Today we celebrate Reserves Day, a day which highlights and recognises the valuable contribution reservists make to our Armed Forces by volunteering their time outside of their day jobs. Over 25 per cent of our team is made up of personnel with an Armed Forces background, which includes reservists, their families and those who support the cadets. We’d like to say thank you to each and every one of you for everything that you do to help to keep the UK safe.

Paul Wesley, Facilities Manager at Sennybridge Camp in Wales and West is one of our valued reservists. Paul joined the Reserves two months ago having served in the army for 25 years. We spoke to him about his experience.

Reserves Day Paul Wesley

“My role within the reserves is Training Wing Sergeant Major for 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital Royal Army Medical Corps. Prior to that I was employed as a Full Time Reserve Service soldier in the Defence Infrastruture Organisation (DIO) for six years and a regular soldier for twenty five years before that.

“Having recent military experience meant that I needed very little training to join, however if you are new to it all then the normal ‘basics’ will be covered such as drill, weapons training, fieldcraft, navigation, first aid, fitness etc. The main bulk of this will be covered during a two week camp. Once you’re in then you attend one drill night a week, a training weekend every month and a two week annual camp.

“My units drill night is on a Wednesday and a typical one consists of changing out of my Landmarc ‘uniform’ and into my military one and making a short drive to Cwrt-y-Gollen training camp. The drill nights start at 1930 hours and the training can be varied from weapons, fitness to navigation amongst other things. Also, as we are part of a Field Hospital, and most members work in the NHS, the First Aid training can be particularly imaginative! The key thing though is the training is fun with a relaxed atmosphere and everyone is encouraged to succeed. The drill night then finishes at around 2100-2130 hours.

“Getting the work life balance right can be challenging, as attending the drill nights and the weekend training does take you away from your family but the reserves have a sensible outlook on it so if you can make the training then that’s great, but if not then there is no massive problem. They certainly do not expect you to miss birthdays and weddings!

“It’s really important that employers aim to support reservists because not only do they get an employee who will improve their skill set which will benefit the company, they will have an employee who will be taken out of their comfort zone which builds their self-confidence and determination.

“For me, I am learning a lot more about First Aid and how wicked a sense of humour NHS staff have. Luckily I haven’t had to use my improving First Aid skills in my day-to-day role yet, but there are many skills which are transferable between both roles such as; self-discipline, time keeping, maintaining a sense of humour and problem solving. I’ve also learnt just how onside Landmarc are with helping me manage my Landmarc and reservist career.

“If I had any advice for someone thinking about applying it would be – Just go for it. You won’t look back.”