Salford student signs up for weekends at sea

February 28th, 2014

Stephanie Read RN Reserve 27 Feb 2014 red

 

A Salford student is backing a new campaign to encourage more people to become reserves in the Royal Navy.

Stephanie Read is studying a full-time degree at Salford University, has a part time job at a supermarket and recently signed up with the Royal Naval Reserve.

The organisation will launch its 2014 recruitment campaign in Greater Manchester at the Trafford Centre this weekend (1 and 2 March) where shoppers will be able to meet serving reserves and get a taste of life at sea using a virtual reality simulator.

The Royal Naval Reserve needs to sign up around 150 new recruits in the region over the next three years, and has launched a campaign encouraging people to do their bit for Britain by becoming a reserve in their spare time.

Shoppers interested in signing up will be given the opportunity to attend a Royal Naval Reserve Live event at HMS Eaglet in Liverpool on Saturday 8 March. The event will include a tour of the naval base, as well as a chance to take part in training activities.

Stephanie is studying a degree in Public Services and Social Justice at Salford University and hopes to become a police officer when she graduates. She joined the reserves last year and attends training sessions on Wednesday evenings.

The 21-year-old from Blackley has also completed a week-long intensive training course at HMS Raleigh in Plymouth, and survived on rations during a training exercise at an army base in Sussex.

Stephanie said:

“I’d been thinking about joining the reserves as my boyfriend’s in the Royal Marines and the idea of spending time at sea really appealed to me.

“I go over to Liverpool for training on most Wednesday evenings, and I’ve enjoyed the activity courses I’ve been on around the country. One of them involved a seven-mile trek to the middle of nowhere, before setting up camp for the night.

“I’d been camping with my family before but camping overnight with the navy is an entirely different experience. I was also in charge of leading my team over a river by just using a rope, so that was exciting. They’re really tiring days but I love it.

“I think my friends were quite surprised when I told them I was becoming a reserve as they never imagined me in the military, but they’re dead happy for me and really supportive.

“I’m quite a quiet person so it’s been good to meet new people and also get some leadership experience, which has been a big boost for my confidence.

“I don’t like sitting around at home and being a reserve stops you doing that as there’s always something to do. I’d definitely like to stay as a reserve when a leave university and get a job in the future.”

Stephanie is one of more than 2,300 people who currently serve as reserves in the Royal Navy alongside their normal day job. Most have no previous military experience.

When needed, the Royal Naval Reserve supplements the full-time ranks with extra manpower and, in some cases, provides additional specialist civilian skills. New recruits must be aged between 16 and 40, have an appropriate standard in English and Maths, and be able to complete a one-and-a-half-mile run within a set time.

Reserves need to be able to commit the equivalent of 24 days a year for training, which mainly takes place during the evenings and at weekends, and will be paid for their time. They will also qualify for a yearly tax-free bonus, which ranges from £400 to £1,600 depending on the length of service.

Lieutenant Roy Miller added:

“We’d encourage people to come along to the Trafford Centre at the weekend to find out more about what it means to be a reserve in the Royal Navy. They’ll then be a chance to visit our naval base in Liverpool later in the month, for anyone interested in signing up.

“Being a reserve doesn’t have to take up a huge amount of time – but it’s a great way of experiencing something entirely different without having to give up your day job. You’ll also be paid for your time.

“Stephanie is proof of that as not only is she studying a full-time degree, she has a part-time job and still has time to attend the Royal Naval Reserve training events. She’ll also have some fantastic experiences to talk about when she starts applying for jobs as a graduate.

“We welcome new recruits from all sorts of backgrounds – whether you’re a student, in a full-time job or looking to get some additional work experience.”

The initial training to become a reserve takes place one night a week or at weekends for the first 20 weeks. This is followed by a two-week residential course at the prestigious Royal Navy training facilities at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall or Britannia Royal Naval College in Devon.

Both courses include overnight exercises on Dartmoor and, following the residential course, new recruits will be given training for a specific role, ranging from logistics to submarine operations.

The Royal Navy needs to recruit an extra 1,500 reserves at its 22 units across the UK over the next three years. The Royal Naval Reserve Live event in Merseyside will take place at HMS Eaglet at East Brunswick Dock in Liverpool between 10am and 3pm on Saturday 8 March 2014.

For more details, or to register to attend, call 08456 00 32 22, search for ‘navy reserves’ on the web, or visit www.royalnavy.mod.uk/navyreserves.

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