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The best of both worlds

The best of both worlds

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21 Oct, 2021

As both a firefighter and a soldier, Shaquille Goldsmith’s motivation is to try to be the best – at his career, protecting others and serving his country …

Ipswich-based Shaquille Goldsmith, 27, is used to life in uniform. As a teenager he joined Suffolk Army Cadet Force, where he worked his way up to Cadet Sergeant Major. From there he spent two years volunteering as an adult instructor, inspiring other teens to take advantage of the wonderful opportunities cadet life has to offer.

Supporting others has always been high on Shaquille’s agenda. While working as a Police Community Support Officer he didn’t want to leave the Police and join the Army full-time so he decided to pursue the perfect balance of exploring his career options alongside becoming an Army Reservist.

As a Cadet with Suffolk ACF, Shaquille witnessed first hand at Ipswich Army Reserve Centre the activities 158 Regiment Royal Logistic Corps were involved in and was instantly drawn to applying for a role with the transport regiment. At 21 years old, he started his basic training, which he laughingly says, ‘was short and sweet. I loved every minute of it and it made me hungry for more!’

Private Goldsmith is now an experienced driver with 202 Squadron having achieved his driver’s licence, Cat C (heavy goods), CE (heavy goods plus trailer) and Coach licence. All of this was funded by the Army and undertaken during Army training hours.

These skills developed in the Army Reserve have benefited his employer Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). In recent months his watch became short on drivers and Shaquille was able to step in and utilise his Army driving skills. Shaquille feels his approach to work tasks has become increasingly methodical and proactive, allowing him to carry out his firefighter duties to a high standard.

Says Acting Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Collins, ‘We value our close relationship with MoD colleagues and are keen to continue supporting the Army Reserve wherever we can. There are many transferable skills that create a greater understanding of one another’s roles. It is brilliant to see Shaquille and both services benefiting from this. Throughout the recruitment process and since Shaquille has been with us, he has demonstrated compassion, sound values, commitment and a real willingness to develop, including already attending his first course in operational leadership. Going forward, we will continue to support Shaquille in both roles, confident he will continue to be a great asset to both SFRS and the Army Reserve.’

Indeed SFRS is an incredibly supportive employer, permitting Reserves to take an additional two weeks’ annual leave to fulfil their Reservist training. Much is always made of the iron triangle – the regular job, the reserve role and family life – but Shaquille’s Watch and Crew Commander helps him to navigate his shift patterns and balance all of his commitments with ease.

Click here to find out more about joining the East Anglia Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, like Shaquille

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Defence Relationship Management (DRM) is the single point of contact that links employers with the MoD. Click on this link to discover more.

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