Minister for Reserves, Julian Brazier, has visited the National Recruitment Centre and a reserves unit in Wiltshire to see for himself the progress being made in army recruitment.
Meeting with Major General Chris Tickell, the Director General of Army Recruitment and Training, Mr Brazier received a tour of the National Recruitment Centre which is the centre of the Army recruitment programme. It is the driving force behind delivering the aim of 30,000 trained army reservists by 2018.
A former reserve himself, Mr Brazier was keen to find out about the opportunities being made available to new recruits.
It’s incredibly important to support our recruits especially because we want to continue building on the trend we’ve seen over the past 12 months, with increasing numbers of people joining the Army reserves.
We are investing £1.8 billion in better training, equipment and integration with the rest of the Armed Forces, but visits like this are also vital in demonstrating how proud we are of our personnel and how we are vested in encouraging those who wish to join in the future.
After visiting the NRC, Mr Brazier met personnel from the B Squadron of the Royal Wessex Yeomanry at the training centre in Old Sarum, Salisbury. As part of the Armoured Reserve Regiment, B squadron is responsible for training and providing Challenger 2 crewmen in support of regular regiments of the Royal Armoured Corps.
In what has been a busy year for B squadron, Mr Brazier was impressed by the size of the turnout for a demanding training evening just 3 days after a weekend exercise and the high quality of the individuals in the squadron.
The Minister heard about the squadron’s flood relief efforts in Hampshire and Dorset earlier this year and the overseas deployment of personnel, including to Afghanistan. He was also informed about the exchange programme some members of B squadron took part in with the US National Guard as well as exercises in Cyprus and Canada.
Officer commanding the squadron, Major Richard Morgan, said:
It’s great to have the Minister visit the squadron here at Old Sarum, it just shows that reserves are supported at the top levels. The visit is a great morale boost for the soldiers, giving them the opportunity to demonstrate all the amazing work they’ve been doing on a national and international level as we move into our new role under Army 2020.
Mr Brazier’s visits follow on from the release of the Quarterly Personnel Report last week. The report revealed that, compared to last year, more people are joining and staying in the Army reserves. Hearing the experiences of those in B squadron during their time in the reserves demonstrates why.
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