Brigadier Grenville Bibby, commander of the Army's North East Brigade
Brigadier Grenville Bibby, commander of the Army's North East Brigade
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Sheffield is in the sights of armed forces commanders who are planning a major event to boost struggling recruitment of reservists.

Barker’s Pool will be the stage for a day of themed activities by the Army on Saturday, November 16, to attract more interest, after regional commander Brigadier Grenville Bibby acknowledged troop numbers are in a ‘pretty poor state’.

Although Sheffield has four reserve units, the entire number of people in the Army Reserve - formerly the Territorial Army - for the whole North East Region is 3,500.

Brigadier Bibby said: “As part of the Government’s plans, we want to increase this figure to between 6,000 and 10,000. It’s a big task.”

He added: “We want to get the message out there that although there is a reduction in the size of the Army, and we are withdrawing from Afghanistan, the Army is recruiting - particularly within the reserves.

“We want to bring in new soldiers every year.”

He said particular efforts are being made to attract young people not in employment, education or training.

“They would be offered places with the reserves and we would work with employers to find them suitable civilian employment,” Big Bibby said.

The Army would match suitable reservists with employers.

Brig Bibby said he has recently visited Chesterfield Cylinders, near Meadowhall, where reserves are already undertaking work placements.

Brig Bibby said employers are being offered enhanced compensation for reservists who go on operations and would ‘benefit’ from the extra life experience and skills gained.

“Companies should also know well in advance because we give 12 months’ notice and people would only be deployed once every five years,” he said.

Brig Bibby said current recruits are being affected by delays of ‘up to four months’ when trying to join due to problems processing their application by contractor Capita, but that he hoped for improvements soon.