Employers reap benefits from staff who join Army Reserves 

A PICTURE of a soldier may tell a thousand words, but a day with Army Reserve members can show plenty of skills, too.

Employers and employees of local businesses visited Reservists at Holsworthy Army Barracks for an insight into and real-life experience of pre-deployment training on Monday.

Dressed in Army uniform, the participants heard from majors, lieutenants and Reservists about the benefits for employers who allow their employees to join the Reserves. Guests were also given the chance to fire a F88 Austeyr assault rifle.

"I have a new respect for our Reservists," attendee Tanya Eather, of Assetlink, said.

"To be honest, I didn't know a lot about what they do but with all their training, they are committed, skilled, highly motivated people who are passionate about what they do."

Soldier Rick McCosker, 23, of Ballina, was one of the many Reservists preparing for deployment to the Solomon Islands in late November.

A casual primary school teacher in his civilian life, McCosker said he joined the Army Reserves as he "still wanted something to belong to" after leaving school and ending his sporting commitments.

He added that he'd picked up ample traits in the Army to ensure he was a better employee outside it.

"Independence, leadership and all those sort of skills," he said.

"I've definitely become more confident in myself and realised that I'm capable of more than I had thought I was."

Fellow soldier Chris Davis, 20, of Coffs Harbour, said the Army had highlighted the need for a sense of urgency, discipline and safety in the workplace.

In addition to the skills the Reservists gained, Major Tony Harvey said soldiers discovered the strength of mateship.

"If you've got a hole in the ground that you're living in, and there are six of you, and that's all there is, that becomes family — and that's how we look at the value of group structure."

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