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In February 2017, Major General Ranald Munro CBE, Britain’s most Senior Reserve Officer opened a campaign to persuade more law firms to engage with the Armed Forces. The current defence strategy requires membership of the Armed Forces to reach 35,000 by 2020, up from 25,000 in 2015

Here a Reservist with Irwin Mitchell gives an insight into his experience...

“I am a Royal Artillery Army Reservist and have been for over seven years. It is a role that has changed over the years and has given me a lot of valuable experiences in my personal and professional life.

I joined the Reserves when I left school and it was not something I had ever considered doing but a good friend convinced me otherwise and for that I am grateful. Early on in my Reservist career I was offered the opportunity to spend six months in Cyprus as a United Nations Peacekeeper and it was an opportunity I jumped at. The whole experience was exceptional and I took a lot away from it. I went from a school leaver to working in another country under a structured and regimented organisation. I was engaging with local people as well as my peers and seniors, at the age of 19 it was an eye opener and an experience which developed my communication, discipline and work ethic. It was also a period where I found myself getting into trouble as following someone else’s rules wasn’t always easy but which also helped me learn valuable life skills.

At university the Reserves gave me an income, flexibility and an escape from studying. There was the flexibility which allowed me to work when I wanted but also I could take periods where I needed to focus on my university studies. The nature of the Reserves allowed me to do this. The Reserves meant that I was not just another student having done the same degree and extra-curricular activities as hundreds of other people on my course had done. I gained the ability to stand out in applications, to talk to people on a level playing field while respecting their position and engaging them in my experiences.

Now I am a solicitor, a role which I have been working towards for six years but I am also still a Reservist. The Reserves gives me the flexibility to have a professional career, while my job allows me to have a life outside of the Reserves and keeps me doing something I enjoy. I work hard during the week (most of the time at a desk) and at weekends I can be engaging in training exercises (not always in the best conditions), practicing with the shooting team, undertaking adventure training and having a really great laugh with a group of individuals who had I not been a Reservist, I probably would never had crossed paths with.

Published: 18 July 2017

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