Belfast Telegraph

Reservist plans hinge on employers' support

By Lesley-Anne McKeown

Proposed major changes for military reservists will require support from employers if they are to succeed, Northern Ireland's most senior Army officer has said.

Under the new plans, around 2,000 part-time soldiers are to be absorbed into a fully-integrated defence force by 2020 and will be expected to deploy on operations once every five years.

They will also have to train alongside the units with which they deploy.

Brigadier Rob Thompson said companies had to be aware of the challenges and benefits of having staff who wear a uniform in their spare time.

In Northern Ireland, part-timers represent 4% of UK reserves but more than 20% of reserve personnel when on overseas deployment.

The average reservist in Northern Ireland spends just under 12 years as a member, compared to a UK average of under four years.

Reserve Forces and Cadets Association chief executive Johnny Rollins said support of employers was appreciated.

Belfast Telegraph

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