Armed Forces and Veterans champion at Scottish Borders Council, Councillor John Greenwell is urging people in the region to consider signing up for the army Reservists.
6th Royal Scots are about to descend on the region for their first round of recruitments to the newly expanded Army Reserve, better known as the Territorial Army, which aims to be fully manned at 30,000 strong by 2018.
“They are looking to recruit about 200 from the Borders, aged from 18-28 years,” explained Councillor Greenwell.
“The Reserve force are confident they can achieve the level of recruiting required. One concern though is that they aren’t getting the message through to the general public.”
As the UK Government develops a new look armed services model, with fewer full time service personnel and more reservists, they have improved the package on offer to part time recruits. They are spending £1.2 bn in the next seven years ensuring they have a fully manned Army Reserve that is property trained and equipped.
There is now a common selection process to ensure both regulars and reserves are recruited at the same standard.
Improved conditions for Army Reservists include: Armed Forces pension entitlements, when training and on operations, being introduced in April 2015; better training and access to the equipment used by their regular counterparts; access to key defence health services when training and on operations; transferable skills and academic qualifications.
Reservists will be committing to 40 days of training a year, up from a current average of 35; and legislation is being introduced to ensure greater employment protection as well as better support for Reservists in unfair dismissal cases.
Employers will also benefit from the scheme and small and medium enterprises will get £500 a month, per reservist on top of the allowances that are already available when their reservists employees are mobilised.
Employers will also be given more notice that their employees are going to be deployed so they can plan ahead for the necessary absences.
“There are a lot of people sitting at home because they haven’t got a job - that’s the first area the recruitment team will be targeting,” said Councillor Greenwood.
“And there are some who can only get part time work and have time to spare.
“6th Scots will be in the Borders in the next couple of week to recruit for the Army Reserves and the message they are trying to get across is that terms and conditions have changed.”