We continue our look at the Army Reserves in the build up to Reserves Day on June, 21. Here we look at three more case studies

Gnr Jessica Connolly

I have been part of the Army Reserves for 3 years and I am qualified in RA Basic Communications and level 2 Artillery Logistics. I have learned to communicate on a military radio which enables me to call in fire missions, support and maintain the L118 Light gun, also storage and warehousing systems and gained an in-depth understanding of ammunition and fuel. I get the chance to learn to drive a wide range of vehicles to an advanced level, from motorbikes to forklifts, Land Rovers and I have gained a lot of good mates along the way. I have been deployed to Warcop, Sennybridge Otterburn and Scotland.

My aim for the future in the Army Reserves is to gain more experience on level 2 communications with 103 RA and complete a PNCO leadership course to progress to my next step in my army career as a LBdr.

In civilian life I work as a support worker in St Helens, Merseyside.

Gnr MacDonald

I joined the Army Reserves during my second year of University for something to keep me occupied and for a bit of spare money. I quickly realised that it would provide me with that and much more! Within my first year I had qualified as a trained soldier and taken part in exercises in Germany and all over the UK, while taking part in battlefield tours, kayaking, rock climbing, mountain biking, dinners and social events.

4 Years later, I am still a member of the Army Reserve, fulfilling the role of a Gunner on the 105mm Light Gun. To get to this stage I completed two separate courses offering me physical and mental challenges and really giving myself an enormous sense of achievement. The biggest highlight for me so far was travelling to the Falkland Islands and bringing everything I had learnt together on a live firing exercise over the course of 2 weeks.

In my civilian life, I work as a technician in a secondary school, providing support with audio/visual equipment, maintaining physical education apparatus and teaching students about sound and lighting for theatre, venues and studios.

The best thing about being an Army Reservist for me is the opportunity to have the “best of both worlds”, where I can work and build my skills in an exciting military environment but still be able to follow my passion in a civilian career.

SSgt Andy Ward.

Andy Ward served in the regular Army for 25 years. Realising that eventually he would become a civilian, in 2011 he moved with his family to North Wales from their military base in Germany.

His first role as a civilian was that of the Operations Manager for Eastern Europe’s biggest Garlic Producer which saw him relocate for 6 months to Bulgaria.

“To be honest this was like an operational tour however, it provided me with some valuable experiences in managing an even more diverse workforce with very differing skills, values and cultures.”

Andy Ward goes on to explain how this opportunity provided valuable insight into how a Military background can benefit a civilian career.

“The Bulgarian opportunity really proved how valuable a service leaver can be to a civilian employer bringing a plethora of transferrable skills and setting the scene for me moving forward in a senior managerial role.“

Today Toby is settled in North Wales with his family where he manages a multi-site dairy business and is responsible for 40 employees with a wide range of skills and attributes, as well as managing a diverse vehicle fleet which ranges from electric milk floats to 198 tonne trucks.

“Although I find myself extremely busy with different challenges on almost a daily basis I still found a gap in my life that needed to be filled,” he says.

Watching his eldest son and daughter join the Royal Artillery and his first unit of 32 Reg RA, Toby found himself both extremely proud a little jealous.

“The Army was my life and something I couldn’t let go of. I decided to explore the Army reserves and joined 216 Battery, 103 Regiment RA as a Troop Sargeant Major in September 2015.”

In the last year SSgt Davison has captained the Cross Country team to victory as well as Snowboarding with the Regt team twice in Austria.

Toby admits that joining the Army Reserves has been a journey of discovery with him tackling his perceptions.

“It has been a very rewarding journey. I feel reinvigorated and re-energised, and am looking forward to the challenges that 2017 will bring."