PLANT employers could turn to the Army in their quest to find experienced workers.
Lt Col. Nick Mifsud, Commanding Officer of 71 Engineer Regiment, visited ScotPlant this year, primarily to raise awareness and speak to employers about the benefits of their plant operators signing up as reserve soldiers.
However, it quickly became apparent that some plant firms were keen on the possibility of individuals moving in the opposite direction – from the armed forces into the plant industry.
Lt Col. Mifsud said, “We were trying to attract people to us but what I’ve picked up is that there’s a lot of interest from civilian employers wanting ex-servicemen, ex-Royal Engineers, to join them.
“As soldiers do leave the Army, we take their welfare very seriously so to be able to give them that lift up into very quick, readily available employment is great for us.
“Employers get someone who is work-ready, someone who understands discipline. Anyone who’s been in the Army for years will know how to instruct so you’ve got someone who can train and operate a large fleet and variety of equipment.”
Lt Col. Mifsud has urged employers to consider the mutual benefits of their plant operators becoming reserve soldiers.
He said, “I’m very keen to take plant operators. My regiment can train them as soldiers but then what I have is somebody who is able to take their place in the integrated regular reserve Army of the future and add a tremendous amount of value.
“We train our own reserve soldiers. Anyone can join the reserve, we train them as a soldier and give them a trade.
“So we do train reservists as plant operators. But what I need is some real professionals who can come in, mentor those guys and develop them.
“The other benefit we offer is exposing civilian plant operators to a number of pieces of equipment. Whereas I know on Civvy Street a lot of guys will specialise on one or two pieces, we can expose them to a whole fleet of unusual equipment.”
Lt Col. Mifsud said there isn’t too much difference between the construction equipment used by the armed forces and that on Civvy Street.
“We’ve got some up-armoured vehicles which have been developed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“And then we’ve got some bespoke bits of kits – armoured diggers, which have been designed and built for us.”