Gunner Helen Tait has recently attended and passed a difficult course required to fulfil her duties as a member of Shetland’s Territorial Army troop.
She travelled to Deepcut in Surrey to the Defence College of Logistics and attended the Level 3 storeman’s course. The course is a requirement to allow Helen to manage and run military stores in her duties in G Troop 212 Bty RA at Fort Charlotte.
The training is recognised nation-ally and can work towards a diploma in logistics and warehouse operations which is held in high esteem by employers up and down the country.
The course content included computer equipped storage facilities and accounts as well as those paper transactions and Helen is now equipped to put her new skills to use in any part of the world.
A member of the TA for four years, Helen has already put her basic stores knowledge to use on operations in Iraq where she was the armoury storeman in Airport Camp in Basra for six months. It was a role she relished, helping the troops there to assist in returning Iraq to a stable environment.
Helen, from Sandveien in Lerwick, is no stranger to working in a logistics department. Not only is she a twin to her sister Barbra, but her civilian role with Shetland Janitorial Supplies mirrors her army role.
She said: “It’s really useful gaining this qualification. It allows me to work better at one job for two employers, both with similar requirements.”
Shetland Janitorial Supplies owner Russell Swainston, whose family is no stranger to the armed forces with his son a flight lieutenant in the RAF, said: “It is very useful to have a member of our team in the Territorial Army. The skills they learn help businesses like ours promote self development of the individual while cutting costs in training, but gaining a highly trained employee at the same time.”
It does not stop there for Helen, however. Later this year she will attend a course at Grantham near Lincoln, with an option to gain her large goods vehicle licence, where she will be driving the Army’s DROPs vehicle. This will enable her to assist the troop in the intricate task of moving to Romania for its two-week annual camp in September.
With skills like those Helen will also start to climb the promotional ladder within the troop.
Clearly excited at the future, Helen said: “It’s brilliant working for two such employers each very different but the same job, and being given the opportunity by both to invest in myself for my future. With the TA I get to travel and go to different areas of the world but know that I have my day role back on Shetland.”
A TA spokesman said there were many skills that members of the troop could learn, some of which may be different from people’s everyday roles. This could assist them in moving into a completely different trade or career path, and with the change in the economic pattern this could certainly benefit some.
G Troop 212 Bty is actively seeking new recruits and welcome anyone seeking information on a career or trade with the Reserve Forces or the Territorial Army to get in touch with them.
Anybody interested can contact the permanent staff instructor at Fort Charlotte on (01595) 693109 or pop into the troop office during office hours from Monday to Friday or the drill night on Wednesday evenings.