Celebrating Reserves Day – meet Andrew, AJAX safety engineer
Andrew, based in South Wales, moved into safety engineering after a 22-year career in the Regular Army, where he started as a craftsman armourer and finished as a Warrant Officer in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME). He was then recruited as a specialist REME territorial, joining the REME Central Volunteer Headquarters.
At General Dynamics UK, Andrew is a product safety engineer for the AJAX programme. His role involves ensuring the design of the vehicle is safe for the Army to use, by working with the designers and production engineers. The role involves having a broad knowledge of a wide range of engineering disciplines, as well as detailed knowledge of system safety and safety laws and standards.
Andrew is also employed by the Army Reserve as an artificer weapons – a role that combines mid-level engineering management with being functionally skilled in the repair of small arms, machine guns and support weapons used by the Army. His role involves planning, organising and conducting training of new armourers, as well as the supervision and coordination of the work of trained armourers, who are responsible for repairing the weapons used by the Army.
“The Reserves enables me to ensure the skills gained over many years are not wasted and I enjoy being able to pass them on. My role as a Reservist also crosses over into my job at General Dynamics UK, where I am able to use my weapon repair skills to maintain the weapons held by the Company for the AJAX programme, occasionally supporting firing trials. I am grateful for the support that General Dynamics UK gives to me as Reservist as much of what I do in the Reserves would not be possible without that support.”
Currently, Andrew is part of 101 Battalion REME as a Warrant Officer Class 2. He parades weekly with his unit at the Army Reserve Centre in Cwmbran, which involves physical training, revising military skills, teaching trade skills or essential preparation for forthcoming training weekends.
A key part of a Reservist’s commitment is to deploy for two weeks on ‘annual continuous training’ (ACT) or ‘annual camp’. Over the last few years, Andrew has completed his ACT in a variety of roles, including working in an Armourers’ repair workshop clearing weapon faults, as the Brigade Artificer in an Armoured Brigade headquarters and most recently, a two-week deployment to Denmark supporting an artillery live-firing exercise commanding an eight-man repair team and conducting essential pre-firing safety checks on the artillery pieces.
Being a Reservist is important to Andrew because as it gives him the opportunity to continue to support his country, something which he is strongly committed to.
“On a personal level, the Reserves allows the development of friendships that cut across social and work barriers, to encourage camaraderie in civilian life.”