We spoke to three Army Reservists mobilised as a part of the national coronavirus response, working together as part of the Mobile Testing Unit team.
Private Brian Smith works for Denholm Partnership Architects as an Architectural Assistant in Comrie. He is also a Platoon Signaller and Radio Operator with 7 SCOTS, and is based at the unit headquarters in Perth.
Since being mobilised, he has been deployed to Greenock as part of a Mobile Testing Unit team. During this task, the team have been safely and effectively testing up to 40 members of the public for Covid-19 each day.
Brian joined the Army Reserves in 2013 and subsequently mobilised in support of the national response to Covid-19 in April 2020. This is the second time he has been mobilised. He is due to remain working until October 2020.
Brian said: “I initially joined the Army Reserves because I sought to challenge myself mentally and physically, as well as gain new skills and have the opportunity to go abroad and on operations. I took the opportunity to mobilise this year because my civilian job was at risk due to the Covid-19 impact on the economy. The mobilisation enabled me to work throughout the summer before returning to university in September/October this year to finish my studies. Coming off the back of a Potential Junior Non-Commissioned Officer cadre late last year, this mobilisation was the perfect opportunity to pick up more responsibilities and show that I am a good candidate for promotion.”
Private Alexander Stewart is also a Reservist based at 7 SCOTS HQ in Perth. In civilian life he works as a joiner with Perth and Kinross Council.
He said: “I have had the opportunity to travel all over the UK for training. Since being mobilised, I have been deployed to the west of Scotland, manning a Mobile Testing Unit in the Greenock area.”
He joined the Army Reserve in 2016 and was subsequently mobilised in support of the national coronavirus response in April 2020. This is his first time being mobilised. Like Brian, he is due to remain working until October.
Alexander started an apprenticeship in carpentry and joinery straight after school at the age of 16, but had always wanted to join the Army. It wasn’t until many years later after speaking with the Perth recruiting team that he decided to join the Reserves. Now, he has taken it on board as a second career.
He said: “I took the opportunity to mobilise this year to use the skills that I have developed to support the country in its fight against Covid-19. Since joining, I’ve achieved things physically that I would have only dreamed of before, such as rock climbing which I got a good introduction to at an Adventure Training weekend. Having the support of like-minded people in the Army has developed the outlook I’ve had on the way I approach things from work to staying healthy and active. Through joining the Reserves I developed more confidence in being a leader, which in turn has enabled me to complete a Junior NCO Cadre as well as develop a new network of friends.”
Private Kevin Inkster works for Sandvik Ltd T/A Kanthal as a Continuous Improvement Team Coach in manufacturing, but he is also a private at 7 SCOTS. He works in the Signals and is based at the unit’s Perth HQ. Since the mobilisation, he has been trained as part of a Mobile Testing Unit.
Kevin joined the Army Reserves in August 2019. He was then mobilised at the same time as Brian and Alexander in April. Like Alexander, it is Kevin’s first time being mobilised. He initially joined the Reserves, because he’s always had an interest in the military, stemming from the fact his family members served in the military.
After completing the 2019 Cateran Yomp for the ABF, he wanted a new challenge. Kevin said: “I took the opportunity to mobilise this year to use the skills that I have developed to support the country in the fight against Covid-19. Benefits of joining the Reserves for me have been learning new skills that I could never gain in civilian life, some that are transferable to my civilian job and the camaraderie. It has made me up my fitness levels, shown me what I’m capable of, which I feel better for. I joined at 47 years old and wish I’d signed up years ago but it’s never too late. For anyone thinking about joining the Reserves, stop thinking and just do it, what have you to lose!”
Kevin is also due to remain working until October 2020.
To find out more about the Army Reserves, click here.