There’s a group of individuals who navigate two worlds with commitment and dedication: the Reservists. These men and women embody the essence of service as they balance their civilian lives with a steadfast commitment to answer their country’s call to duty.
Reservists are currently serving in military operations around the world, playing a vital role in safeguarding the UK’s interests.
According to the Armed Forces Day official website –
The Reserve Forces make up approximately one sixth of the UK’s Armed Forces personnel and as such are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas, particularly providing capability in specialist areas such as medical and cyber.
However, their contributions often go unnoticed, their tireless efforts hidden from the spotlight.
Annual Reserves Day was created to honour those men and women who have pledged to serve their country as a reservist and recognise their contribution to HM Armed Forces.
This year, FDM want to share the stories of two of our very own Reservists. Timothy Sheppard and Benjamin Dale are both serving reservists with the RAF and the British Army, respectively. Both are FDM consultants pursuing civilian careers. Here are their stories:
Timothy Sheppard joined the RAF in 1988 as a regular and left 25 years later completing his service as a Parachute Instructor. Three years later, he joined the reserves as a Physical Training Instructor (PTI) in 501 Sqn at RAF Brize Norton. In his new role, Timothy was responsible for developing the Squadron’s fitness strategy, running Adventurous Training (AT) exercises and annual fitness tests.
In addition to his reserve commitment Timothy completed the FDM Advanced Ex-Forces Programme in September 2022 and is currently working as a Project Coordinator in the Air Defence Division of a multinational company.
Being a Reservist
For Timothy, the military has shaped who he is as a person. He believes that joining the Reserves has enabled him to maintain his personal development and continue to foster the RAF core values such as stakeholder management, leadership, adaptability, and resilience.
‘The opportunity to form enduring friendships, engage in adventure training, and contribute to the fitness and recovery of others is particularly rewarding and does much to enhance my positive view of my time in the reserves.
Bonds of friendship
Timothy’s bond with his fellow service personnel have always been strong – the reserves have merely re-enforced this characteristic, whilst enabling him to travel to France and Spain to ski and mountain bike.
Despite all of this it is his work with the Charity Battle Back which has created a lasting memory and for which he is most proud. Training and actually taking recovering service personnel on a tandem parachute jump has bene the pinnacle of his service. Witnessing individuals who had endured life-altering injuries demonstrate remarkable resilience by jumping from 12,000 feet was a salutary and humbling experience
For him, these moments exemplified the profound impact that military reservist service can have on both individuals and the community at large.
Balancing civilian and reservist life
Timothy found it relatively easy to balance his work, social and reservist life and felt supported by FDM’s commitment to the military and reserves. ‘A time for employers to recognise and understand the additional challenging and diverse work some of their employees undertake.’
Benjamin joined the FDM Ex-Forces Programme in October 2022 as a Project Support/Business Analyst on the Business pathway and is now working as a User Researcher for a public sector organisation. His reservist journey began after graduating from university, originally serving with an Infantry Battalion before moving over to Military Intelligence where he is currently in his third year of service. Benjamin believes that being a reservist widens his breadth of experience and exposure to those from different cultures and f diverse backgrounds.
He says, ‘This has allowed me to understand that the idea of “service” cannot be defined by one definition, but instead, is defined by the individual who participates in it.’
Balancing two worlds
Benjamin recognises the challenges associated with trying to strike the right balance between work and his reserve commitment but is grateful to both his employer and his unit both of whom work hard to ensure he can maintain a heathy work life balance.
Benjamin’s view is that the Reserves are an excellent bridge between regular service and having no connection with the forces. t He feels it is vital to market the unique opportunities the reserves provide in order to increase those who might consider joining.
‘I know that when I tell people of the benefits, there is strong interest, so continuing to get the word out is key.’
Both Timothy and Benjamin are excelling in their respective roles and are fully prepared to return to active duty if required. It is humbling to see how they manage their work and commitment to the reserves and how they balance both roles.
At FDM we are proud to support ex-forces personnel and reservists find meaningful second careers. Since 2014, over 800+ service personnel have joined our programme. We welcome service leavers, military veterans, serving reservists, blue light services workers, and their spouses.