Portakabin Team Tastes Life in Military as Reservists

Staff from the Portakabin Group in York and East Yorkshire swapped their office environment for wild moorland and combats, in a special exercise run by the military.

Six staff from the Group, including its Hire Division, Portakabin (Refurbished), production engineering, finance, and HR departments, took part with other organisations from across the region, in a demanding three-day course held at Catterick Military Training Area in North Yorkshire.  Designed to teach leadership and teamwork skills, the event involved working on a variety of challenging tasks ranging from launching a search and rescue mission for an RAF downed pilot, recovering a vehicle, evacuating a casualty and learning to cook in the field.

The exercise, called ‘Executive Stretch’ was itself run by civilians, but who also serve as Reservists in the Navy, Marines, Army or RAF across Yorkshire and The Humber.  The three-day course, organised by reserve unit the Queen’s Own Yeomanry, was designed to provide a unique opportunity for employees to enhance their personal leadership, teamwork and communication skills, as well as gain a valuable insight into the transferable skills that Reservists develop during similar training exercises.

David Offen, Production Engineer at Portakabin, enjoyed every moment of the weekend, “It has been an incredible experience!  The environment and challenges you are thrown into are extraordinary, and you learn so much – about yourself, as much as the leadership and teamwork skills.  The reservists around us were brilliant.  It is hard to believe they have day jobs like the rest of us but are also fully trained soldiers.  They looked after us brilliantly, and gave us all an experience we’ll remember for the rest of our lives.”

Robert Snook, Director and General Manager at Portakabin said, “Such a wide variety of tasks really stretch the participants in ways no other training course can do.  Portakabin has supported this training exercise for a number of years and have found it really improves self-confidence and expands capabilities, especially the capacity for leadership, communication and teamwork.  We have been very impressed with the training that is available through the Reserve Forces and as an employer, we really value the skills it provides us with. We would definitely encourage more organisations to participate.”

The Executive Stretch exercise saw over 100 staff from organisations across the region taking part, all of which were mixed up and split into eight teams before carrying out a range of tasks and missions.

Colonel Jason Wright, Chief Executive of the Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) in Yorkshire and The Humber, commented, “It has been a very successful exercise and it was good to see all the participants getting stuck in and enjoying the whole experience.  But there is also a serious side to the whole event about the benefits a Reservist can bring to employers. The training they receive is the same as the Regular Forces, and besides preparing them for mobilisation, it also provides them valuable skills in business – motivation, self-discipline, confidence, communication, teamwork and leadership to name just a few.  We want to encourage employers and employees to consider what the Reserve Forces have to offer, and this is a very exciting way of doing that.”