Lieutenant Gareth Hetheridge, of 71 Military Intelligence Company, stepped up at the 11th hour to present to around 150 Rolls-Royce managers and staff who dropped in on an Army Employer Engagement day organised at the company’s Filton facility in Bristol.
He was an inspired choice – and not just for his communication skills. The 28-year-old is a recently-recruited Reservist with experience as a Regular in the RAF and in his day job is a project manager on the company’s Eurofighter Typhoon EJ200 engine programme.
Gareth said: “My colleagues do know about my Army Reserve activities but events like this are fantastic to raise awareness of the Army, what it does and why.
“Working in engineering in my civilian career and with intelligence analysts in the Army Reserve, I am used to working for people with incredibly high intellect and managing and co-ordinating them to get the best out of them. My roles and skills are very transferable.”
He added: “I’m lucky in that Rolls-Royce is very supportive of the Army Reserve and signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant earlier this year. So I get a week’s extra leave per year, because my management appreciate the additional work I have to do for the Army.
“My ambition as a Reservist is to deploy and go on operations, something I never had the opportunity to do in the RAF. I missed the camaraderie, and everything that goes with the military, but now I have a chance to be a part of it again.”
Brigadier Piers Hankinson, Commander 43 (Wessex) Brigade, which organised the event along with Rolls-Royce, was delighted that it attracted so many of the company’s employees.
He said: “Interest from staff throughout the day certainly exceeded expectations and justified all the hard work that went in to staging an all-day event like this.
“We are very grateful to Rolls-Royce for helping us to explain how Reservists’ transferable skills can benefit both individuals and their employers, as well as protecting and serving our country. We had 20 people express an interest in becoming Reservists themselves.”
71 Military Intelligence Company is based at Keynsham, part of the new 7th Military Intelligence Battalion headquartered in Bristol.
Other Reserve units represented at the event included: 6th Battalion, The Rifles (6 RIFLES); 39th Signal Regiment; 266 (Gloucestershire Volunteer Artillery) Battery, 104 Regiment Royal Artillery; 675 Squadron, 6 Army Air Corps Regiment; 100 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers; 105 Battalion Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers; and the Royal Naval Reserve (HMS Flying Fox).