What does being a reservist involve? Why is the work that we do at Alternative Venues London to Support Reservists so important? Richard Wilton, a Reservist from the 7 RIfles gives his take on being in the Reserves.
Why did you choose to be a reservist?
Having been in the regular army for 8 years, in 2014 I decided I wanted to follow a different path and do something different as I felt there were more career opportunities outside the Army that I could pursue.
As an ex-regular there were many elements of military life that I loved and still really appealed to me. When moving into a full time career outside the Army, the Army Reserve was a very attractive option for me to fulfil this gap. Staying within the military family as a Veteran is also very important to me.
What does being a Reservist involve?
The great thing about being a Reservist is there are so many different areas you can specialise in, so one Reservist’s job can be completely different to another’s.
All reservists must give up a set number of days per year to the Reserves; carrying out weekly and annual training in order to complete and pass the annual competency tests (Military Annual Training Tests 1 – 9). This involves tests such as; fitness, map reading, first aid, weapon handling and navigation amongst others. As well as this further time is spent training or doing relevant work towards your specialism.
Having started my career in the regular army with the 4 RIFLES, I have stayed within The Rifles family and I am now employed as a Reservist within the 7 RIFLES, one of three reserve Rifles battalion.
My role involves maintaining and building new relationships with vital outside organisations and livery companies that work with and support The Rifles. This means attending and organising regular events ensuring constant communication with our key stakeholders.
Why would you advise being a Reservist?
The Reserves offers you an incredible challenge, provides you with new skills you may not gain in your day job and contributes to your own personal well-being and development. Although you are required to give up your time, you are paid to do so and in return receive a high level of investment into training that you would not otherwise receive in life.
What do you personally get out of it?
Being in the Army Reserves has allowed me to retain and continue my skills and knowledge gained as a regular solider.
The Army and Army Reserve offer you access into a completely different way of life. You are exposed to a different part of society that provides you with an alternative view point and wider perspective.
I have gained discipline, been taught new skills and information that have better informed me and developed me as an individual, this has given me more depth as an employee which is recognised positively amongst businesses.
What do you do outside of being a reservist?
Having previously worked at PWC from 2014 to 2016 in my first role after coming out of Regular service, I was heavily involved in their Military network and driving their Veterans programme. I now work as a Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED) for the Greater London Reserve Forces and Cadet Association working with companies and organisations promoting the Armed Forces Covenant
Have you previously been mobilised?
I have not yet been mobilised as a reservist however in my time as a Regular I was sent to Afghanistan twice.
As explained, my role is based around maintaining relationships with organisations that support The Rifles; therefore I am continuously working to complete this task.
By completing my annual training tests I am kept up to the required standard should I be mobilised at any point.
What does your unit specialise in?
7 RIFLES is twinned with their regular counterpart 5 RIFLES. They are Armoured Infantry Specialists.