With the dark days of January behind us and a whiff of spring in the air, the REEDs have been out and about across Northern Scotland engaging with employers of all shapes, sizes and sectors.
Sometimes though, the employers come to us and so, with the help of the lovely chaps at 7SCOTS, we took some of our hardy employers along to the Barry Buddon Training Area (above) to brave the weather on the shooting ranges. A fascinating day was had by all as employers saw for themselves the skills their Reservist employees develop through training. Big thanks to Capt Alan McEwen for arranging this and if you missed it this time, there will be similar opportunities later in the year.
Off next to Moray for a networking lunch co-hosted with Moray Chamber of Commerce and SFB Consulting Group in Elgin. This was one of a series of regional breakfasts and lunches being arranged with our Armed Forces signatories and Armed Forces friendly employers – (Fife in December with Fife Chamber and EVi (Scotland), Aberdeen in March with Aberdeen Chamber and Wood Group) – and is a great chance to share best practice among our businesses. Captain Ken Scott and Corporal Colin Murray of 2622 Squadron RAF both gave excellent presentations on the role of Reservists, and there was a lively and very useful Q&A session with guests to conclude the morning.
From Moray back down to Dundee and on home turf we attended the inaugural Dundee and Angus Expo which proved to be incredibly busy and a great event. Lots of inquiries about Cadets and Reservists and thanks to Lt Col Al Jarvis, CO of Dundee UOTC and WO2 Robert Wilson of 225 Med Reg for dropping by and helping us on the stand. We were particularly pleased to be sited next to The Dundee Gin Company on the day, and fortified ourselves with Dundee Cake Gin and Dundee Marmalade Gin. Well, it would have been rude not to! Sgt Major George particularly enjoyed the Marmalade Gin – a genetic connection to his cousin Paddington we suspect.
It was then a parting of the ways for the REEDs as Michelle headed south to London for the Partnering with Defence Conference, and Roy headed north to Shetland to meet with NHS Shetland and Shetland Council. Two very different venues but with the same aim: working with employers to support their businesses through Partnering with Defence.
With a fair number of miles under their respective belts, the REEDs are going to be confined to Barracks for the next few days in an attempt to complete all 13 of our Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award submissions this year, before the closing date next week. This represents a huge increase in the number of submissions from previous years and we are delighted to have so many Highland businesses going for Gold in 2019.
When we re-surface, it will be on with some more events, including an Armed Forces day at Knockhill Race Course and a mini-stretch with Aberdeen UOTC, Aberdeen Council and Sport Aberdeen, and a Gun Salute in Stirling – a busy month ahead! Last but not least our Head of Engagement Dai John and Head of Comms Ally Duncan are putting their best feet forward in the Alloa Half Marathon on March 31 to raise money for the Highland Cadet Forces Trust, helping our young people to develop leadership skills. You can help them to reach their target (or more) here: