THE attractions of life in the Territorial Army were showcased recently as the TA Centre at Artillery Road in Coleraine threw open its doors to the general public.
Members of the TA as well as people from this area attended the event to find out more about part time careers which span not only every military discipline but also a vast range of CIVILIAN trades too.
Delighted with the response, Regimental Operational Support Warrant Officer Robert Brannigan says, “For us, this was a golden opportunity to show off our skills, highlight opportunities and explain what we do both while training here in Northern Ireland and, importantly, while on deployment overseas.
“Most of our visitors felt they already knew a fair amount about the TA but, even so, many were surprised at the range of part time careers available and the extensive training which we offer, right here in Coleraine and ‘The Triangle’, and at other TA Centres around the Province.
“Every Regiment has its own speciality focus and TA units reflect those skills. In practical terms that may mean that even if you live very close to our TA Centre here at Artillery Road, for example, you may choose to serve elsewhere, linking your personal skills and interests to the unit of your choice.
“Skills were the big theme of the day for, in times of recession, it seems people are more aware of the need to enhance their CVs with additional qualifications and experience. That’s something which a part-time career in the TA certainly offers and, here in Coleraine, we’re very proud of the diverse range of qualifications – many of them recognised in ‘Civvie’ Street – earned by our men and women.”
While the open day wasn’t necessarily about getting people to ‘sign on the dotted line’, Regimental Operational Support Warrant Officer Robert Brannigan believes that it will spark new recruitment.
He says, “There are vacancies right now for infantry soldiers, engineers, gunners, drivers, nurses and other roles and we confidently predict that some of those will be filled by local people, but we’re not in the business of rushing anyone to make a hasty decision.
“Just as we are selective about who we accept, we expect potential trainees to put thought into the commitment as well as the rewards of joining the Territorial Army, not least because, within a relatively short period of time, our new trainees could well be on active service in Afghanistan, serving alongside Regular Army counterparts.”
New trainees also have choices to make about how they tackle training: the traditional option of attending training evenings and weekends remains but ‘Exercise Shamrock Challenge 2012’ which will be held at Ballykinler this August offers new recruits the opportunity to ‘fast track’ training on an intensive residential course. Those same candidates could at some future stage even extend their learning to include the TA commissioning course at The Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
Currently the TA has job opportunities for men and women aged between 17 and 43 (older applicants with specific skills can still apply) who are fully committed to building a part time career as a Territorial or who may want to sample TA life as a taster for a full time military career at some future date.