A Peterborough Reservist is set to wear his military uniform to his civilian workplace on Wednesday this week in a bid to raise awareness of the hard work and commitment Reservists across the country offer to the Armed Forces.
Captain Matthew Van Lier is serving with 158 Transport Regiment Royal Logistic Corps (RLC) based in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire and will be supporting Reserves Day on Wednesday 24th June by wearing his Army Reserve uniform to work.
Matthews’s role as a Reservist is Second in Command (2IC) of 200 Squadron which is the Headquarter Squadron of 158 Transport Regiment who’re responsible for the logistics exercise in terms of supporting frontline troops in operations.
Matthew’s civilian employment is as an Assistant Head Teacher at St John Fisher Catholic High School and he decided to take part in Reserves Day because, “Reserves Day is a really important event and generally raises the awareness of the contribution that the Armed Forces make to the Nation. When I wear my uniform to school, there is a really positive response from both members of staff and students.”
This isn’t the first time Matthew has been involved with Reserves Day, last year 158 Regiment (RLC) had a stand in Peterborough town centre which gave Matthew and his Reserve colleagues an opportunity to engage with the general public, share their experiences and let them know what the Reserve Forces are all about.
Highlights throughout Matthew’s Reservist career, and the drive behind his passion for serving as a Reservist are the opportunities he has been given, he said, “I think the Army Reserve is a great organisation to join and personally I have benefitted in so many ways. I’ve got so many real highlights, the experience of going through the commissioning course at Sandhurst and generally getting involved with a variety of adventurous and exciting training courses that you get to participate in alongside your Regular counterparts.”
“The overall highlight is simply the unrivalled experience of being a member of the Army Reserve. On joining, one of my main goals was to help others develop and hone their skills, watching new and excitable recruits grow and develop into strong and experienced leaders, and my role as Second in Command allows me to do this”
The experience and skills gained during his Reservist role has enabled Matthew to achieve goals in his civilian career that he may not have if he hadn’t joined the Reserve Forces, he said “There is no doubt in my mind that my early experience in the Army Reserve gave me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills. I was given the chance to lead a significant number of people as a Reservist when the opportunity to do this in my civilian career was simply not there. Due to this early opportunity, my journey up the civilian career ladder was a lot quicker”
As well as being a Reservist, Matthew is the drive behind the schools Cadet Expansion project. With all of Matthew’s positive exposure to the Military, he was well aware of all of the benefits building a Combined Cadet Force Detachment within the school would give to students and was keen to get the project up and running.
“I think the reason behind setting up our own Combined Cadet Force certainly relates to me wearing my uniform to work and the students wanting to get involved with that process and recognising the wider opportunities that being a member of the armed forces would give them in their future careers.”
Now in their second phase of Cadet recruitment, they are now looking to grow from 15 to 50 Cadets. As the Cadet numbers grow, the need for more Cadet Force Adult Volunteers within the school is also growing and the amount of staff keen to get involved is fantastic with some staff members already beginning the commissioning process.
Captain Matthew Van Lier is a fine example of what is possible to achieve within the Reserve Forces, not only has Matthew made positive changes to his own personal and civilian working life but has become an inspiration for students within the St John Fisher Catholic School who are the future.