A vet from North Wales has urged people to step out of their comfort zone and become part-time soldiers by joining the reserves.

Lieutenant Jay Tunstall, who serves with 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital says: “If you don’t think it’s for you, step back and ask yourself why. Some of the people that get the most of their time in the reserves are those that think it’s not for them.

“The best way to improve yourself is to challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zone,” added the 33-year-old from near Holywell, who joined the reserves while at university.

After a break of around five years, whilst finishing studying and starting work as a vet, Jay rejoined just under a year ago.

“I always intended to rejoin, as it adds an extra dimension, not just to your skillset, but to your life. The training received in areas such as leadership and management, as well as the testing of these skills, is something that is often difficult to replicate in a civilian career.”

Jay, who has been lecturing at Liverpool University and is currently doing a PhD in veterinary epidemiology,  says his military experience in training and teaching helped give him the skills and confidence to perform his role as a lecturer.

“My experience in the military also gave me the communication skills essential in my role as a veterinary surgeon. These sort of skills gained are utilised every day, both in the workplace and in the wider world.

“The Army offers skills and training that are difficult to get in the civilian world.”

As a medical support officer within 203 (Welsh) Field Hospital, Jay’s responsibilities include medical planning, command and control plus other non-clinical officer tasks.

As well as wanting to step out of his comfort zone and gain new skills, Jay also joined because he was keen to get out and about and be active, as he enjoys sports such as kayaking and paddle boarding.

Jay is currently mobilised as part of the military assistance to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has taken part in numerous Military Assessment Team tasks throughout Wales and is the Intelligence Officer for 203 Field Hospital’s Operations Cell in Cardiff.

During his time with the Reserve Forces Jay has always been fully supported by his employer and PhD supervisors at the University of Liverpool, as well as his funders, the Animal Welfare Foundation.

There are more than 2,200 reservists in Wales and they make up approximately one sixth of the Armed Forces personnel in the United Kingdom.

Today, thousands of part-time personnel across the country, who commit to a minimum of 27 days service a year, are celebrating Reserves Day.

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