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Posted - 21st June 23

How Aspire Defence Services Limited Supported My Lifelong Dream of Joining the Army

Tom Forster, Army Reservist and Technical Support Manager with ADSL shares his experience after recently being commissioned into the Royal Engineers.

Why the Army Reserve?

I had always contemplated military service since leaving university as it offered unique opportunities and experiences. However, as it so often does, life got in the way and before I knew it, I had a long-term partner and a career which I wasn’t prepared to leave behind to pursue joining the armed forces as a Regular. Instead, to enjoy the best of both worlds, I decided to join in a Reservist capacity and selected the Army as my service of choice as it offered the greatest variety of Reservist roles. This was important to me as I wanted a role which would complement my professional career.

Joining the Reserve

I enlisted into the Army Reserve in 2019 and joined my local Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (REME) unit. However, after six months I discovered a specialist nationally recruited Reserve Unit dedicated to asset infrastructure – 65 Works Group – and made the decision to transfer with a view that I’d be able to apply a greater depth of my ability and develop more as a professional engineer.

Basic Training

For a Reserve Potential Officer, the basic training requirement is to complete the Commissioning Course Short (CCS), an eight-week course delivered in two-week modules at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS). The course is a condensed version of the Regular Commissioning Course which focuses on developing a cadet’s command, leadership, and management ability, as well as teaching key Army skills such as folding a T-shirt into the exact dimensions of an A4 piece of paper, perfecting the hospital corner, and ensuring no crease is out of place (those who know, know).

Personal Development

The Army Reserve has presented me with an immense level of personal development, the training is purposefully demanding and forces you to confront your strengths and weaknesses to continuously build upon them. I have noticed a marked difference in my confidence and leadership ability. Most importantly, I have come to see teamwork in a new light; because when you’re sleep deprived, cold, and wet, everyone still needs to effectively work as a team to succeed.

Support from ADSL

The support I have received from the Aspire Defence Services Limited has been outstanding and is nothing short of what I’d expect from an Armed Forces Covenant Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award Winner. I have felt the Business behind me every step of the way, whether through providing some additional days of paid leave, ex-military colleagues sharing their advice and experiences, or simply the continuous interest and encouragement I receive from all my colleagues. In my view, having the solid foundation of an employer who supports your Reservist ambitions is paramount to having a successful Reservist career.

What’s Next?

Following the completion of basic training at RMAS I have taken up post as a Second Lieutenant in a Power Infrastructure Team at my Royal Engineers Unit. As part of the role, I will lead electrically minded highly skilled soldiers in delivering key Army infrastructure projects, as well as participating in defence engagement to deliver vital engineering services to our international allies. Later this next year I will also complete the Royal Engineers Reserve Officer Course to develop an understanding of the technical skills required to operate within the Royal Engineers.

Thomas Forster, Aspire Defence Services Limited, Technical Support Manager and Army Reservist

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