Reservist Employers visit RAF Halton

Jane Reilly  |  Published: Nov 29th 2016

The Airmen’s Command Squadron (ACS) in conjunction with the RAF Reservists Employer Engagement (EE) Team have delivered a bespoke Leadership and Management Training Programme to employees of national employers.  The event presented an opportunity to inform and attract influential national employers on the transferable skills and benefits that service personnel, reservists and service leavers, can bring to an organisation by way of presentations, interactive exercises and briefings.

The RAF Reservists Employer Engagement (EE) Team conducts and co-ordinates national and regional EE activity in order to develop and sustain mutually beneficial relationships between employers and employer stakeholders and the MOD on military personnel matters. 

The programme for the visiting civilian employers included tailored elements of the RAF Non-Commissioned Officer training programme, giving them the opportunity to engage in a series of interactive activities. Each element was specifically designed to challenge and stimulate, both mentally and physically, thereby encouraging the development of a wide range of personal qualities and skills.  Targeted areas include: leadership, understanding of self, team dynamics, personality, followership, effective communication skills, team management, initiative, lateral thinking and problem solving.

Sergeant Tim Quinton, from ACS Training Development, who assisted on the day, said: “I thought that the day went exceptionally well with delegates getting a real flavour of how Management and Leadership training is delivered by the RAF. Delegates took a ‘whistle stop’ tour through the promotion process pausing long enough in each ‘rank’ to experience some of the subject content delivered at each management level.

Junior Management Leadership Course (JMLC) instructors took the delegates out on to the training area to develop their leadership skills.  Whilst a fun and enjoyable way of spending an hour, delegates also learned valuable lessons regarding their ability to work as a cohesive unit and also to match the needs of the task with those of the team and individuals too.

Having ‘promoted’ the delegates to Sgt, the Intermediate Management Leadership Course (IMLC) staff spent time discussing various psychometric tools (in particular, SDI) and conflict management. Delegates were able to gain an appreciation of team dynamics and how effective teams operate. A further promotion to Flight Sergeant saw the delegates learn about the need to communicate effectively, a skill which is often overlooked at senior level simply because interaction with the ‘shop floor’ is limited and often passed through line management. This beneficial set of exercises demonstrated the different ways in which people communicate and how it can often be misconstrued.

The day concluded with their final ‘promotion’ to Warrant Officer and a debate centring on matters of the moment relevant to Service life.

Wing Commander Judith Hird of the RAF Reserve Employer Engagement Team, commented: “The enthusiasm and determination of the delegates has been first class, helping to make this a fantastic experience for all concerned. From their response they have certainly got a lot out of it, enabling them to appreciate the transferable skills that employees can take back to their workplace.”

Brian Buchanan, a BT Openreach Change Manager agreed, stating it was” “Highly interactive, enjoyable, and an insight into how the RAF develops its leaders.”

For many this was their first taste of military training, Alexandra Green, an HSBC financial accounting manager said: “I really enjoyed it.  I felt I might be thrown in the deep end and I was apprehensive about this military experience.  However, the trainers were really polite, encouraging, relaxed in manner but so focussed on helping me and my team.  My eyes were opened.”

Robert Saunders, team leader with Fujitsu said, “We employ ex-regulars, and reservists are in my team as well, so understanding the RAF’s leadership teaching and management training in this one-day event has really helped me appreciate their approach.”

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