers to recognise their Reservist employees and celebrate the contribution they make by inviting their Reservist employees to wear their uniform (where possible) in the workplace. Employers can also show their support by holding events and seminars to promote the work of their Reservist employees.
Meet our Local Reservists
Interview courtesy of Hertfordshire County Council
Derek Twigg is an Assistant Network Manager in Hertforshire County Council’s Environment department and has worked for them for 13 years. Derek has been part of the Reserve Forces for over 14 years and is currently an Adult Training Officer for C Company Essex Army Cadet Force based in Leigh on Sea. Derek told us about his Reserves experience:
What does your Reserve Forces role involve and how much time do you dedicate to it?
My core role is to support new adult volunteers through the basic induction training – this is a 26 week programme, which is flexible to the needs of the volunteers, taking into consideration whether they have a military or civilian background.
We train volunteers using the Army Cadet Force (ACF) syllabus, which covers everything from military skills and navigation to first aid training. I currently have nine new adult volunteers that I’m supporting through their induction training and I supervise 45 others who have already completed the training.
I give a minimum of one night a week and one weekend a month to fulfil my duties. In addition, I join Easter camp each year, which is five days long, and summer camp, which is two weeks of the year.
Do you get any special support from HCC to enable you to fulfil your Reservist duties?
I receive ten days of Reservist leave from the council and I normally use about five days of this each year.
What would you say has been your greatest achievement as a Reservist?
I think my biggest achievement came in 2012, when I received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for my service to the ACF.
I’m also incredibly proud to say that in December 2016, I achieved my Cadet Services medal, recognizing my 13 years of continuous service to the Cadet Forces.
What advice would you give to others who are contemplating joining the Reserve Forces?
I was an Army Cadet in Welwyn Garden City from 1978-80 and joined the army after that. My experience taught me invaluable skills, and not just military ones either –such as how to conduct myself appropriately, how to act under pressure and how to plan and organise – all of which are very transferable to the world of work. In my current ACF role, I get a lot of satisfaction from trying to share some of my own life experience with new cadets and have a positive input on their futures.
I’d say that the ACF gives you the opportunity to be part of a really well-respected youth organisation, which takes pride in offering young people exciting, active and challenging opportunities that may otherwise not be available to them.
It’s a really great way to boost your ‘life CV’ before joining the world of employment. The ACF can give you experience of structured learning, help you gain extra qualifications, and enable you to travel to amazing parts of the UK and possibly even overseas. There aren’t many organisations that could offer those kinds of priceless opportunities.
Hertfordshire County Council has been awarded the Silver level of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, which encourages employers to support Defence. In particular, the council has confirmed its support for all current and future employees in the Reserve Forces, endorses a policy of non-discrimination towards Reservists and supports those who are required for Reserve Forces training.
Hertfordshire County Council is also a signatory to the Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant. The Covenant is a promise by the nation to ensure that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. The Covenant gives support to those who need it, such as Reservists living in Hertfordshire or those leaving service and looking to settle in Hertfordshire. You can learn more by visiting www.hertfordshireheroes.org
Bedfordshire Policeman balances the world of rural crime with RAF security detail
“It’s never too late to become a reservist” says 44 year old Mark Farrant from Bedford. The Police Inspector with Bedfordshire Police joined the Royal Air Force Police (3 Tactical Police Squadron) just under two years ago and hasn’t looked back since.
His current role with Bedfordshire Police is the management of the Rural Crime Team across the county but in recent months he’s been exploring further afield in the USA and Canada as part of his role as an RAF reservist. In January he spent five days travelling on a C17 Transport Aircraft to provide security as required for crew, cargo and aircraft. He was part of a four person team where the other members were all regulars. In July he will be supporting the security operation for the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford and providing support to the Police Flight at RAF Wittering, completing duties with the regular RAF Police personnel.
“The reservist experience is an incredibly rewarding one. It can be a challenge at times, but I’m lucky in that my employer, squadron and family are very flexible and understanding. A proportion of my duties have similarities to my day job as a civilian police officer. However the focus on protective security is an added dimension which supports my day job.”
Bedfordshire Police currently employ fourteen reservists and in 2014 received a Silver Award as part of the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme. The programme celebrates and recognises the support given to Defence personnel by employers that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to the Armed Forces Community.
Chief Constable Jon Boutcher said: “Volunteers and reservists are a hugely important part of policing and supporting the armed forces and Mark is a shining example of skill sharing across the organisations. In much the same way that volunteers enhance our front line through the Special Constabulary and through watch schemes, it is tremendous that Mark is able to use his skills to help the RAF while also gaining unique experience to bring back to Bedfordshire Police.
I look forward to continuing the great relationship we have with our armed forces through schemes such as these.”
So what is the secret to becoming a reservist? Married, with four children and a black Labrador, Corporal Mark Farrant knows all too well that it boils down to forward planning and good communication. “Make sure you have the support and understanding of your family. There will be times that it can cause additional stresses and pressures. Make your decision jointly. Then you’re free to enjoy the experience of a lifetime.”
Port of Felixstowe employee lends operational expertise to Army Reserve
For the past seven years, Andy Bickers has seamlessly balanced work at Britain’s biggest and busiest container port with the challenges of 158 Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps – the Army Reserve Transport Regiment.
At 47 years old, Corporal Section Commander Bickers didn’t consider joining in his younger years but in recent times felt becoming a reservist would give him the opportunity to experience Army life. Something that had always appealed but never featured in his life.
“The application process was smooth and training was tough but enjoyable. I’ve certainly gained more confidence as a reservist and the ability to transfer aspects of leadership and team work both ways. I’ve gained qualifications as a Mountain Bike and Trail Leader and next up is a navigation instructor’s course.”
158 Regiment is based across the whole of the East of England providing trained manpower and equipment to support 7 Regiment RLC on operations and other tasks in the UK and all over the world. To provide this support, the regiment’s vehicle fleet includes Land Rover communication platforms and MANN Support Vehicles able to carry up to 15 tons of equipment on or off road.
Andy is one of three reservists from 158 Regiment, 202 Transport Regiment based in Ipswich who work for the Port of Felixstowe.
Lizzie Firmin, Head of HR, comments, “We’re very proud of our employees who contribute to the Reserve Forces and do all we can to support them. Andy is very well thought of in his work with the Port, and the experience he gains from his role with the Reserve Forces is highly beneficial to us as his employer.”
From Cadet to Reservist, Essex based Finance Analyst goes the distance
25 year old Kevin McLeod Howard (pictured far left) has been an Army Reservist for nearly seven years. Living across the Hertfordshire border in Bishops Stortford, Kevin makes the daily commute to Harlow where he works for Raytheon UK a technology and innovation leader specialising in defence, national security, and other government and commercial markets around the world. But he travels much further afield to dedicate his time to the Army’s newest combat regiment, The Scottish and North Irish Yeomanry which has a footprint across Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“I’d always wanted to be a reservist since I was a kid. From being a cadet, I swiftly moved on to the University Officers’ Training Corps and finally became a reservist with the regiment closest to my heart as a true born Scot. The obvious distance of travel to Scotland has not phased me and as the training schedule is given far in advance I can easily make arrangements to keep both my employer and squadron happy.”
Raytheon UK is a prime contractor and major supplier to the UK Ministry of Defence and Kevin works at its headquarters which is home to their engineering, programme management and corporate business functions. As a Finance Analyst he’s office based full-time 9 ‘til 5 so the excitement of reservist life offers a welcome break away from the desk.
“The training has been some of the most enjoyable things I’ve done and I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with light cavalry tactics, annual camps and adventure training in a number of countries. I’ve gained a management diploma and benefited from leadership and management training. My employer certainly benefits from the other core skills I’ve acquired; mainly good time management, discipline and a strong work ethic.”
Raytheon UK know more than most businesses how important and mutually beneficial it is to employ reservists. In 2014 they received a Silver Award as part of the Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme. The programme celebrates and recognises the support given to Defence personnel by employers that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to the Armed Forces Community.
Raytheon UK’s Chief Executive and Managing Director, Richard Daniel, commented: “Raytheon remains committed to supporting the Armed Forces community and we are proud to be an employer of our UK reservists.”
“The Silver Award is a reflection of our voluntary pledge, which demonstrates our appreciation for the armed forces through the employment opportunities we offer, and the initiatives which we support throughout the year such as Armed Forces Week.”
“In the future we will continue to create opportunities to reservists who play a key role in our Armed Forces by supporting the UK’s defence capability and our nation’s workforce.”
Troop Leader Kevin Howard is certainly dedicated to the cause and encourages anybody thinking about joining the reserves “to give it everything you can. The more you put in the more you get out.”
Picture Left to Right: Kevin MacLeod Howard, Sgt Sarah Stewart (SNIY), Stephen Doran(Director of Operations and Transformation),Sinead ODonnell (Senior HR Business Partner), Major Paul O’Riordan ( SNIY C Sqn Ldr)
Bedford based Reservist keeps Mercedes-Benz and British Army trucking
30 year-old Adam Kent spends his working day analysing, auditing and reporting on a portfolio of nineteen thousand trucks for Mercedes-Benz. But when he’s not behind his desk he takes on a second equally responsible role in the Army Reserve.
For the past seven years Lance Corporal Kent has been a member of 158 Regiment The Royal Logistic Corps, recently joining 201 Transport Squadron based to Bedford to conduct driver training ensuring they’re all up-to-date with the equipment they’re operating and enjoying the hands on experience of driving the huge MAN trucks on exercises and being a part of operations in both the UK and abroad. During his time with the Army Reserve he’s been mobilised twice. As part of Op Olympics during the London 2012 Olympic Games he supported a team responsible for searching vehicles entering the Olympic Park. His second mobilisation was to Afghanistan as part of Op Herrick, where he was working alongside the Army Regulars and providing logistical support to troops at the various operating bases in Helmand Province and also resupplying troops on the ground.
Following in the footsteps of his father, who was a reservist with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers for thirteen years, Adam recounts the moment when he first decided to join the Army Reserve Transport Regiment (158 Regiment The Royal Logistics Corps). “I was out on my motorbike riding past my local unit and they had a ‘now recruiting’ sign, I enquired and I have never looked back! My incentive for joining was that I wanted to gain new experiences and to meet new people, both of which I have definitely succeeded in!”
Balancing life as a reservist with work and personal commitments can be tough but Adam acknowledges that the enjoyment soon outweighs the tiredness associated with working all week and then spending weekends in uniform.
“The Reserves is a commitment rather than a hobby and having family support makes it easier. In my experience the pros far outweigh the cons. The experience has made me very open minded and some of my best friends in the reserves are people who ordinarily wouldn’t be in my social group. Also the physical challenges have been phenomenal. As part of the Adventure Training activities I’ve been mountain biking, caving and gorge walking. I’ve also gained many new qualifications; mini bus and coach driving licences, certificates in first aid and the Driving Conversion Instructor’s qualification.”
Fortunately, Adam’s supported well by his employer Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK in Milton Keynes and able to attend drill nights and training weekends as required. Sam Whittaker, Director Customer Service & Parts says, “We’re delighted to support Adam in his reserve work at Mercedes-Benz Trucks UK. We’re keen to provide flexible working in order that Reserves and specifically Adam can make this invaluable contribution to our society and safeguard the values that both Mercedes-Benz and UK citizens hold dear.”
#SaluteOurForces #ReservesDay #ForOurForces
For more information visit the Reserves Day website.