Reservists Ready

Leonardo recognises the vital role our reservists play in helping to fulfil the capability of the UK Armed Forces.

Our UK business is therefore committed to providing the flexibility and support to allow those who have chosen to serve their country as part of the military while at the same time as developing a career at Leonardo.

Here we celebrate just a few of our people who proudly serve in the UK’s Reserve Forces.

Mohan Venugopal – Core Engineering Graduate

I attested into the Army Reserves in 2013 whilst at university and joined the Honourable Artillery Company, the oldest regiment in the British Army dating back to 1537. I am a 105mm Light Gun Operator, as well as a Drummer in the HAC’s Corps of Drums. This dual “green/red” role is unique because I have the opportunity to train in high tempo exercises, as well as performing in prestigious public duties such as Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle. In addition to my primary and secondary roles, I have been fortunate enough to attend adventurous training exercises in France and Japan.

After completing my degree in aeronautical engineering, I took up the opportunity to deploy on an operational tour to South Sudan. I was posted to the Grenadier Guards and adapted to an infantry role as a Section 2nd in Command in a Force Protection platoon. Our role was to provide security for internally displaced people as a result of the conflict in the region. This experience has given me real life leadership skills which are transferrable to the workplace.

I am currently a 2nd year graduate on the Core Engineering Graduate scheme at Leonardo's UK Helicopters business in Yeovil. This has been the perfect opportunity to explore various sides of the engineering department through 3-6 month placements prior to picking a role that best suits my skillset. My ambition is to move into a stress analyst role within the Structures department post-scheme. I am also on the Developing Engineers Programme working towards Chartered Engineer status.

Leonardo has been fantastic in supporting reservists by providing Reserve Forces Training days outside of annual leave. This means that I can attend training camps and courses with the reserves without eating into my annual leave. This allows me to sensibly balance my time between family, work and the reserves. The benefits work both ways because I have an appreciation for the customer side of defence which directly influences my perspective when working in the defence industry.

For anyone thinking of joining any of our reserve forces – do it! If you’re looking for comradeship, physical training and opportunities for service then it is a highly fulfilling endeavour.

John Girvan – Lead Supportability Engineer

John Girvan

I am a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer (CFAV) with the Army Cadet Force (ACF), I hold a Territorial Army Type ‘B’ Queens Commission with specific responsibility to train and develop young people throughout Essex.  My responsibilities include the Training of CFAVs joining the ACF, supervisory guidance to adult instructors, also the arrangement and delivery of safe, exciting and fun training packages for the cadets by supporting all Company cadet Training Activities.

I first joined the Combined Cadet Force whilst at school in Dunblane, Scotland at the age of 12 and went on to become a junior soldier at age 16. I later served for over 23 years as an adult with the Royal Regiment of Artillery. My career has taken me as far afield as Germany, Northern Ireland, Canada, USA and the Middle East earning me six medals and the coveted rank of Warrant Officer. During my service I became a specialist in several technical military disciplines and held responsibility for the training of officers and soldiers.

I joined the ACF because I believe that experience gained in the services is of direct benefit to local young people. I wanted to give them an opportunity to learn, develop and make the mistakes in a safe and controlled environment, as well as teaching them discipline and developing their confidence. The transition from the army to becoming a youth leader in the army cadet force was well worth the challenge. The emphasis is on developing and encouraging young people between the ages of 12 and 18 to achieve their best by introducing them to standards and values which will help them to become whatever they wish to be in life.

Before taking up my promotion as a commissioned officer, I served as a Sergeant Instructor, Staff Sergeant Instructor and completed my duties as a Company Sergeant Major at the Essex ACF annual camp held at Wathgill in the Yorkshire Dales in August 2014.

If you are interested in becoming an adult volunteer but have no military experience, then don’t worry, the CFAV training is designed to take a person with no military knowledge and skills and provide them with the necessary skills and knowledge to be able to instruct young people between 12 and 18. Adults within the ACF come from all walks of life and differing cultural backgrounds.  Training continues throughout your career and you can take on as many skills as you desire. These skills are not only military but also adventure training and management qualifications, we also are heavily involved with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

As a Lead Supportability Engineer (Training) at our Basildon site, I continue to apply my knowledge and am involved in the development and delivery of operator and maintainer training for our products to customers around the world. My role as a CFAV has helped me as I have learnt how to apply the above when instructing students whose first language is not English and from a different cultural background and mind set. I have learned how to deal with young people and the issues that some have so mainly different methods of motivation patience, understanding, respect and flexibility. Watching the cadets grow and develop from 12 year olds to young mature adults that have confidence, respect and more importantly self-respect. Helping kids with behavioural problems develop and control their behaviour and become decent young people. Providing stability, security and respect for young people which allows them to develop and gives them a good base from which to start their adult lives.

Leonardo supports me by giving me special leave to be used alongside my annual so that I can attend our annual two week camp, which this year is in Oakhampton on Dartmoor.

Andy Poulton Watt – International Business Development Manager

Andy Poulton Watt

I joined the Royal Navy in 1987 to pursue a career in engineering, subsequently transferring to the Royal Naval Reserve. My Regular and Reserve service experience has been predominantly within the Air Engineering, Electronic Warfare and Information Warfare professional spheres.

I have held several operational and headquarters staff appointments during my naval service career. These have included Operation TELIC and latterly Operation HERRICK when I was deployed to Afghanistan as the Information Operations Staff Officer with 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, plus numerous deployments and exercises throughout. Other highlights have included UK-US Counter Narcotics Operations in the Caribbean and work within the NATO Partnership for Peace Programme.

In July 2011, I was seconded back in to the Royal Navy to complete the year-long Advanced Command and Staff Course at the UK Defence Academy’s Joint Services Command and Staff College in Shrivenham, Wiltshire. I graduated in July 2012 and was awarded a MA in Defence Studies from King’s College, University of London. In September 2012 I assumed Command of HMS SCOTIA, the Royal Naval Reserve Unit for the East of Scotland located in Rosyth, with a satellite unit in Dundee. Here I am responsible for 130 Regular and Reserve military personnel mobilised or preparing to be mobilised in support of the full range of tasks undertaken by the British Armed Forces.

As a civilian, I am the International Business Development Manager for Leonardo’s Electronics business. In this role I am responsible for winning new business for the company.

Serving with the British Reserve Forces offers a unique way of life that attracts people from all backgrounds. For some it’s a chance to develop skills, knowledge and personal qualities such as confidence, self-discipline, leadership and teamwork skills that are directly transferable to your civilian life. For others it’s an opportunity to meet friends, stay fit and travel. Whatever your reason for joining, the British Reserve Forces offers you excellent training and wide-ranging benefits.

Nicola Triggs – Senior Project Officer (Delivery)

Nicola Triggs

I joined the Royal Naval Reserve in 2012 and I'm based at HMS President in London. I’m an Able Seaman in the Warfare Branch where our primary role is Force Protection (FP) but it is now evolving to incorporate more seamanship skills alongside the FP role to give us more flexibility to integrate with the regular Navy. I was keen on joining the Royal Navy full time when I left school, but life got in the way and I took a different path. I wasn’t aware that the Navy had a Reserve unit until I was 25 so, when I found out, I went along to a recruitment evening to get some more information and signed up there and then! I have a family history of sailors, with my Dad and maternal Grandad both having served in the Royal Navy. Their influence plus my adventurous spirit and love for the sea made it a no-brainer to choose the Navy over the other Reserve forces.

RN Reservists benefit from a variety of training including a lot of leadership, team building and fitness. My branch specialist training is weapons, and I am fully qualified in using the SA80 rifle, General Purpose Machine Gun, Mini Gun, Glock Pistol and Baton. We also do boat drills which means learning to coxswain a Pac 22 and Pac 24 RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) and all the rope work that goes with it. Everyone also receives First Aid, Firefighting and emergency procedure training. Having been mobilised, I also received additional Team Medic training in catastrophic wounds. I have recently completed a Leading Rate Leadership Course where I achieved a Level 3 Certificate in First Line Management from the Chartered Management Institute.

Before joining the reserves, I was quite shy and it has massively improved my confidence and the way in which I can communicate with people on all different levels. It teaches you the importance of respect, organisation and teamwork which are beneficial in day to day life.

For me, the best things about being a reservist are getting the opportunity to be part of something worthwhile and gaining life changing experiences at the same time; the friendships and bonds made with oppos (opposite numbers); and getting paid to spend time doing something I love.

I have had so many excellent experiences during my time as a reservist that it's hard to choose a favourite. I love the fact that I get to spend time on ranges doing target shooting and competitions both home and abroad and I get to race around the water in RIBs! My mobilisation in 2013 was probably the highlight of my time so far. I spent several weeks at sea on an Anti-Piracy mission – sailing through the Suez Canal to the Gulf of Aden and Arabian Sea, putting all of my training into a real situation.

Being based in London we get excellent opportunities to represent the Royal Navy and the Reserves for ceremonial purposes and I have been part of a Royal Guard for the Queen. I have also taken part in the Lord Mayors Show and the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, and I appeared in the TV show “Ade in Britain” which features traditions throughout the UK.

Leonardo has been very supportive of my reserve commitment and give extra days leave for training, which is a big help, otherwise it could take an extremely long time to achieve trained strength. When I was mobilised, HR helped me sort all the paperwork, and my boss was very supportive. On my return I came back to the same role and a catch up session was organised to make it a smooth transition back in to the business. I would encourage anyone with an interest in joining a Reserve Force to go along to a recruiting event, you have nothing to lose!

Scott Quayle – Project Manager, Training Helicopter Support Systems

Scott Quayle

Leonardo Helicopters supported me in my application to become an RAF Reservist, I joined as a junior rank, whilst at the beginning of my career with Leonardo.  The reserves offer a taste of military life, whilst enabling me to progress in ‘civy street’. The RAF allowed me to understand our AW101 product from a customer perspective, operating as a Logistics Officer for a Joint Helicopter Command Support Squadron, 606 Sqn (RAF Benson).

Commissioning at RAFC Cranwell provided fantastic training achieving a Level 5 Certificate in Management & Leadership which has directly contributed to my Project Management role at Leonardo Helicopters. Equally, gaining the Foundation Advanced Project Management (APM) certificate through Leonardo has benefited me performing my role in the RAF.

The Reserves has offered me unrivalled opportunities such as extreme cold weather survival training in Sweden, representing the RAF on the pitch at Wembley and taking part in the Lord Mayor's Parade and Royal Windsor tattoo.I will shortly be deploying to the Falkland Islands with the full support of Leonardo Helicopters.

Without the company’s support to reservists, none of this would have been possible.