UNE looking out for its Reservist personnel

Published 10 June 2011

reserves_award_2011The University Of New England has been recognised for the outstanding support it offers to Defence Reservists among its employees.

UNE received the 2011 DRSC-NSW employer support award at a ceremony on campus earlier this week. The Defence Reserves Support Council (DRSC) recognises employers who have supported their Reservist employees either by developing a supportive leave policy or by releasing them for military service.

The university was nominated for the award by Corporal Jack McCaw, a Client Support Officer with UNE’s IT Directorate and part-time soldier with the 12th/16th Hunter River Lancers.

Corporal McCaw said he was moved to make the nomination after witnessing first-hand the generous leave provisions made available by the university for its Defence Reservist personnel.

“As a reservist, it’s great to know my employer will support me if I’m called away on exercises or deployed,” Corporal McCaw said.

The award is the latest of several accolades UNE has won over the years for its support of its Reservist staff members, including being named NSW’s best employer of Defence Force Reservists in 2005.

Accepting the award on behalf of the university from Brigadier Iain Spence (who is also an Adjunct Associate Professor in UNE’s School of Humanities), UNE Vice Chancellor Jim Barber said he was “honoured and proud to have the university recognised in this way”.

Captain Shane Green, Regional Manager of Defence Reserve Support said, “employers such as the UNE are critical in supporting Defence [to] meet its obligations and gets Reservists into areas where they are needed on operations but also to facilitate their ongoing training and development.”

UNE offers special leave to Australian Defence Force members to allow them to undertake military activities, including paid leave for short periods of military service and unpaid leave for lengthier deployments. The Federal Government helps fund leave for UNE’sReservists through its Employer Support Payment Scheme.

UNE numbers many current and former Defence Reservists among its staff and students, and UNE-employed Reservists have undertaken a wide range of military duties, ranging from two-week combined-forces exercises to extended deployments. In 1990, Andrew St John Brown, a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve, took 18 months off from his job as Assistant Registrar at UNE to support the Navy’s Gulf War operations in Sydney. During the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Tony Bock, a Warrant Officer in the Army Reserve, gave up his job in the university’s Finance Directorate for three months to serve in Operation Gold. He later received a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service in the Army Reserve.