The Volunteer Reserve Forces are an integral and vital part of the UK’s Armed Forces. Anyone who joins the Royal Naval Reserve, Royal Marines Reserve, Territorial Army or Royal Auxiliary Air Force should do so in the expectation that they are likely to be mobilised at some time to serve alongside their Regular counterparts.
Reservists must train to the required standards of professionalism needed to meet this commitment and cannot do so without cooperation from their employers.
SaBRE is a national campaign set up by the Ministry of Defence to enhance the relationship between employers and reservists. The campaign helps to improve awareness and develop a better understanding of the benefits and obligations associated with employing members of the Volunteer Reserve Forces. It is delivered both nationally and regionally, and the Lowland Regional SaBRE Campaign Director (RSCD) is employed by Lowland RFCA.
The Association also has a Regional Employer Support Group made up of Association members with local expertise, knowledge and contacts to co-ordinate and so enhance the delivery of employer support in Lowland Scotland. The Group works closely in support of the three Services’ chains of command, all of which have Volunteer Reserve Force units in the region.
For information on the national SaBRE campaign, visit www.sabre.mod.uk.
The Lowland RSCD, Susan Flintoff, is happy to discuss and advise on the implications of employing a member of the Volunteer Reserve Forces, and to help resolve any issues which may arise. You can contact her by:
Telephone: 0141 945 6751
The Lowland Regional Employer Support Group hosts events when employers can learn more about what VRF units do, and network with others who have reservists working for them.
Exercise EXECUTIVE STRETCH
Exercise EXECUTIVE STRETCH is weekend programme of personal development, teamwork skills and leadership training for fit and enthusiastic junior and middle managers, with potential for higher things. It calls for problem solving, quick thinking and fast decision making to complete team tasks and meet objectives.
The Exercise is sponsored by 51 (Scottish) Brigade with Highland and Lowland RFCAs, and is led on each occasion by a major Scottish TA unit. It introduces participants and their employers to the very best of the VRF in Scotland. Most of those running the Exercise are themselves employed in Scotland. They use their time in the VRF to gain additional skills and qualities which make them invaluable assets to their employers.
At the end of the Exercise we hope that participants will have a better appreciation of what VRF training does for reservists, who could be working for, or alongside, them.
One Person's View of the Exercise
SaBRE’s Executive Stretch can be described as a fun weekend with very little sleep, lots of fresh air, quite a few bangs, strenuous exercise and some real life challenges. It seems to have suited SAC Crop Systems Ecologist Oliver Knox down to the ground because he has just received a special award for his outstanding contribution to the course.
The weekend exposed executives and potential managers to some of the challenges faced by today’s defence force staff and the reservists, which currently make up about 10% of the overseas British contingent. SaBRE (Supporting Britain’s Reservists and Employers ) acts as a link between reservists and employers who may be reluctant to employ someone who might be absent for extended periods. However, according to SaBRE, the kind of personal development training reservists undergo means they can make a special contribution to any business.
Oliver Knox has no military aspirations but loved the course which involved several team building and leadership challenges far beyond his normal comfort zone.
So Was I Stretched?
Oliver writes -
"The Undertones, ‘Teenage Kicks’ will never again have quite the same appeal after it was used as an alarm at 05:00 h. I was at Barry Buddon Camp near Monifieth in April on what SAC described as some kind of team building exercise.
I began to think it might be a bit different soon after arrival when divided in sections of 8, kitted out in our “green grow bags”, we were given an introductory talk and briefings before the first problem solving exercise and bed.
“Kicked” into action the next day we faced a series of stands and assessments including the ranges (yes, you get to fire an SA80), the assault course (including 12-foot wall), mine field operations, medical first aid (you have never had first aid training like this –with real amputees and lots of simulated gore!), boat drills (with chickens, foxes and seed), reconnaissance training, harbour insertions (somewhere to sleep under the stars), mission planning and bed (well, a sleeping bag under a poncho).
By 05:00 on the Sunday we were up again and preparing for the morning’s extractions exercise that began at 07:00 h. The end of this exercise saw the conclusion of training and the final challenge, putting it all together, heading back to the ranges where each section demonstrated its marksmanship to scare off the enemy. Then via boat and beach landing we headed to a new insertion point from where each section ran to the final hurdle, the obstacle course, and completion of the exercise.
By the end I felt I had been stretched mentally, physically and emotionally, but was left with a huge feeling of achievement and accomplishment.
So what have I learned?
Reflecting on the 36-hour experience I realised I had learned a number of things. The media portrayal of what UK defence forces and volunteers do only scratches the surface of their role at home and all over the world. Volunteers are now an integral part of the UK’s deployed forces, which highlights how employer support is crucial.
As an individual I learned that there are areas of my own life and approach to work that I can improve upon, and that team work is often essential, making all sorts of endeavours possible.
I also learned with particular reference to the weekend that: it is handy to always have a pen and paper close by; should you find yourself sleeping near someone called Colin consider wearing ear defenders; and the defence forces use more acronyms than scientists!
The take home messages
The weekend was made particularly memorable by every one of the ‘Secret Seven plus Enid and Blyton’. In our yellow bibs, Bravo section not only stood out in the field (although we were unspotted on our close reconnaissance exercise), but were the overall winning team for the weekend. Without the support of Kevin, Nicola, Gail, Paul, Neil and Matt I wouldn’t have had so much fun. Cheers!
Our experience was further enriched by the input and guidance we received from our section DS, which consisted of Captain P. Riddell and Company Sergeant, Major C. Park. Thank you gentlemen from all in Bravo section.
Thanks also to SAC for the opportunity and to SaBRE, Trania was lovely and I would gladly go back sometime.
If you are interested in taking part or would like to nominate someone from your company who would benefit from Exercise EXECUTIVE STRETCH, you can download the application form here.
Photos from recent exercises
Record your support for Reservists
SaBRE invites you to publicise your continued support of the VRF by joining its online supportive employers listing. If you’d like to take up this opportunity, we require your written confirmation that your organisation is happy both to endorse publicly the statement of support and to relay details of the support you offer. To download the Online Listing Support Form click here. Organisations in Lowland Scotland which have already recorded their support include:
Arnold Clark Automobiles
BAA Glasgow Airport
BARR Holdings Limited
Biggart Baillie LLP Dalmore House Glasgow G2 5QR
Biggart Baillie LLP 2 Lochrin Square 96 Fountainbridge Edinburgh EH3 9QA
Billy Bowie Special Projects Ltd
Brannock High School
Careline Services Selkirk
Carntyne Transport Co Ltd
Castlebrae Drainage Services Ltd
City Building (Glasgow) LLP
City of Edinburgh Council
City of Edinburgh Council (Chesser House)
Clydesdale Bank Plc
Cross Country Trains
Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary
Dumfries & Galloway Council
East Ayrshire Council
East Lothian Council
East Renfrewshire Council
Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce
Euro RSCG Riley
Glasgow Chamber of Commerce
Glasgow City Council
Greenvale AP Ltd
GTG Training Ltd
Gulf Coast Seal (UK) Ltd
HM Prison Kilmarnock, SERCO Home Affairs
Homebase Limited (Robroyston)
Interserve Project Services Ltd
Jacobs Engineering UK Ltd
Jewel & Esk College
Lothian & Borders Police
Macdonald Hotels & Resorts
NHS Ayrshire & Arran
NHS Dumfries & Galloway
NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde
North Ayrshire Council
North Lanarkshire Council
Office Furniture Centre
Registers of Scotland
Rewards Training - Edinburgh
Rewards Training - Glasgow
Royal Alexandra Hospital
Royal Bank of Scotland, Gogarburn, Edinburgh
Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, Emergency Department
Scottish Agricultural College
Scottish & Newcastle
Scottish Ambulance Service
Scottish Borders Council
Scottish Court Service
Scottish Prison Service
South Ayrshire Council
South Lanarkshire Council
Spire Edinburgh Hospitals
Strathclyde Fire & Rescue
The Builders Supply Co Ltd
The Flat Company
The James McVicar Printing Works
Tods Murray LLP
Turner Facilities Management Ltd
University of Glasgow
West Lothian Council
Western General Hospital Edinburgh
White House Products Ltd
For the full UK listing, go to http://www.sabre.mod.uk/output/page36.asp.