Six local employers were invited by the RFCA’s Employer Engagement team to join reservists on foreign training exercises and see them in action in Operation “Employers Abroad”.
The exclusive, immersive experience involved four days in the company of the “Steelbacks”, the Reserve battalion of the Royal Anglian Regiment, on Exercise Roman Star in Turin, Italy.
Representatives from Maritime Transport, Cambridgeshire County Council , Peterborough City Council, Colchester Borough Council, Honywood School and Howden’s Joinery Limited all employ reservists. All three of the Councils that attended this year’s “Employers Abroad” have successfully achieved ERS Silver Awards during 2018.
Kristina Carrington, Regional Employer Engagement Director believes employer visits to Reserve training activities, exercises and operations are an important and effective way of helping employers to better understand the roles of Reservists, and how the skills and experiences gained through Reserve service can benefit the civilian workplace.
Sam Goodman from Colchester Borough Council echoed that the “Employers Abroad” programme provided a valuable insight into the military regime and training undertaken by reservists. She added: “I now have the knowledge to cascade key messages to staff at Colchester Borough Council, including the benefits of employing reservists.”
Scott Cayhill from Honywood School said: “Being able to see first-hand what my colleague does whilst away with the Reserves gave me a great insight into what it involves. My own personal experience from the visit was also fantastic; the opportunity to take part in the activities with some of the reservists was a personal highlight.”
Lucy Gregory from Maritime Transport, said: “Having committed to the Armed Forces Covenant in 2015, and following our Silver Award from the Ministry of Defence, we have enjoyed working closely with Service Leavers for a number of years. After recently spending several days with the Reservists in Italy, I was so impressed with their commitment to work whilst also being part of the reservists and have no doubt the skills and attributes each of them learn and possess make them absolute assets to any organisation. The teamwork and respect shown over just three days has been phenomenal and something I’ve felt really privileged to be a part of.”
The benefits of the trip for Andrew Paton from Howden’s Joinery were two fold. “This employer engagement experience has shown me the value of the Reserve Forces within the Armed Forces. I am proud to employ a reservist and appreciate the skillset, knowledge and resources that our reservists brings to my team.” Following the trip, Andrew intends to sign up as a Reservist himself.
These unique visits give employers an insight into reservist life so they can better understand their employees skills set and comprehend why it’s essential to offer flexibility and additional support to them so they can fulfil their reservist commitments.
Feature Image: Scott Cayhill from Honywood School trying on field kit.