Portsmouth called to support the army’s effort to recruit new reservists

Andrew Thomas, a reservist who is an A&E nurse at QA Hospital
Andrew Thomas, a reservist who is an A&E nurse at QA Hospital

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  • Army says reserves can bring key skills to city businesses
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A RALLYING cry has been launched by the British Army for more people in the Portsmouth area to sign up and swell its reservist ranks.

The plea comes after an engagement day with city businesses at Baker Barracks on Thorney Island – the home of the army’s Royal Artillery Regiments.

We don’t just employ them because we’re nice people but because we do feel a fiscal benefit from them being in the reserve force

Marcus Murphy, key client manager of BMT Isis

It is part of a drive to promote the benefits of being a reservist and the skills that this can bring to firms.

Andrew Thomas, 34, is an A&E nurse at Queen Alexandra Hospital. He is also a reservist with the 234 (The Wessex) Field Hospital unit based in Portsmouth.

He said his army training had helped him cope with the stresses of a busy emergency department and develop his overall nursing skills.

‘There are four reservists in the A&E department which is great because when we have a shift together it runs like clockwork – there’s never any chaos,’ he added.

Cpl Thomas, who was manning a stall at the engagement event, recently returned from a 16-day training exercise with the US military in California.

During the trip he had his medical knowledge tested in a series of realistic scenarios.

And he had the chance to do some adventurous training in the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

‘It was incredible,’ he added. ‘I learnt so many new skills – things the NHS would never have taught me.’

Marcus Murphy is the key client manager at Fareham-based defence company BMT Isis, which recruits a number of reservists and veterans.

He is a former soldier in both the Territorial Army and the regular force, with 22 years’ service under his belt.

He said: ‘We don’t just employ them because we’re nice people but because we do feel a fiscal benefit from them being in the reserve force.

‘It may not always be in pounds and pence but in the skills they bring to us.’

Reservists complete a minimum of 27 days training a year, made up of evening and weekend sessions as well as an annual two-week camp.

Deployments are rare, but when they do happen, reservists are told months in advance.

Likewise, they’re employers are compensated while a reservist is away.

Major Andrew Night, of 11 Infantry Brigade, said the army was keen to recruit new reserve officers.

‘We believe reservists and service-leavers can bring a lot to businesses – skills like leadership, courage, self-discipline and striving for success in all they do,’ he added.

For more details, see www.army.mod.uk/reserve