Kent’s military reservists have been recognised with a special reception held at County Hall.
Representatives from reserve units were hosted by chairman of Kent County Council (KCC) Cllr Gary Cooke.
Kent Reserves Day, held this year on September 12, was created to acknowledge the dedication of the 500 registered personnel here.
A significant number of those work for KCC or the emergency services.
Cllr Cooke, also chairman of the Civilian-Military Partnership Board, was joined by the Lord-Lieutenant of Kent, The Lady Colgrain, for the event, which doubled as a recruitment drive with staff and members able to learn more about what the role of reservist entails.
Reservists balance their civilian life with a military career to ensure they would be ready to serve as part of the military if required.
Cllr Cooke said: “For me, Kent Reserves Day is a day to highlight and recognise the valuable contribution reservists make to our Armed Forces and especially those here in Kent and Medway.
“We are proud to be a ‘military employer of choice’...”
“As a long-standing holder of the Ministry of Defence’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award, KCC offers 14 days paid leave for all our employee reservists to go to annual training sessions and camp and we are proud to be a ‘military employer of choice’.”
Reserves make up about a sixth of the UK’s armed forces personnel and are integral to protecting the nation’s security at home and overseas.
In Maidstone, there were military representatives present including from 3 Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and 579 Field Squadron (EOD) RE, based in Tunbridge Wells. Ex-service personnel were also in attendance.
Reservists learn new skills, such as leadership, project management and communications, which could be of benefit to their employers back in the workplace.
Reservists are currently supporting operations worldwide including in Afghanistan, northern Iraq, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina and were part of the UK’s effort to counter Ebola in Sierra Leone.
They are also involved in helping to train government forces in Ukraine, here in Kent and across the South East.