An Army Reservist who works in Essex has taken part in Uniform to Work Day to promote the Reserve Forces and highlight the “fundamental role they provide to the military and civilian world.”
Captain Benjamin Clare spends his civilian employment working as an Emergency Planning Officer at Essex Civil Protection and Emergency Management based in Kelvedon in Essex. He has shown his support for Uniform to Work Day on Wednesday 25th June 2014 by wearing his uniform with pride to encourage others to recognise the important role Reservists play in working alongside regular soldiers.
Ben is currently serving as Second in Command for G Company 7 Rifles, Infantry Battalion which is based in West Ham, London and often means he has to find a balance between his civilian life and reservist employment to meet the demands of the role. His full-time employment have been very supportive of this.
Captain Benjamin Clare said: “My employer has been extremely supportive of my role in the reservists, and I believe that came from using many of my military skills and capabilities in order to apply for the role in the first place.
There is quite a large crossover in the skills required for both roles and they’ve always assisted me; from occasionally leaving work early to attend an exercise or taking a day off with short notice to do a particular reservist duty. They’ve always been supportive of my capabilities and using some of my knowledge and skills from outside of my civilian employment to develop the team.”
Ben’s role as a reservist is a vital part of operations and training as well as integration into the regular army. He spoke about why he wanted to get involved in Uniform to Work Day:
“Primarily to raise the awareness of the reserves because they provide such a fundamental role to the military and also to the civilian world and most of my skills in my civilian job come from the military and my military experience. We’re also trying to recruit more people to the reserves to increase the number so it’s all about raising awareness,” Ben explained.
At Essex Civil Protection and Emergency Management, Ben works alongside the emergency services to provide humanitarian assistance and welfare assistance to the public in times of emergency.
A highlight of Ben’s civilian career was when he played a significant role in Operation Pitch Pole after his unit was diverted to assist in the flood relief efforts.
He said: “My commanding officer recognised my civilian skills and I was sent to liaise with the local authorities and emergency responders because I had that in depth knowledge of how the system worked from my civilian job. I was able to utilise the military capability to a much greater effect, understanding their role and their objectives and apply a military context to that and military resources to that.”
Rosanna Briggs, Deputy Head of Essex Civil Protection and Emergency Management, is Line Manager for Ben and she explained the benefits of employing a reservist:
“There are a lot of benefits for having Ben as a reservist but I think there are also a lot of benefits for Ben to take back into his role. We’ve had a number of emergencies which have necessitated us and been sent up to the emergency control centre. From that he’s been able to see how we work as civilians and transfer that into his reservist role.
From my perspective I value the reservist role as I value every member of the team, I think that’s important. Obviously he has that specialism and I think having such a mix is very useful. He has two different perspectives and I think bringing in that reservist perspective into the team gives it another vision.
The skills he has brought in are very valuable to us all,” Rosanna said.