Machine foreman Lee Phillips knows more than most about the importance of being all present and correct.

Outside his working life at Ford on Sigma head machining, Lee is serving with the Army Reserve, who fulfill an essential role in the Armed Forces.

A native of Kenfig Hill, but now living in Caerphilly, Lee joined the Bridgend Engine Plant in 2000 as an operator on Zetec Assembly and has worked his way up to area supervisor on machining.

There are more than 2,200 reserves in Wales, who are a vital and valued part of the Defence family. Today, the country will celebrate Reserves Day and the people who spend some of their spare time protecting the United Kingdom at home and overseas.

 

Lee said: “We are required to complete 27 days a year to achieve our Certificate of Efficiency. This usually comprises of a fortnight training exercise, with the remainder made up of weekends and training evenings. I have committed more time then this due to the training requirements of my progression.

“Joining the reserves allows me to serve my country whilst maintaining my career with Ford. I am grateful to Ford for allowing me the opportunity to achieve this.

Lee is the first in his family to work for Ford and also the first to consider joining the British Army as a reserve, holding the probationary rank of Second Lieutenant. He underwent a selection course in August 2016 before he joined the service the following month.

He is serving with C Company Third Battalion The Royal Welsh, the only infantry reserve unit in Wales. Lee underwent training at Maindy Barracks, Cardiff and Winchester Barracks towards the end 2016 and completed his Combat Infantry Course at Catterick in Spring 2017.

But, being Lee, that is not where he stopped his development and in May 2017, he sat the Army Officer Selection Board and went on to attend the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for Module B of the Army Reserve Officer Course. This was completed last summer and he passed the main board assessment in August 2017.

It has been a very busy three years for Lee, but he relishes the time he has spent in the Army Reserve and the diverse experience it has given him.

He said: “In 2017, I was fortunate enough to complete a major exercise on Salisbury plain called Exercise Wessex Storm and I also completed Adventure Training in Meribel, France, where the Army taught me to ski.

“The benefits that Ford will gain from my training are quite wide ranging. I attend some of the best leadership and management training in the world provided by a leading institute in the subject.

“It has made me a more confident person and developed my ability to perform complex tasks in high pressure situations to ensure success.

“The skills and knowledge are going to be transferable to my career within Ford and I think will make me a more valuable member of the team.”

Reservists make up approximately one sixth of our Armed Forces personnel. There will be a number of events held in Wales and the United Kingdom this week, culminating with Armed Forces Day in Llandudno on Saturday 30 June. Use #SaluteOurForces and join in the activities online.

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