Working Derbyshire mum Michelle Rowlands has found that organising her busy life is plain sailing thanks to the training she has received as a Royal Navy Reservist (RNR).
Michelle is now urging others to jump on board so they too also learn leadership and management skills.
She serves as reservist with HMS Sherwood and works as a flexible nursing assistant at the Royal Derby Hospital in her civilian life.
Michelle, 36, originally joined the reserves as a 17-year-old and spent two years volunteering before leaving due to other commitments. However, in 2016, she decided to give her ambition of working with the military another go,
She said: “In a short space of time my leadership and management skills have increased considerably which helps in all aspects of my life. Plus, joining the RNR has allowed me to improve my fitness levels and communication skills which are real benefits, both in and outside of the military environment.”
As a flexible nursing assistant, Michelle often meets people of all ages who have served in the armed forces and thanks to her role in the reservists she now feels she has more of an understanding about the lives they have led.
Since the start of the year, Michelle has battled the adverse weather conditions created by the ‘beast from the east’ to successfully complete her basic training at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall.
She continued: “I can’t believe how many opportunities there are. In my day job there would be no way I would get to take part in a prestigious ‘pass out’ parade, jump in to the water to swim with jellyfish at HMS Excellent training school or ride a horse called Dexter as part of a riding programme.
“I used to have my own horse a long time ago, but I’d forgotten a lot of riding skills so the Navy’s grassroots course I completed was ideal. I had a go at loads of things including mucking out, feeding, grooming and completed lessons about riding a horse for show jumping or dressage. I also took part in a jumping competition which was great fun.”
Specialising in logistics at HMS Sherwood, the East Midlands’ only RNR unit, her crewmates rely on her to help with lots of different tasks from co-ordinating the delivery of supplies for training to making sure there is enough food for overnight exercises.
Michelle, of Duffield, said: “My friends and family have all noticed a positive change in me since I joined HMS Sherwood. I have found the training tough but it is such an achievement completing all of it. I’d encourage anyone with an interest in the Navy to find out more about joining, I’ve gained so much. Organisation is the key to me being who I am. I would recommend being a reservist to anyone.”