Highland RFCA’s ChamberFORCE initiative was launched just three months ago and is already demonstrating its worth.
ChamberFORCE is a partnership between five Scottish Chambers of Commerce (supported by HRFCA), and units of the Army, Royal Navy and RAF Reserves. Each Chamber has been assigned its own special military “buddy”, with the partners working together to build a mutually beneficial relationship. Dundee & Angus Chamber partners with 225 Medical Regiment of the Royal Army Medical Corps. Fife Chamber partners with 154 (Scottish) Regiment of the Royal Logistic Corps. Dunbartonshire Chamber partners with 7th Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland (7 SCOTS). Aberdeen Chamber partners with the Naval Regional Command for Scotland and Northern Ireland, and Moray Chamber partners with RAF Lossiemouth.
Chambers members are able to access a range of benefits such as help with recruiting highly skilled ex-military personnel, access to exclusive networking and briefing events, and a range of no-cost leadership and staff development opportunities. One example of those benefits was the recent opportunity for employers to see Reservist soldiers from 7 SCOTS in action at the Barry Buddon Training Area near Carnoustie.
This provided a unique opportunity to see Army Reservists demonstrating the skills and expertise that make them valuable employees in the civilian world.
The employers –Aberdeenshire Council, McRoberts LLP and Muir Construction– were able to watch a variety of training events including General-Purpose Machine Gun live firing, mortar fire drills, and counter improvised explosive device training.
Before moving on from each training drill, employers were given the opportunity to speak with the reservists about their time with 7 SCOTS and the ways in which their military skills can be used in their civilian jobs; the resounding response being their strong sense of self confidence. The morning was a great success and left employers with a greater understanding of the benefits of hiring reservists and how better to support them.
The Commanding Officer of 7 SCOTS, Lieutenant Colonel Matt Sheldrick, said: “7 SCOTS is privileged and delighted to be involved in ChamberFORCE. Our Army Reserve men and women are ‘citizen soldiers’ who live and work within the local community alongside their civilian counterparts; employers, work colleagues, family and friends alike.
“It is important that there is an open and honest relationship between the Reservist and their employer, and that employers are aware of the range of benefits of employing a member of the Reserve Forces and the many and varied hard and soft transferable skills which Reservists learn and develop during their Military training and take back to the workplace at no cost to the employer.
“Our objective is to engage with Chamber members so that they gain a clear and comprehensive understanding of the quality of our people and the value of their transferable skills in order to encourage the employment of Reservists, which will in turn allow for a receptive audience in which to promote the Reserve Forces, 7 SCOTS in the workplace.”
Employers will have further opportunities to see Reservists in action this year, through the popular Exercise Executive Stretch and Exercise Mini-Stretch, details of which will be published shortly.