Reserves Day is celebrated on June, 21, and so Pathfinder have been looking at the roles of our three auxiliary services. This time we feature a 3-part case study on the Army Reserves and the characters that make up the ranks.

Cpl Barrett

As a civilian, Cpl Barrett works for the NHS as a Staff Nurse where he is responsible for planning and delivering care for patients on a busy hospital ward. He is also responsible for managing junior members of staff and student nurses assigned to his shift.

Cpl Barrett had been employed by the NHS for over 30 years when he first thought about joining the Army Reserves, or Territorial Army as it was then.

At the age of 25, Cpl Barrett first made contact with the Territorial Army. He says that taking part in a selection weekend called ‘Operation Raleigh’ was ‘tough and challenging’, adding: “This exercise inspired me and I was keen to experience more. I have now been a member of the Army Reserve for almost 30 years.”

Where confidence in communicating didn’t originally come naturally to Cpl Barrett as a young person, he says the skills he has developed have benefitted him both personally and in his civilian role:

“The discipline necessary to be a member of the Army Reserve definitely benefits the way that I approach some tasks in my civilian employment and also enhanced my confidence in communicating with my peers and bosses. I have also learned how to work well in in a team and with the leaderships and organisational skills learned and developed in the Army Reserves proving to be an asset for civilian role.

Both roles in which Cpl Barrett is employed demand a great deal of time and discipline but he says that overall the NHS have been supportive towards him being a member of the Army Reserves.

“They realise the benefits of the training, discipline and team work and that they play an important part in developing me as a person and a leader in my civilian role.”

Cpl Chris Leaver REME

Chris Leaver joined the reserves in 2008 on the recommendation of a work colleague. Originally part of the Royal Engineers based in Bristol, he decided duri ng his recruit training that he wanted to take up a more vehicle mechanic (VM) based role; as area which had always been of great interest and appeal.

After completing his basic training he transferred to the Royal Engineers LAD as a VM.

Having recently just moved into a new civilian job role working in the Bulldog Project team as a Technical Support Manager, he had gained a fair amount of military vehicle knowledge. Within a year of transferring to REME, Chris was able to complete my Class 3 VM course.

Two years after training with the LAD, Cpl Leaver obtained his VM class 2 qualification and also the rank of LCpl.

Signing up for Op Herrick 16, Chris Leaver had the opportunity to work on Armoured Tracked vehicles such as Warrior and Warthog, as well as some wheeled vehicles.

“I had recently started working in the Warthog Project Team so this was of great benefit to my civilian job and also to the Reservists as I already had an insight into the vehicle and its problems,” he says.

On returning to civilian life, Chris had seen an opportunity for his current unit to work on some Warthogs, not only to turn spanners but also to save the tax payer some money. Arranging for nine battle damaged Warthogs to be sent to Cwmbran ARC his team stripped them of all their salvageable parts and arranged for their repair.

Alongside his Civilian work and Reservist Tours, in 2016 Cpl Leaver worked at a regular unit as part of his annual camp which he say’s gave him a good insight into how Regular units operate.

Cpl Gillibrand

Cpl Gillibrand has been an NHS Podiatrist for the last 4 years and has recently returned from 9 months on Operations in Afghanistan.

In his civilian role as a Podiatrist, he is responsible for the delivery of podiatric medicine and care to patients within the community which involves working autonomously and as part of a multi-disciplinary team, to provide Routine Podiatry care, high risk wound Care, minor foot surgery and biomechanics of the lower limb.

Former Army Cadet Cpl Gillibrand joined the Army Reserves at the age of 17 whilst studying at College.

“I always wanted to join the army and whilst I wanted to gain some academic qualification I thought it was a great way to “keep my hand in” whilst still in education.

“I have a very supportive employer and currently I have time set aside for me to attend a 15 day camp in addition to my annual leave given,” he says.

Cpl Gillibrand adds that the skills and attributes he has gained whilst being in the Army Reserves are transferable to his civilian role, saying: “I am able to pass on my skills with command and leaderships, organisational skills and I’m able to work well in a team environment.”

Expanding on this, Cpl Gillibrand says: “I feel that being a member of the Army Reserves benefits both me and my employer. Allowing me to develop my managerial skills at no cost to my employer will help me in both the Army Reserves and the NHS.”