Reservist case study

Tor's Reservist case study

Meet Tor. He's one of our employees at Surrey County Council who is also a reservist. We ask him a few questions to understand how he balances both roles and why he feels he can do so whilst working at Surrey.

1. Can you tell me a little bit about your roles within Surrey County Council and your role as a reservist?

For my role in Surrey, I am a flood risk management strategy and partnership team leader which means I'm responsible for re-writing and coordinating the implementation of the flood risk management strategy. A big part of my role is also relationship building with partnerships and within the community which involves dealing with challenging cases or communities that could be at risk of flooding. We work hard as a team to ensure we have a collective approach to managing flood risk.

As a reserve, I am a member of a helicopter handling team. My responsibilities here are normally marshalling aircraft onto landing points, rigging loads to be lifted by the aircraft as well as operating the refuelling the vehicle fuelling the aircraft with engine on and off.

2. How do you manage both roles and how does Surrey allow you to do this?

Surrey has a benevolent view of the reservist commitment and follows through on its reservist policy such as providing two weeks of extra leave for reservist training. I was very lucky to have further time off for a sailing expedition and although this isn't guaranteed, I spoke to my manager about the development opportunity and it was down to his discretion. Through this once in a lifetime opportunity, I was able to have access to coaching and development in a leadership role which is great to bring back to my management role at Surrey. My absence also allowed people within my own team to develop by acting up into my role whilst I was away.

3. What skills have you learnt from your reservist role that you can bring to your role at Surrey?

The most significant skill I have gained is simply not wanting to give up. This has definitely been driven into me from the reserve training and it has allowed me to see things from a different perspective. If something is challenging or difficult, I don't want to hide away from the problem and it helps to overcome the 'just give up' hurdle and it really enhances my commitment. Further, it's improved my fitness which has given me a healthier working attitude and a better quality of life in terms of a work balance.

4. What advice would you give to other reservists about applying for work at Surrey County Council?

I would advise reservists to apply for work at Surrey County Council because their policies are straight forward and the managers are considerate, helpful and supportive. I would recommend they definitely apply because they make it workable. Sadly I had a negative experience when negotiating another role with a different company who didn't have any policy set in place so it was much easier when applying for this role with the council.

5. Why do you feel it's important for your employer to recognise your role within the reserves?

As for recognising the work, I don't feel it should be treated any differently to any other voluntary work. As reservist leave as part of the policy is a huge benefit as it falls outside of your normal annual leave allowance which allows me to have my own down time too.