23 Jun 2020
27-year-old Polly, who has worked as a Business Intelligence Developer for United Welsh for the past 18 months, grew up with a father who served as a RAF technician. She found she missed the Armed Forces environment that she enjoyed with her father so she joined the reserves five years ago.
Since then she hasn’t looked back with both her civilian and RAF career going from strength to strength and has doubled her civilian salary in five years thanks to the skills learnt in the Royal Air Force Reserves.
“Prior to joining the reserves, I wouldn’t even give eye contact to anyone. I am now, however, far more confident and eager to learn. The reserves pushes you in various elements such as leadership, confidence and organisational skill, and this in turn can help enhance you in your everyday life,” said Polly.
“There is also the ‘cool’ factor! Coming from a somewhat ‘nerdy’ childhood, the ability to say I have shot a rifle, flown a glider, camped out in the woods, socialised with Canadian Soldiers in France, Nordic Skied up a mountain larger than Ben Nevis, certainly peaks the interest of those I talk to!”
Reservists commit to a minimum of 27 days service a year, with Polly’s duties with 614 Squadron, the only RAF Reserve unit in Wales, having taken her all over the UK and abroad to Belgium, France and Germany. She is particularly proud of having been mobilised to Air Command in 2018, where exposure to HQ Air required her to brief a room of more than 200 senior officers.
“Reserve service in my case with the RAF is very similar to service in the Royal Navy or the Army; we all want to serve our country and benefit from the transferable skills that we learn while in uniform, which in turn are then transferable to our civilian employment.”
“Being a reservist has certainly improved and enhanced me as a person, which has in turn had such a positive effect on my civilian career. I am more confident and disciplined, and I have been granted the opportunity to be an effective leader in my civilian workplace. Financially this has had benefits also – since joining the reserves, my civilian salary has almost doubled. It really proves that you get out what you put in.”
Huw Davies, Director of Resources at United Welsh said:
“At United Welsh, supporting people to live their best lives is really important to us. In addition to providing homes, we help people to access the right kind of support so that they can live happily and in good health.
“This wouldn’t be possible without the energy and enthusiasm of our staff, and we recognise that reservists have so much to give; contributing valuable skills to employers as well as the communities where they live.
“We are very proud of Polly and what she has achieved.”
Speaking of her time as a reservist, Polly continued: “I am very proud to be part of an organisation that I believe is truly a force for good in the world. I also enjoy the camaraderie within our Squadron – Reserves are a mix of many individuals from different backgrounds.”
“Being a reservist is a badge of pride and honour for me. To be able to be a member of our world class Air Force and to be given the opportunity to experience activities and events not available to the general public that enable me to better myself together with those who I serve with is truly something to be proud of. As a reservist, we can offer outside perspectives, thus contributing to the dynamism of the RAF.”
There are more than 2,200 reserves in Wales and they make up approximately one sixth of the Armed Forces personnel in the UK.