What exactly do you do in Openreach?
I’m a job allocator for the East of England. I look through a large workstack of jobs, make sure they’re ready for a fibre installation and then through a range of systems to essentially book the work in. In addition to this, I’ll go through jobs that have failed – for whatever reason – and try to find alternatives to get customers connected.
How do you find combining your job with being a Reserve? What are the benefits for you?
The benefits for me have to be learning new skills and continuously improving my current skill set. I’ve found both the army and Openreach have given me a chance to increase my knowledge and learn exciting things since starting with them. They really complement each other and it’s an added bonus that you’re already acquainted with people you’ve met through civilian life such as other engineers who also work with both the army and Openreach.
What are the challenges of being a Reserve, and how do you overcome them?
The main challenge of being a reserve – for me – is finding the balance between civilian work and army reserve work. I enjoy going on training with the army reserves, however I mustn’t forget that my civilian job is very important and to stay on top of my workload.
What are the military skills that your employer particularly values?
The military skills my employer sees at work are those of the six core values ‘CDRILS’.
- COURAGE – If I believe something is outdated, I raise my opinion on how to improve the situation.
- DISCIPLINE – Being punctual. This is crucial to the military and is valued in civilian employment.
- RESPECT FOR OTHERS – Always being respectful to work colleagues and offering help if needed. Also respecting other opinions and decisions.
- INTEGRITY – Being honest when something hasn’t gone to plan and taking ownership. Finding alternatives and turning things around.
- LOYALTY – Through my work I show loyalty by being devoted to the success of Openreach. When I take on a new task I make sure it gets completed in order to improve the service we give.
- SELFLESS COMMITMENT – I show this by working late and taking on extra responsibilities to help my team leader and manager out.
What training have you had as a Reserve and how have you applied this to your current role with Openreach?
I’ll be attending a trade skills course later this year and this will give me enough knowledge to then go on annual camps and work alongside other signallers. The skills that I’ll learn will also be transferable to my current employer so I can lend a hand in a trade role if needed for the benefits of the company.
Does being in the Reserves help with your fitness or general wellbeing?
It definitely gives you more motivation to get fitter. I would say my fitness levels are fairly high. However, when you join the army reserves you realise that there are some extremely fit people and therefore it encourages you to work harder and improve.
How has Openreach helped with your commitment to the Reserves?
Openreach have been great and are very understanding when it comes to army reserve training etc. We can take 10 days’ additional leave which helps out greatly when trying to commit to both civilian and army work/training.
What’s the best thing about being in the Reserves? Can you remember a special day or event?
I was invited to the BT tower, after joining the 81 Signals Reserves through Openreach to meet HRH Princess Anne and celebrate the Royal Signals 50th anniversary. This was a really proud moment and a big achievement as I got to speak with HRH and also our CEO Clive Selley along with other VIPs at the event.
Where do you see yourself in the Reserves in five years’ time?
I’d like to progress into an officer role, once I’ve finished my apprenticeship with Openreach. This is something I’m passionate about and I enjoy leading and self-development. I like to work on continuous improvement and I feel by working my way into an officer role, it would help me develop my skills which in turn can be used in my civilian role with Openreach.
Would you recommend being in the Reserves to anyone? And if so why?
Definitely. Since starting the army reserves I’ve already got three friends to sign up and have encouraged other Openreach apprentices and work colleagues to consider joining. It has great benefits and teaches you valuable skills as mentioned above that can transfer into civilian life.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of joining the Reserves?
Take your time. Look into which unit you want to join and really think about the “why?”. It isn’t impossible to move to a different regiment after your basic training – however it saves time if you choose right for you, first time round. Once you’ve made your decision, then just go for it. You really won’t be disappointed.
See yourself at Openreach? Find out more and apply.