Patrick Parsons’ Director, Mark Turner, tapped into his past forces experience by joining 22 other employers, from various nationwide companies, on a four-day training exercise with members of the Royal Marines Reserve. The Winter Warfare Training is conducted anually, 200 miles inside the Arctic Circle in Northern Norway.
Mark, who spent 14 years in the Parachute Regiment before becoming qualified as a Chartered Engineer, was nominated by Leon Walsh, Senior Structural Engineer in the Newcastle office, who is a Corporal in the Royal Marines Reserve.
The trip was organised by Defence Relationship Management (DRM), an organisation set up by the Ministry of Defence to enhance the relationship between employers and reservists. The campaign helps to improve awareness and develop a better understanding of the benefits and obligations associated with employing members of the Volunteer Reserve Forces. It is delivered both nationally and regionally, and the Lowland Regional Employer Engagement Directors (REEDs) are employed by Lowland RFCA.
The ‘Exercise Hairspring’ group was led by the Lowland REED, Colin Vooght who describes the experience as “a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness of the many benefits of the armed forces and the very positive effects that can come from having a reservist as a member of your staff.”
The trip four-day trip included visiting RMR training courses, experiencing snow holes and shelters, preparing and eating cold weather rations and visiting the Marines under training. Also demonstrated was the ‘Ice breaker’ which is the sensational (literally) practice of going into a frozen lake fully clothed and being able to get out.
The trip was a valued experience according to Mark on his return: “It was a never to be forgotten experience, in the company of remarkable people, who everyone in the UK can be proud to know are serving our country. I will be raising the issue of how we can better support reservists and veterans at our next Board Meeting. The Royal Marines, both regular and reserve, were a credit to their Corps and to this country; and I say that as a former paratrooper.”