Human Resources Director for TATA Steel’s Downstream Operations, Bernard Curran, has visited the Army Reserve Centre in Corby along with local MP Andy Sawford and a host of other dignitaries.
Operating in 26 countries and across the UK, TATA Steel employs reservists at its UK sites. Mr Curran visited the centre, home to 118 Recovery Company, to learn more about their role and the training they undertake.
The group enjoyed a tour and viewed a range of equipment on display including a 30-tonne Support Vehicle Recovery before talking to the soldiers themselves about life in the Army Reserve.
Based in Northampton and Corby, 118 Recovery Company is a part of 104 Force Support Battalion REME (Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers). Their role is to maintain and repair the vast array of equipment that the Army has.
Bernard Curran said: “I am amazed by the soldiers’ enthusiasm. The visit has given me a greater understanding of the Army Reserve and the training they undertake. It is clear all the soldiers enjoy what they do and are learning really valuable skills that will help them achieve their goals in their civilian careers. It is definitely a win win situation for both parties.”
118 Recovery Company is currently recruiting Vehicle Mechanics and Vehicle Recovery Mechanics in addition to support trades including chefs and clerks.
Vehicle recovery mechanics learn how to recover the Army’s ditched, bogged, overturned and battle damaged vehicles with the use of vehicle-mounted winch and crane machinery. When the Army’s vehicles break down or become damaged in an operational environment it takes someone with skill and a degree of bravery and know how to recover them to a safe area. They can recover anything from motor cycles to HGV’s and tanks.
Physically and mentally challenging
They also work with heavy lifting equipment in difficult conditions and command and control personnel whilst doing so. Other specialist training techniques include the use of metal cutting and gouging equipment, use of mathematical formulae to estimate the strength of pull required to extract stricken vehicles, towing techniques and block and tackle layouts. The recovery mechanic requires a unique skills set to allow him to operate in any climate under any conditions, the job is both physically and mentally challenging.
A vehicle mechanic is trained to both repair and maintain the army’s widely varied fleet of vehicles from Land Rovers to Challenger Main Battle Tanks. This requires an in depth knowledge of engineering which is taught at the army’s trade training schools then honed both in peace and operational environments.
The level of repair can range from the changing of a spark plug to the overhaul and replacement of engines and gearboxes. In peace time these repairs are carried out in purpose built workshops, however, when on operations or exercise under field conditions from the blazing heat of the desert to the ice cold of the arctic.
Asset to the company
Staff Sergeant Niel Aveyard is a senior vehicle mechanic and in civilian life works as a Forward Operations Manager for SkillNet. “I did 18 years in the regular Army,” he says. “I left in November 2012 and joined 118 Recovery Company in the December.”
He is responsible for ensuring the mechanics receive the correct training and that their qualifications are kept up to date.
With 18 years of experience behind him, he is an asset to the company. Captain Bill Reeder said: “Niel brings recent operational experience with him and like our Army Reserves who have also deployed; they can all share their operational experiences with our new recruits.”
Niel said: “I love it. We have a lot of training to fit in when we are all together, but the soldiers are all full of enthusiasm because they want to be there, they want to be a part of it. I would say to anyone who is interested in finding out more just come along to a training night and find out more. You may find out it’s actually not for you, then again you may leave thinking what took you so long.
“And speaking as an ex-regular I would say if you are coming out of the regulars think about the Army Reserves. Again, it won’t be for everyone, but give it some thought. The opportunities you had in the regulars are still there; the training courses, adventure training etc.”
The Chief Executive of Corby Borough Council, Norman Stronach said: “Corby has a proud military history and judging by the dedication of the Army Reserves I have met today this is set to continue. It is clear these men and women gain a wealth of skills which are transferrable to their civilian jobs and it has been a pleasure to meet them.”
Anyone who would like to find out more about 118 Recovery Company can contact the unit on 01604 635760 or go along to a training night on a Wednesday evening from 1930hrs to 2130hrs in Clare Street, Northampton or St Mark’s Road, Corby. Further information can also be found on the British Army website.
Original article written by and sourced from – army.mod.uk