Sheffield firms taste life in military as a reservist

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Staff from a number of Sheffield organisations including Meadowhall, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and Sunflower Children’s Centre swapped the comfy shopping floor and uniforms for wild moorland and combats at the end of last week, in a special exercise run by the military.

Over a dozen staff from the organisations, ranging from junior to senior managers, took part with other organisations from across the region, in a demanding three-day course held at Catterick Military Training Area in North Yorkshire. Designed to teach leadership and teamwork skills, the event involved working on a variety of challenging tasks ranging from launching a search and rescue mission for an RAF downed pilot, recovering a vehicle, evacuating a casualty and learning to cook in the field.

The exercise, called ‘Executive Stretch’ was itself run by civilians, but who also serve as Reservists in the Navy, Marines, Army or RAF across Yorkshire and The Humber. The three-day course, organised by reserve unit the Queen’s Own Yeomanry, was designed to provide a unique opportunity for employees to enhance their personal leadership, teamwork and communication skills, as well as gain a valuable insight into the transferable skills that Reservists develop during similar training exercises.

Steve Clark, Security Team Leader from Meadowhall Centre, enjoyed every moment of the weekend: “It has been an incredible experience! The environment and challenges you’re thrown into are extraordinary, and you learn so much – about yourself, as much as the leadership and teamwork skills. The reservists around us were brilliant. It’s hard to believe they have day jobs like the rest of us but are also fully trained soldiers. They looked after us brilliantly, and gave us all an experience we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”

Station Manager at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue, Steve Wood, added: “It was great fun, although incredibly tiring as well. The tasks were all so different and stretched you in ways no other training course I’ve been on can do. By the end, it gives you a lot of self-confidence and really expands your capabilities, especially your capacity for leadership, communication and teamwork. I was very impressed with the training that’s available through the Reserve Forces and the value those skills provide to employers. Everyone should give it a go!”

The Executive Stretch exercise saw over 100 staff from organisations across the region taking part, all of which were mixed up and split into eight teams before carrying out a range of tasks and missions.

Colonel Jason Wright, Chief Executive of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) in Yorkshire and The Humber, commented: “It’s been a very successful exercise and it was good to see all the participants getting stuck in and enjoying the whole experience. But there’s also a serious side to the whole event about the benefits a Reservist can bring to employers. The training they receive is the same as the Regular Forces, and besides preparing them for mobilisation, it also provides them valuable skills in business – motivation, self-discipline, confidence, communication, teamwork and leadership to name just a few. We want to encourage employers and employees to consider what the Reserve Forces have to offer, and this is a very exciting way of doing that.”

For more information about the role of Reservists or to find out about becoming an Adult Volunteer in the Cadet Forces, please visit the RFCA website Click here