Posted: Wednesday 21st June 2017
Today is Reserves Day – an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the valuable contribution Reservists make to our Armed Forces.
Reservists give up their spare time to serve in the Reserve Forces, balancing their civilian life with a military career to ensure that, should their country require them, they would be ready to serve as part of the military. The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces personnel.
Derek Twigg is an Assistant Network Manager in our Environment department and has worked for the council for 13 years. Derek has been part of the Reserve Forces for over 14 years and is currently an Adult Training Officer for C Company Essex Army Cadet Force based in Leigh-on-Sea.
Derek told us about his Reserves experience:
What does your Reserve Forces role involve and how much time do you dedicate to it?
My core role is to support new adult volunteers through the basic induction training – this is a 26-week programme, which is flexible to the needs of the volunteers, taking into consideration whether they have a military or civilian background.
We train volunteers using the Army Cadet Force (ACF) syllabus, which covers everything from military skills and navigation to first aid training. I currently have nine new adult volunteers that I’m supporting through their induction training and I supervise 45 others who have already completed the training.
I give a minimum of one night a week and one weekend a month to fulfil my duties. In addition, I join Easter camp each year, which is five days long, and summer camp, which is two weeks of the year.
Do you get any special support from HCC to enable you to fulfil your Reservist duties?
I receive ten days of Reservist leave from the council and I normally use about five days of this each year.
What would you say has been your greatest achievement as a Reservist?
I think my biggest achievement came in 2012, when I received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for my service to the ACF.
I’m also incredibly proud to say that in December 2016, I achieved my Cadet Services medal, recognising my 13 years of continuous service to the Cadet Forces.
What advice would you give to others who are contemplating joining the Reserve Forces?
I was an Army Cadet in Welwyn Garden City from 1978-80 and joined the army after that. My experience taught me invaluable skills, and not just military ones either – such as how to conduct myself appropriately, how to act under pressure and how to plan and organise – all of which are very transferable to the world of work. In my current ACF role, I get a lot of satisfaction from trying to share some of my own life experience with new cadets and have a positive input on their futures.
I’d say that the ACF gives you the opportunity to be part of a really well-respected youth organisation, which takes pride in offering young people exciting, active and challenging opportunities that may otherwise not be available to them.
It’s a really great way to boost your ‘life CV’ before joining the world of employment. The ACF can give you experience of structured learning, help you gain extra qualifications, and enable you to travel to amazing parts of the UK and possibly even overseas. There aren’t many organisations that could offer those kinds of priceless opportunities.
Hertfordshire County Council has been awarded the silver level of the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme, which encourages employers to support defence In particular, the council has confirmed its support for all current and future employees in the Reserve Forces, endorses a policy of non-discrimination towards Reservists and supports those who are required for Reserve Forces training.
Hertfordshire County Council is also a signatory to the Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant. The Covenant is a promise by the nation to ensure that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, are treated fairly. The Covenant gives support to those who need it, such as Reservists living or working in Hertfordshire or those leaving service and looking to settle in Hertfordshire. You can learn more by visiting www.hertfordshireheroes.org
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