This week the nation marks both Reserves Day (Wednesday 24 June) and Armed Forces Day (Saturday 27 June).
Ordinarily Nic Anderson’s day job involves him providing high quality safety assurance for Cadent’s gas mains replacement programme across a large patch of the network comprising North London and East Anglia.
However currently he is delivering safety assurance of a different kind, serving full time with the British Army as part of Operation Rescript, the UK military operation to support the civil authorities in the national coronavirus effort.
Nic is one of almost 100 Army Reservists from his unit 7 RIFLES, recently called up to support the NHS by manning COVID-19 Mobile Testing Units in Thames Valley as part of Operation Rescript.
After receiving their call-up papers in April, Nic and his fellow reservists underwent specialist training delivered by 4 PWRR at Edward Brooks Barracks in Oxfordshire on how to operate the testing units, reassure the public and correctly use the issued PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
The Mobile Testing Units which the soldiers are manning allow people who suspect they may have COVID-19 to self-administer a swab test which is then processed at a Regional Testing Centre in Oxford. The units visit different locations across the Thames Valley each day including Bracknell, Reading, Aylesbury, Bicester, Amersham, Slough and Windsor.
Nearly 200 soldiers from Nic’s unit are also currently deployed in Cyprus supporting UN peace-keeping operations.
He commented: “I’m proud to be involved in Operation Rescript, it’s important to me and the rest of the Riflemen as it’s a nationwide issue and we want to do what we can to help resolve it.”
Nic, who lives in Winchester, has been with Cadent since its inception having joined predecessor company National Grid as a trainee engineer back in 2012.
His current full time role with the Army is the latest chapter in a part time career which goes back over 20 years.
He first signed up as a student with the University of London OTC (Officer Training Corps) while studying at Kingston University, and his military career has seen him serve in both infantry and signals units of the Army Reserve, he provided security to keep the London Olympics safe in 2012 and has also served overseas on operations in Afghanistan.
Having risen through the ranks he currently serves as the W02 (Warrant Officer Class Two) Company Sergeant Major of HQ Company 7 RIFLES, having spent the previous two years as the Regimental Signals Warrant Officer.
Other jobs he’s done in the military include instructing soldiers on military firing ranges, serving as a platoon sergeant and interviewing and advising potential recruits to the reserve forces.
Reflecting on his service Nic said: “My reserve skills, knowledge, training and experience complement my work for Cadent and vice versa.
“It allows me to bring the team work and commitment to shared goals with a determination to succeed into the work place as well as applying my safety and process awareness to military training.”
Cadent signed the Armed Forces Covenant in 2019 and Nic commented: “Cadent have always been incredibly supportive of my reserve force commitments including my current mobilisation”.
“From giving me an additional two weeks of leave for my reserve training and supporting the setting up of the Cadent Military Community to helping make the mobilisation process as seamless as possible, they have been a great example to other employers.”
He added: “I’m looking forward to returning to Cadent when I complete my mobilisation and I’d definitely recommend the company as being a great place to work for both Armed Forces veterans and reservists.”