Businesses in Northamptonshire should be more open-minded about taking on a Territoral Army soldier, the county’s senior businessman has said.
Paul Griffiths, chief executive of Northamptonshire Chamber, said TA soldiers make up an increasingly large proportion of the Army and that the attitude of employers to releasing and supporting them is important to Britain’s armed forces.
And he emphasised that the deal was not a one-way street.
Mr Griffiths said: “The Reserve Forces undergo rigorous training and, as a result, possess many valuable skills which can be transferred to the workplace, such as project management, communication skills, providing training to others and working well under pressure.
“Reservists make up a large percentage of our forces at the moment, so I would urge employers to see the benefits in employing a reservist but also understand the need for flexibility and the challenges involved.”
TA soldiers typically spend four to 11 months on training or operations every five years and each bring in an average of £8,000 of free training a year.
However smaller firms are often reluctant to release TA soldiers as they lose an employee who has to be covered and others are put off employing them altogether.
Lt Col Simon Worsley, of the Northamptonshire Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, said, although the public perception may be different, TA soldiers were no different to their regular counterparts.
He said: “I’ve known good and bad regulars and good and bad reservists; to the Army there is no difference between them.
“However, in the workplace they are treated differently. Currently, you can’t discriminate against disabled people but you can discriminate agianst a reservist. I think that’s wrong.”