A pharmacy technician at Neville Hall Hospital is wearing his army uniform to work today as the country celebrates the role of reservists in the Armed Forces.
Jarad Seale’s time in the Army Reserve has taken him from Abergavenny to the Grand Canyon National Park in the United States, providing him with unforgettable experiences to boost his skills base.
The 27-year-old spends his spare time as a Lance Corporal with B Detachment of 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital and credits the training opportunities with bringing transferable qualifications and knowledge to the workplace.
Jarad said: “As a Pharmacy Technician, I deal with patients and problems daily. The skills I have gained through my reserve training has helped me to be more confident in the workplace, communicate better and deal with issues swiftly in a professional manner.
“For example, when we suffered a technical difficulty, I could have panicked but I kept calm, made a plan and took ownership of the issue. I’m definitely able to communicate more effectively with my chain of command in work.”
There are over 2,200 reserves in Wales and they’re required to commit at least 27 days of service a year. The highlight of Jarad’s two and a half years as a reservist was a two-week camp at the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, United States.
He said: “I was very proud to complete my basic training and get promoted after two years in service. This included walking across the Grand Canyon. The adventure training provides a great opportunity to experience things I maybe wouldn’t in civilian life.
“We had three nights camping in the Grand Canyon and managed to walk from rim to rim. It was about 19 or 20 miles altogether with some big ascents and big descents.
“You’ve got to challenge yourself in these situations. I got to meet a lot of new people and make new friends, these are people I’ll be working with in the future. It was amazing.”
The training reserves receive is world-class and, whether it’s specific or general, focused on improving the attributes and application of reservists. Qualifications can be wide ranging and Jarad has been hungry to get to grips with all sorts of areas.
He said: “I’ve gained experiences which are very specialist and relevant to a medical background, like when I completed a blood donor, supply and storage course. The Army Medical Services Tactical Training Exercise was also beneficial.
“I’ve also completed foundation level qualifications in skiing and mountain biking. They aren’t medically related but they challenged me to develop transferable skills in challenging and unique environments abroad.
“There’s lots of support available to you in the reserves. It’ll start from the point you’re filling in your application to more practical, hands-on help from experienced staff and instructors when you’re learning completely new things. You get a lot of life guidance from your peers, it’s like having another family.”
There will be a number of events held in Wales and the United Kingdom this week, culminating with the national Armed Forces Day event in Llandudno on Saturday 30 June. It will celebrate past and present service personnel and Jarad is excited for his own future in the community.
He said: “For me, the Army Reserve presents a great environment to serve my county. It can be your chance to give something back. As a reservist, you have access to some of the best training available, you also get the chance of amazing life experiences and to meet some amazing people – all whilst getting paid.
“Looking to my future, I would like to deploy on operations when possible and complete the courses available to help me both professionally and in my everyday life.”
There is a package of support available to employers of reservists to ensure they aren’t disadvantaged during mobilisation. Aneurin Bevan University Health Board have signed the Armed Forces Covenant, a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly.
Reservists from across the United Kingdom make up approximately one sixth of the Armed Forces. Use #SaluteOurForces to join in the activities online.