As part of our Armed Forces Week celebrations Corporal Sharon Black, a Reservist from the People Solutions Division, shares her story about her year-long deployment to Cyprus as part of a United Nations tour.

Life as a Reservist

I started my career working on programmes to support people overcome barriers to employment. In my mid-twenties, I returned to education to study for a History and Politics degree once my daughter had settled at school. While I was at university,y a friend suggested I join the reservists and, to be honest, I joined as a bit of a joke and to prove a point. I signed up for my local unit in 2008 and have never looked back. 

I’ve always been one to take on a challenge, but 12 years ago, I never imagined that I’d be teaching people to drive trucks, leading teams of soldiers, and working on gender parity initiatives with the United Nations. The experiences I've had, the training undertaken, the friends I’ve made, and the sense of pride and belonging I feel as a reservist, make me even more passionate about encouraging women and girls to consider a career in the British Army.[CF(C1] 

 Capita has always understood and respected the added value reservists bring to their teams and have gone above and beyond what employers ‘need’ to do’. Being a reservist means  I essentially have two jobs in two totally different worlds. I’ve been fortunate to have had nothing but encouragement and support for both roles; my manager cares about my personal development and recognises that I need to continuously learn and grow and be given new challenges.

One of the first things that struck me on tour was the diversity of the people. I worked alongside soldiers and reservists from countries including Argentina, Australia and Slovakia and Nepal. Working alongside young soldiers and reservists from around the world gave me insight and understanding that I know will be a huge benefit to my role here at Capita, but that also helped me to grow and learn.

Completing a cognitive behaviour therapy course contributed to my curiosity with human behaviour and psychology and what makes the difference in people's lives, so I found this invaluable and an opportunity to develop my leadership and mentoring skills. So, building relationships and providing guidance and support where I could, was another big highlight from the tour.

Since coming home, I've overheard my daughter tell her friends about my achievements on tour, she tells me that I inspire her, which is a wonderful thing to hear! She's in her third year of a law degree and turned 21 while I was away, so it was great to finally celebrate together once I returned home. I really missed her while I was on tour and I think she's as proud of me as I am of her.

 

Corporal Sharon Black

How can we help your organisation?