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University of Chichester salutes its Armed Forces Reserves

  • University joins national Reserves Day to celebrate staff and students’ contributions to Armed Forces
  • Reservists make up one sixth of the UK’s Armed Forces personnel
  • Naval Officer Scott Finch talks about returning to University from active duty in Covid-hit Caribbean

 

RESERVISTS from the University of Chichester have been commended for their contributions to the UK as part of a national day of celebration.

Flags are being flown for service men and women across the institution’s academic and staff body alongside its student population who have pledged their service to the country. The commemorations are for national Armed Forces Reserves Day, which honours the dedication of those who balance their civilian lives with military careers.

Among the Reservists in its ranks is Able Seamen Scott Finch, pictured above, who recently returned from a year away on active duty in the Caribbean, atop the Royal Navy’s new offshore patrol vessel HMS Medway.

The Conference and Accommodation Officer has worked at the University for 12 years overseeing the welfare and safety of thousands of students – but spent most of 2020 protecting British territories from piracy and helping with disaster recovery while keeping the ship safe from Covid.

Scott said: “My first tour was incredible and I found it easier than I had expected – even if some of it was spent in 36-degree heat in full body armour. I saw the whole of the Caribbean, mostly from the side of the ship.”

His first experience of active duty did not begin as planned. Scott was halfway through training in March 2020 when the Covid-19 outbreak hit worldwide, heading out to Caribbean Sea weeks later.

He added: “Despite the challenges of Covid, it was an unforgettable experience and it was a great exercise in mental resilience. We were meant to be out for eight weeks, and back home for four, but instead we were deployed for over 14 weeks in a row, with limited time at home.”

The University recently pledged its support to the Armed Forces by signing its official Covenant, which guarantees its commitment to the men and women who have and continue to serve their country, and has also been awarded the Employer Recognition Scheme Silver Award.

Reservists from across the University's staff and student community

“I am extremely grateful to the University as it gave me a couple of extra weeks of annual leave to complete vital training,” Scott added. “But, more importantly, it gave me job security by keeping my role open until I returned.”

The Reserves are represented across all three services and make up approximately one sixth of the UK’s Armed Forces personnel, protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas and support operations worldwide.

Scott said: “I’d highly recommend the Reserves to anyone looking to learn effective new skills, get out of your comfort zone, and up for a challenge. I plan to head back out on duty, but I’ll be staying at the University for the next few years and get my land legs back – still continuing my training at King Alfred. I’ve got courses booked in leadership.”

Information on becoming a reservist at King Alfred can be found at www.royalnavy.mod.uk/our-organisation/maritime-reserves/royal-naval-reserve/units/king-alfred.

For more on how the University of Chichester supports its reservists as well as its veterans and ex-Armed Forces personnel go to www.chi.ac.uk/about-us. Or contact Charlotte Meneely, Human Resources lead for the University’s Armed Forces covenant, at c.meneely@chi.ac.uk.