October 13th 2013

Combining two careers is a brilliant challenge

A female Reservist has described her experiences of combining a busy professional career at Rolls-Royce and being a Second Lieutenant in the Army Reserves.

Lara Small, aged 28 years, currently works as a Team Leader at Rolls-Royce in Derby and enjoys the challenges involved in being a Reservist.

Reservists are men and women from a variety of backgrounds who choose to partake in military training and commitments outside of their civilian careers.

Lara, who is a Reservist at the Army Reserve’s 350 Field Squadron of the Royal Engineers, said: “I feel that the company takes an interest in what I do and is supportive of the development of my Reservist career. Fundamentally the progress of my military career is of benefit to Rolls-Royce because of the additional training and skills that I can bring to the workplace. Being a Reservist was something I used as a selling point during my online application and emphasised during my face to face interview.”

Members of the Army Reserve train on one evening a week as well as on some weekends. Lara is passionate about excelling in both her civilian and military careers and believes both jobs complement each other.

Lara continued: “Combining two careers is a brilliant challenge. Everyone is entitled to 24 hours a day; my choice is to use my waking hours working on both careers. I feel proud to work and serve both institutions and occasionally use my uniform as a method of visually switching into military mode.

“When I applied for a leadership focused graduate scheme in my civilian career, the question was posed ‘what evidence do you have to prove yourself as a leader?’ Whilst my peers may have used examples of what they achieved during a group work project at university, I was able to explain that I was a commissioned officer in the Army Reserve.

“I then elaborated on how this was useful to them, listing the qualities that I have exhibited during the commissioning process, such as the ability to think under pressure, make effective decisions and influence those around me to achieve tasks in hand.”

Lara’s military role involves leading a team of up to 30 people. Under her direction, this team can complete a number of tasks such as building a bridge or clearing a minefield. Lara would oversee and support her colleagues to complete these tasks using her knowledge and experience.

The Corps of Royal Engineers are multi skilled soldiers, combat engineers and trades people working alongside all parts of the Army to play a vital role in the effectiveness of the British Army and the United Kingdom in both peacetime and on Operations.

Lara explained: “The Army’s purpose is not ambiguous. From the offset, it is a force for good and is designed to operate in the nations interests and that is what I choose to represent when I wear my uniform. I like being ‘twice the citizen’ as described by Sir Winston Churchill as I serve the national interest in both my civilian and military capacitates. I continue to be in the Reserves because it complements me and who I am.”

350 Field Squadron are due to re-role in 2014 under FR20, located in Chilwell, Nottingham. They will become a Search Squadron under the command of 33 (Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Search) Regiment, and continue to recruit from the Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire areas.

For more information please contact WO2 Gary Wraith on 01159 008669 or Captain Paul Kelly on