Enhancing understanding of the Reserve Forces was the theme at a business breakfast event for East Midlands Employers at Royal Air Force Wittering yesterday.
Maxim Logistics, Stanley Black & Decker, Wilson Browne Solicitors and the Northamptonshire Clinical Commissioning Group were just a few of the organisations who came to see how allowing employees to join the RAF Reserves could benefit their businesses.
RAF Wittering is home to the specialist engineering and logistics squadrons of the RAF A4 Force and provides elementary training for novice pilots and flying instructors. Group Captain Tony Keeling is the Station Commander and welcomed the guests with an overview of the Station’s varied roles.
Among the key note speakers was Squadron Leader Andy Ham, Officer Commanding 504 County of Nottingham Squadron. 504 Squadron is RAF Wittering’s Reserve unit and trains military chefs, drivers and suppliers to support Royal Air Force exercises and operations.
Squadron Leader Ham said: “There are real advantages to employers who support employees in Reserve service. Recruits who complete their basic and trade training grow and develop as people because they exceed their own horizons, they understand empowerment and take their new skills and confidence back to the workplace.”
Tony Bellott represents the Northamptonshire Logistics Forum, which is a collaborative working group made up of representatives from some of the leading logistics companies based the county. He said: “The forum has already signed the Armed Forces Covenant and I’m very impressed with the setup here and learned a lot.”
The event was organised by Sergeant John Gill who specializes in the recruitment of RAF Reserves. He said: “We’d like employers to feel comfortable with their employees joining the reserves and be open to the benefits it can bring. Events like this gather people together in a relaxed atmosphere and they can talk meaningfully about what Reserve service means to them as employers.”
The event concluded with a visit to the Station’s heritage centre where the guests were given a brief history of RAF Wittering by Squadron Leader Andy Tagg and then had look at the retired Harrier aircraft.
Squadron Leader Ham concluded: “Joining up as a regular is not an option for some people, so it’s inspiring to see how ready these companies are to help their workforce achieve life-goals. They recognise the commitment their employees want to make to their country and equally recognise how it can benefit their businesses.”