Employers visit Reservists on Exercise in Scotland

Employers from across the country have visited Royal Navy and Royal Marine reservists as they supported the UK's biggest maritime exercise of the year.

The employers, representing both the private and public sectors, travelled from as far afield as London, South Wales and Glasgow to Her Majesty's Naval Base at Faslane on the River Clyde to see and experience exactly what reservists do when they swap their civilian clothing for a military uniform.

Louise Joseph is the Assistant Director Workforce & Organisational Development for ABM University Health Board in South Wales.

Louise, who employs HMS Cambria reservist Chief Petty Officer Leon Munierks in her team, said: "I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to visit a Royal Navy exercise and to have the chance to see what Leon does when he's not at our work.

I was completely blown away by the huge variety of roles available to reservists

Louise Joseph

“I was completely blown away by the huge variety of roles available to reservists, who can choose to do something which compliments their civilian job or something completely different!"

The group were hosted at Faslane by Colonel Jeff Moulton, the Deputy Commander of the Maritime Reserves.

Colonel Moulton, a Royal Marine by background but now the second in command of both the Royal Navy Reserve and the Royal Marines Reserve, said: "It was great to have employers with such a wide range of backgrounds to visit our reservists as they put into practice the skills they've learned alongside their regular counterparts.

“Our reservists live by the mantra 'train hard, fight easy' which means that they take part in exercises like Joint Warrior in Scotland to practice the skills they would need on active service.

“Our group of employer guests were given a real insight into what their reservists do when they've left the office and donned their military uniform."

As part of their visit, the employers were taken to the Maritime Operations Centre, which is essentially the nerve centre of the exercise.

They were introduced to reservists working in a variety of roles, from Media Operations officers telling the Navy's story, to Maritime Trade specialists who liaise with merchant ships in operational areas, to submarine controllers who are similar to ‘air traffic controllers’ but underwater.

Sub Lieutenant Tekpeki Amin, a reservist from HMS Wildfire and a Project Manager for international agribusiness Syngenta said: "My employer is really supportive of my reserve career. And it's not just selfless commitment.

“Businesses understand the value that they get when reservists return to work after being on operations or exercises like Joint Warrior.

“I certainly feel that my leadership skills have been hugely improved by my time in the Royal Navy Reserve, and that's had a positive impact on my contribution at work."

The employers were given a tour of the UK's submarine base, including a visit to the Northern Diving Group, who are responsible for dealing with any threat to the UK from improvised explosive devices or mines from previous conflicts.

Scott Brown, the HR Director at international satellite giant Inmarsat, grew up in Glasgow and took a day away from his Old Street office to see what goes on in Faslane. He said:  "I was so impressed by the attitude of the mine clearance divers.

“Yes, they have the best kit available to them, but they also clearly have nerves of steel.

“It was really interesting to hear that civilians can join the reserves and find themselves fully qualified mine clearance divers within four years. What an achievement!"

The Royal Navy Reserves regularly support their regular counterparts on operations around the world, or on exercises like Joint Warrior. 

Captain Drew Stacey, the commanding officer of the planning team who manage the exercise, said:  "I can't deliver Joint Warrior without reservists.

“Whether it's media, intelligence, maritime trade or submarine control, the reservists supporting my team in niche capabilities that we don't have in the regular Royal Navy are making a real difference to the safety and security of our country.

“The support of their employers is fundamental to that success."