This week marked the 75th anniversary of the formal end of World War Two.
To coincide with the landmark anniversary Britain’s largest gas distribution network, Cadent, has officially launched the Cadent Military Community with members attending a special launch ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
Aimed at employees who are either Armed Forces Veterans, serving Reservists or both, its hoped the new group will help bridge the gap between the military and civilian life.
The launch coincided with the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, when the Japanese signed formal surrender documents aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2 1945.
The new group was set up by Cadent Safety Assurance Specialist and Army Reservist Nic Anderson, who until recently was serving full-time with 7th Battalion the Rifles, having been called up to assist Operation Rescript, the military operation to assist the UK’s response to coronavirus.
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.
Nic’s Operation Rescript role involved delivering safety assurance of a different kind. He was one of almost 100 Army Reservists from his unit 7 RIFLES, supporting the NHS by manning COVID-19 Mobile Testing Units in the Thames Valley.
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.
Nic has now been demobilised from full-time serve and recently returned to his day job at Cadent.
He commented: “I’m proud to have been 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.”
Commenting on the new group, Nic said: “I was aware of quite a few people across Cadent who were either Armed Forces veterans or who were serving in the Reserves.
“However, we didn’t have an internal group where we could share our respective experiences and challenges or arrange group activities, so I approached Cadent about setting something up. They were very supportive and we got the new group set-up in a relatively short space of time.”
He added: “Cadent have always been incredibly supportive of my reserve force commitments including my recent 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.”