Top companies join Army’s campaign to encourage UK employers to formalise their reservist policies

Some of the UK’s biggest organisations have joined the Army’s campaign to encourage UK employers to formalise their policies on reservists – employees who train for a military role at weekends and during working hours.

There are an estimated 41,000 reservists in the UK, the majority of which are in the Territorial Army (TA). Their main role is to give the regular Armed Forces extra support at times of war.

Last week more than 100 of the UK’s largest companies, including BT, Marks & Spencer, Shell and Tesco, pledged their support for reservists and backed a campaign to get other employers to follow suit.

Since January 2003, about 13,000 reservists have been mobilised for service, mostly in Iraq and Afghanistan. Six reservists have died in action.

BT chairman Sir Christopher Bland launched the campaign in Basra, where he was visiting BT staff mobilised with the TA in Iraq.”

“Reservists are a vital part of the nation’s Armed Forces and deserve the support of their employers every step of the way,” he said.

The Support for Britain’s Reservists and Employers campaign group said good intent at boardroom level sometimes did not translate into support for staff on the shopfloor. It wants employers to make their support clear to staff and managers.

Paul Milliken, HR leader at Shell UK, said: “The skills learned in the workplace often help members in their Reserve Force roles, and the skills learned there often enhance their performance in Shell.”

Army training falls into line with inspectors

The Army has opened a Staff Leadership School following recommendations by the Adult Learning Inspectorate (ALI) on the duty of care and welfare provision for new recruits.

The ALI probe was commissioned by the government in response to deaths of four soldiers at Deepcut Barracks in Surrey. It called for an overhaul in the way the Armed Forces manages and cares for young recruits.

Unveiled by Freddie Viggers, the adjutant general lieutenant, the new facility will provide professional mentoring, counselling and teacher training skills to army trainers, including those who work with new recruits.

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