26 June 2019
Our Leeds-based Senior Project Manager, Helen Haigh, took time out of her busy schedule on Reserves Day 2019 to speak to BBC Radio Leeds about her continued involvement in the military following her regular service career.
Joining her from our team was Andrew Fotherby, Divisional Director, who shared a few words about WYG’s support for our Reservists pursuing their military commitments.
Helen, who currently serves as an Army Reserve Captain in 170 Engineer Group, 525 Specialist Team Royal Engineers (STRE), said the Reserves has allowed her to continue where she left off at the end of her ten-year tenure in the regular service.
She commented: “Joining the Reserves felt like my link back to be able to still reach back to my former colleagues and friends and also meet like-minded people in the Reserves in the local area.”
Between her military commitments and work responsibilities, the balancing can prove tricky. But being a Community Engagement Officer with the 4th Infantry Brigade & HQ North East means she can put in as little or as much time as she can offer to the role.
“It’s to help support events going on in the local area,” she said. “So for example, we have got an event coming up in the [Leeds] Royal Armouries mid-July so people can come down to see what the Army has to offer, speak to fellow Reservists, and see whether it’s something they might like to join also.”
Helping people like Helen and other Reservists fulfil their aspirations of serving in the military is deeply embedded within WYG’s culture and DNA as an organisation, Andrew said. As an organisation, we already work closely with the military and MOD.
He added: “We have quite a number of people who are reservists or employing veterans. We’re signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant and we’ve got policies in place to be able to allow people like Helen to go on training and go on deployment, and we offer the paid leave for it.”
“It adds a real value to the team environment too. We benefit from the skills that Helen and other colleagues have developed in their Reservist careers. And similarly, the reservists benefit from the skills that they bring from their professional capacity into the military environment as well.”
Helen concluded: “I think it’s a really good when we go out and do these events, be it in a recruiting role or an exposure event for people to see that [the military] is not a scary place to be. People can join the Reserves as a hobby, really kind of develop their skills. These days, it’s more and more ex-regular soldiers and officers in the Reserves imparting their leadership training and knowledge to others.”