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MEET THE RESERVES Vickie Bracken, Army Reservist ‘Those who can, teach and train to be the best!’

MEET THE RESERVES Vickie Bracken, Army Reservist ‘Those who can, teach and train to be the best!’


09 Aug, 2018

The Reserve Forces are an integral part of the nation’s Armed Forces. With the government’s plans to increase the size of the Reserves to create a more balanced Armed Forces structure, their contribution will be more important than ever. In our new series, read about some of those who’ve already joined up and how to find out more if you decide to follow suit.

Since 2003 Reservists have been called out to serve on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, to name just a few, resulting in many employers experiencing the mobilisation of one or more employees. Research suggests that 87% of Reservist employers who have experienced mobilisation were very supportive. This is good news, as Reservists could not carry out their important role, and train to the high standards of professionalism required, without the cooperation of their employers.

Working in pressurised conditions during training or periods of mobilisation inevitably develops Reservists’ self-confidence, but it also helps them develop skillsthat many organisations in the civilian world don’t have the time or money to develop. In fact, research has found that the average employer would have to pay over £8,000 a year to purchase the same training in civilian skills as their employees receive from their Reservist training. Skills gained include soft skills such as leadership, initiative, decision making and working as a team – all important attributes for people working in many different sectors.

The unit support you and help you get to where you want to go 

The government wants to make joining the Reserves more attractive to ex-Regulars and, to this end, has simplified the Regular-to-Reserve transfer process, reinforcing it with financial incentives such as the Commitment Bonus. Introduced in 2013, this provides a payment of £5,000 over three years for ex-Regular transfers. In addition, Service leavers will be able to retain their rank on transfer to the Reserves and receive access to higher rates of Training Bounty on account of prior regular service.

Throughout history, Reservists have provided the capacity to expand the Regular Forces to face new challenges when needed, and it would be impossible for the UK to mount a major military operation without the support of the Reserves. Vickie Bracken is one of those already providing that support … 


Defence Relationship Management (DRM) is the single point of contact that links employers with the MoD. To discover more, visit

Vickie’s story

‘I turned 30 and needed a new challenge,’ says 31-year-old Vickie Bracken, an Army Reservist with 158 Regiment RLC in Peterborough. As an ex-gymnast and cheerleader, Vickie has happily taught PE at a secondary school in Peterborough for the past nine years but longed for a new adrenaline rush.

Having joined many local running clubs and sports groups, last September her mum suggested making contact with her local Army Reserve Centre. With no military background, Vickie decided to give it a go.

‘I emailed 158 Regiment first and the following Tuesday met with the unit. My advice is simply go for it! Making the initial contact was the hardest step. I kept thinking, do I fit? But I soon realised there is no one type of person. In the past few months, I’ve met so many Reservists from different walks of life with varying skills and fitness levels. The unit support you and help you get to where you want to go.’ 


To find out more about joining the East Anglia Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, like Vickie, visit


Find out more about the benefits of being a Reservist here: