The Earl of Wessex stressed the value of military Reservists to the nation – and to their civilian employers – when he attended a lunch reception with more than 60 business owners, managers and HR professionals at Wyvern Barracks in Exeter.
HRH pointed out that plans to expand the Reserve Forces would mean they will be “far better equipped and trained, and no longer an option of last resort,”
HRH added: “This entails a change in the relationship between Reservist and employer and that you understand what it means for them – and for you. In short, how can we create a more supportive environment for them?”
The Earl has close connections with the Reserve Forces, being Royal Colonel of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry, the South West’s armoured reserve regiment, which has sub-units at Barnstaple and Paignton. Wyvern Barracks is itself the home of 6 Rifles, the region’s Reserve infantry regiment, and also to 243 Field Hospital and other Reserve units.
The event was hosted by Wessex Reserve Forces & Cadets Association, who’s Chief Executive, Brigadier Tony Dalby-Welsh, revealed that under the government’s Future Reserves 2020 strategy around 1,200 extra Reservists will be required in the South West, bring the total to more than 4,000.
“Many will be specialists, covering areas that the Regulars might not want to or be able to sustain themselves – medics, logisticians, cyber intelligence, engineering, communications and civil administration,” he said.
Brigadier Dalby-Welsh stressed that the FR2020 would offer incentives to employers as well as Reservists, most obviously in core transferable skills.
These would include team working, leadership and presentation skills – but also advanced communications/technology, languages, hazardous materials handling skills, practical qualifications such as an HGV licence, health and safety qualifications and personnel management.
And he pointed to other measures designed to reduce the risk of employing a Reservist, including better notice periods – at least three months for lower level training and a whole year for the worst case, one-in-five-years deployment.
He also cited the direct experience of employers who find that Reservists are “major plusses” for their businesses, because of their communication skills and work ethic.
For more information about employing Reservists, go to www.sabre.mod.uk/