Army Reserve units in Bristol have joined forces to present their specialist skills to employers from a wide range of businesses and public sector organisations.
As well as promoting the role of the specialist in the new Army Reserve they reinforced the importance of the Reserves to the new Army structure announced in a White Paper last year.
The plan is for 30,000 trained Army Reservists to be available by 2018 to support the Regular Army and support from employers is essential to that strategy.
The event at Horfield Army Reserve Centre included presentations from Lieutenant-Colonel Peter Adams, Deputy Chief Executive of Wessex Reserve Forces & Cadets Association, and from Lieutenant-Colonel Marcus Cosgrove, Commanding Officer of 39 Signal Regiment, based at Horfield. In civilian life he is Technical Manager at Crown Paints.
There were also displays and equipment demonstrations from 39 Signal Regiment, which provides a rapidly deployable communications force that can be called upon by the government in a national emergency, from the medics of 243 Field Hospital at Keynsham and by 266 Battery (Gloucestershire Volunteer Artillery) Royal Artillery, based at Whiteladies Road and now taking on a surveillance role.
Among well-known figures from the local business community was Don Cameron, founder of Cameron Balloons, who was appointed an MBE in the recent New Year’s honours for services to design and manufacturing.
Other guests at the event at Horfield Army Reserve Centre included the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol, Mrs Mary Prior MBE JP, and the Lord Mayor, Faruk Choudhury. Mrs Prior told the employer representatives: “We know how important it is for you employers to take their skills and to use them. Your support for the Reserve Forces is hugely appreciated.”
The Army Reserve is to receive £1.8bn investment in better training and better equipment as part of the expansion plans.
Enhanced conditions for reservists include the introduction of paid annual leave and pension entitlements during training and operations, plus better access to defence health services and training. Employers will be given £500 per month per reservist when mobilised, in addition to existing help such as with the cost of advertising for replacements.
To find out about opportunities in the Army Reserve visit www.army.mod.uk/join/20237.aspx .