Kinloss base to host event aimed at retaining military skillset

KINLOSS BARRACKS IS to host an employment, learning and leisure fayre that could be of particular interest to Army and RAF personnel and their families.

The Fayre on May 17 is being held as a celebration of the close relationship between the Armed Forces in Moray and the local civilian community.

Businesses and education providers along with voluntary sector organisations are being invited to take a stall at the fayre, which will also target senior soldiers and officers due to complete their armed forces service within the next five years.

The aim of the fayre, which is a joint initiative between 39 Engineer Regiment and the Moray Economic Partnership, is to encourage personnel and families to remain in Moray for the longer term by signposting information on opportunities available to them in Moray.

There are over 3500 military personnel in Moray and the transferable skills they and their families offer in fields of engineering, leadership, communication and problem solving, as well as their positive attitudes, are much sought after by companies coming into the area.

Companies such as Copernicus Technology, which won the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) award for excellence in September last year, have benefited from the pool of skilled personnel.

In its eight years of business, Copernicus Technology has built up a wealth of expertise providing products and services which reduce equipment downtime for aerospace, defence, and transport customers. Its personnel are almost exclusively former RAF personnel.

Poseidon P-8A and Typhoon forces has brought massive investment.

In 2015, the Government announced plans to buy a fleet of nine P8-A aircraft from the USA to be based at Moray’s RAF Lossiemouth, as well as and increase to the Typhoon Force resulting in an additional squadron of Typhoon aircraft being based at Lossiemouth.

Last month Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, announced a £400million investment at Lossiemouth as one of the RAF’s three fast jet bases – upgrading its runways, taxiways and accommodation for the nine new Poseidon P-8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and the additional Typhoon squadron.

That will result in up to 500 additional personnel will be required to support these new aircraft – bringing with them a wealth of skills and providing a boost to the local economy.
James Johnston, a former station commander at RAF Kinloss and now Vice-Chair of the Moray Economic Partnership, commented: “The armed forces in Moray are not only a much valued asset, but an integral part of the community, and an important partner in the Regional economy. They provide a major incentive for investment and in return the area has much to offer military personnel and their families.

“The military, and particularly the Army, tend to move their personnel every few years and the proposed enterprise is a brilliant engagement event to expose to those families – who may be in Scotland for the first time – the number of great places to visit and the range of opportunities to study.

“We hope in the end they will take up jobs in the area and eventually buy houses and settle here, as many of their military colleagues including myself, have done before.”
Giles Huby, Managing Director of Copernicus Technology, added: “We find that as well as the professional skills the former military personnel possess they are also extremely keen to learn new skills and very adaptable, which is especially useful in fast changing industry sectors like ours.”

Meanwhile 39 Engineer Regiment CO Lt Col Jim Webster welcomed what he called a “hugely exciting” event: “We have seen how well the RAF has integrated into the local Moray community and how their skill sets and experiences have benefitted the local community.

“39 Engineer Regiment is here for the long term, and our personnel and families have a wealth of talent, experience, qualifications and trades. We also know that Moray has a lot to offer in terms of voluntary and leisure opportunities, and we welcome this opportunity to better connect our Regiment to these sectors.”

As the event will be held ‘behind the wire’ at the Army base, the event will not be open to the general public – however, anyone carrying a military pass for either RAF Lossiemouth or Kinloss Barracks will be able to attend alongside businesses with something to offer the military and who have pre-booked a stall.

Any company wishing to attend should contact Ruth Douglas at 39 Engineer Regiment for more information by Email to 39ENGR-RHQ-BSO@mod.uk

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