Lowland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) was pleased to be able to give senior executives from around the United Kingdom the unique opportunity of visiting Royal Marines Reserve units taking part in Exercise Harespring – cold weather warfare training in northern Norway. The employers got the chance to learn how Royal Marines Reservists thrive in temperatures of -30°C and in only a couple of hours daylight. Travelling to the training area near Bardufoss (200 miles inside the Arctic Circle) the annual visit is an opportunity for employers to understand and gain an appreciation for the RMR, the UK’s elite amphibious element of the Maritime Reserves.
This yearly employer engagement event, led by Lowland RFCA, gives employers a unique insight into the important role the RMR plays in delivering the UK’s Defence capability. For their employees, it was also an opportunity for their employees to demonstrate the skills, leadership and tenacity that they develop through the Reserves, and how these can be applied back in their civilian careers.
Connal Cochrane, Director of Rangers Charity Foundation, a Gold MOD Employer Recognition Scheme award-winning organisation, recalls an “unforgettable experience”.
At the start of our three day visit we were kitted out and then travelled into the snowy wilds to visit teams of Reservists honing their new skills overnight out in the open. I was struck by the variety of day jobs and age-ranges of the Reservists I met and also the resilience and wider skill set that their employers would undoubtedly benefit from.
We had a night walk in snowshoes to catch a glimpse of the northern lights, spent time with the Viking Armoured Support Troop, visited Commando Helicopter Force and, importantly, had the chance to speak with a variety of Royal Marines Reservists throughout our stay which gave me a sense of confidence in their operational abilities and admiration for the strength of character which seems to come as standard.
This inspiring visit is one which I hope will renew all our efforts to champion the role of Reservists and further boost the success of the Ministry of Defence’s employer engagement work across the UK.