June 17th 2021

RAF Reservist and Graphic Designer supports NHS with Covid testing

LAC Hudson

LAC Ryan Hudson, RAF Reservist, and Graphic Designer in his civilian role

Leading Aircraftman Ryan Hudson, RAF Reservist, was deployed last year to help the NHS deliver Covid testing. His civilian career, running a Graphic Design consultancy, couldn’t be further from both these experiences.  Read more about how Ryan thrives on the variety this offers.

LAC Hudson

LAC Hudson

Ryan joined as an RAF Reservist over 3 years ago, as part of 504 (County of Nottingham) Squadron, based at RAF Wittering. The Squadron is logistics and engineering focussed, specialising in Supply, Chefs, Military Transport and Engineers.

Ryan has had a life-long interest in the RAF, as both his father and grandfather had served, which led him to think about becoming a Reservist. “I wanted to push myself, learn new skills, including field (or green) skills, and help both the local and wider community. I want my family to be as proud of me as I am serving.”

Along with other Reserves colleagues from 504 Squadron, Ryan was mobilised to assist the NHS with Covid testing last year. They were based out of Woodbridge Barracks in Suffolk, servicing surrounding towns such as Colchester and Southend, for 6 weeks in total. More recently, Ryan has volunteered to help run the Lateral Flow Testing facility at RAF Wittering.

RAF Reservist with partner standing in front of Wollaton hall

Ryan with his partner visiting Highclere House (aka Downton Abbey)

Family support essential for Reserves

“It was great to be involved in doing something positive in the UK. It was challenging being away from my young family, but we would FaceTime every night. And I couldn’t have been mobilised without their support. This was my first experience of any type of deployment. It was great to be involved in a MACA (Military Aid to Civil Authorities) task, to help out in a time of such uncertainty,” said Ryan.

Despite the apparent difference in his civilian role as Graphic Designer, and his military role, Ryan has found many skills transferable. He explained: “Skills key to my civilian job, like leadership, teamwork and time management, I have been able to learn more about as a Reservist. But I have also been able to bring some visual creativity to the Squadron with a number of projects. I designed some ‘Top Trump’ flash cards to help our Phase 1 Training, and I am in the early stages of producing a centenary book for the Squadron too.”

New Reserve skills net a new customer

Gift box from Bloom & Wax with floral photograph

Bloom & Wax packaging, one of Ryan’s projects as a Graphic Designer

Northampton-based Ryan runs the Ministry of Design consultancy. His work includes brochure design, advertising campaigns, packaging and branding. “Already, things I am learning in my Phase 2 Training to be a supplier have helped me gain a new client at my design consultancy. The new client’s core function is logistics and fulfillment, and it’s been invaluable to show understanding and common ground with them,” he commented.

We asked LAC Hudson what he found most rewarding about being a Reservist: “Being able to have some flexibility to do my civvy job, which I love, and still serve in the military. Meeting new people, sharing experiences with them that I wouldn’t be privileged to have otherwise, and learning a lot of new things about a world ‘inside the wire’.”

Find out more about joining the RAF Reserves and 504 Squadron RAuxAF in particular.

"I wanted to push myself, learn new skills, including field or green skills, and help both the local and wider community. I want my family to be as proud of me as I am serving." LAC Ryan Hudson