In the run up to Armed Forces Day on 28 June, Hampshire County Council is joining forces with one of the largest naval reserve training centres in the country as part of a national campaign to revitalise the Reserve Forces.
The Council is pledging its support to help HMS King Alfred in Portsmouth boost its numbers by 50 per cent. There are already around 200 staff from across the region who combine their civilian career with a paid job as a Royal Navy Reservist at HMS King Alfred and the Council wants to help it beat its target of 300 by 2018.
Working with the Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defence (MoD), Hampshire County Council will be doing all it can over the next three years to help increase awareness of opportunities in the Reserve Forces among residents, businesses and staff. This is in addition to the ongoing recruitment being undertaken by the unit and national advertising led by the MoD.
It’s part of a commitment to support the Armed Forces that is enshrined within the Community Covenant, which Hampshire County Council was one of the first to sign.
Cllr Keith Mans, the Council’s armed forces champion and a former RAF reserves pilot , said: “We are very pleased to be able to support these concerted national efforts by working with HMS King Alfred in Hampshire to encourage more people to consider the benefits that joining the reserves can bring. There are a great many benefits for residents from joining the reserve forces. The part-time paid roles can help them gain new skills, embark on new experiences and develop new strengths such as leadership and team work that can help them in their day job, so the employers gain too.
“Reserve Forces will play an increasingly important role in the armed forces and national security, as set out in the government’s Future Reserves 2020 policy, which requires the Army Reserve (Territorial Army) to grow to a trained strength of 30,000, the Maritime Reserve to 3,100 and the Royal Air Force Reserves to 1,800.
“Government is promoting the integration of the Reserve Forces with the Regular Armed Forces in terms of training and deployment alongside Regular Units, access to the same equipment and comparable rates of pay and providing more training to ensure Reservists are fully prepared to serve if required. It is offering more notice of training and deployment to benefit the Reservist and their employer, accredited military training to develop skills that can be transferred to civilian roles and the opportunity to harness niche skills such as cyber defence, language and medical skills.
“As an employer, Hampshire County Council has put in place a protocol to positively support staff who are reservists in their spare time and the Cabinet Office is sharing this as a good example with other Councils who have signed up to the Community Covenant.
“Reservists were the first among hundreds of army and navy personnel providing hands-on assistance in support of the multi-agency response and recovery efforts to flooding in Hampshire this winter, which greatly enhanced the capability of the civilian emergency services and that makes it all the more timely for us to want to help revitalise and increase the links back to society of reservists in all three armed forces.”
The County Council is also supporting Uniform to Work Day on Wednesday 25 June, when reservists are encouraged to hang up their usual work clothes and proudly don their Service uniforms to demonstrate the huge contribution that ordinary can make to the Armed Forces.
HMS King Alfred, which has been on Whale Island for the last 20 years, has its next big recruitment event on 28th June with the Royal Navy Reserve Live event designed to introduce residents to a wider group of reservists conducting a range of activities. At the recruiting presentation, both reservists and Careers Advisors will be available to offer advice and information and to let people know more about what to expect if they decide to join.
Commanding 0fficer of HMS King Alfred, Commander Anthony Stickland said:
“”I am delighted that Hampshire County Council is fully supporting HMS King Alfred’s recruiting campaign with such a positive, engaging approach, helping us to raise awareness of the mutual benefits of Reserve Service both to the employer and to the individual. The Royal Naval Reserve offers so many opportunities including providing courses towards professional skills, actively encourages adventurous spirits, developing leadership ability and teamwork in support of the Armed Forces while the employer in turn will reap the benefit of this training in providing a well-rounded, highly motivated individual.”
HMS King Alfred also hosts a lively facebook page detailing the training, sporting and social activities of the Royal Navy Reservists there https://www.facebook.com/HMSKingAlfred
Brigadier Mark van der Lande, the MoD’s Head of Reserve Forces and Cadets, Ministry of Defence said: “The Reserve Forces play crucial roles in national security from countering security threats, peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts abroad to supporting community initiatives at home. Service in the Reserve Forces offers individuals the opportunity to combine a civilian career with part-time paid service in the Armed Forces. We seek people to do many different roles in the Reserve Forces. Service in the Reserve Forces also equips individuals with new skills and invaluable experiences to develop strengths that people never knew they had.”
The campaign is also supported by the Local Government Association, the Department for Communities and Local Government and LGcommunications.