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Something in reserve

THE combination of new legislation and a broad advertising campaign has put the Australian Defence Forces onto the front foot in many Australian workplaces.

Legislation came into effect last year enabling Army Reservists to be deployed for ‘non-combat’ work and provides employers, on average, $860 a week for a maximum 78 weeks as compensation if one of their employees is deployed on a military assignment.

According to deputy commander of the 13th Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen MacCarthy, employers are now not only monetarily compensated for absent workers, but are gaining well-travelled, disciplined and motivated employees as a result of military training.

Lieutenant Colonel MacCarthy said employers had much to gain from their reservist employees.

“Employers recognise the skills that their employee brings back to the workplace. We train our soldiers to look at a situation, quickly assess it, and drive a solution,” he said.

“Employers would be remiss in not seeing what the military can provide.”

Lieutenant Colonel MacCarthy said combining part-time military responsibilities could help an employee’s career development, and therefore provide the employer with valuable leadership qualities

“The main benefit of trained and experienced reservists to employers and work colleagues is staff development,” he said.

“Reservists undergo comprehensive training, not just in military matters, but in essential business skills like leadership, logistics, organisation, administration and people management.

“Initiative, imagination, energy and leadership are vital qualities in any workforce and reserve training emphasises the development of these skills.

“They are trained in handling complex equipment and procedures. Some learn about product manufacture and design. Others receive training in work-place methods, change management, organisational behaviour and conflict resolution. They may also learn about financial and risk management, team dynamics, production planning and emergency procedures.”

Lieutenant Colonel MacCarthy said physically and men-tally fit individuals who were self disciplined, self reliant and trained as team players and thinkers were of benefit to any company or organisation.

“They gain experience through formal courses, ongoing re-fresher training and day-to-day experience as they put formal education into practice, and advance in rank and responsibility,” he said.

Linfox is one employer to realise the benefits of employees who are part-time army reservists.

Linfox WA State manager Stephen Cain said the company actively promoted military participation and said the skills the employees brought back to the company were invaluable.

“This one guy started out with us as a truck driver delivering beer. He developed a lot of leadership and skills development and we now use him as a relief supervisor because of the applied skills from the reserves,” Mr Cain said.

“They come back with a focus on the job and discipline and they are more productive employees, without a doubt.”

Lieutenant Colonel MacCarthy said employers interested in the benefits of the reserve programs should visit The Defence Reserve Showcase, which will be held on Saturday September 7 from 9am-4.30pm at the Irwin Barracks in Karrakatta.

p Next week: The reserves and career advancement.

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