TWO Tamworth executives have pulled on the camouflage and experienced life in the Australian Defence Force.
Tamworth Business Chamber’s Marjolyn Thomas and Tamworth Regional Council general manager Paul Bennett took part in the latest Boss Lift program run by the ADF to allow bosses to experience the training their defence reservists undertake.
Mrs Thomas said she found the program worthwhile and she was now more aware of what reservists experienced during their ADF training.
While the chamber doesn’t employ any reservists, Mrs Thomas said she felt more able to speak with businesses about employing reservists.
“I’m absolutely happy that I went,” she said.
“Absolutely everything was so well organised and we got to speak to the high-ranking officers and I tried to really get the most out of it that I possibly could. By the end of it they could have all had us sign on.”
The participants had access to the control tower at the RAAF base where they witnessed the start of the Pitch Black Exercise, viewing FA-18 Hornets taking off as well as seeing a Hornet up close.
With the navy, the civilian bosses went out on a patrol boat and a dinghy in Darwin Harbour and they also visited both army barracks in the city.
At the barracks, they met US marines, took part in weapons training and saw the new reconnaissance helicopters and they also tried out the flight simulator.
“It was just amazing,” Mrs Thomas said.
“To make it all worthwhile, they specifically spoke to us about what reservists would be doing in their training and we attended a full information session on the Norforce. What opened my mind was the range of jobs available in defence, so for me it was very, very worthwhile.”
Mrs Thomas said employers shouldn’t be worried about employing a reservist because although they had to go away occasionally for training and exercises, the benefits employers received far outweighed any negatives.
Regional manager for Defence Reserve Support New England Captain Shane Green said the skills and training that defence reservists received were valuable to business and industry and could also save organisations money in staff development.
“All reservists are trained to a high standard and are able to bring those skills back into the workplace,” he said.
“While the bulk of Reserve Service is aimed at creating minimal impact on civilian employment, there are significant support measures in place for employers of reservists including an Employer Support Payment if eligible.”