Employers visit to 156 Regiment RLC in Croatia

156 Regt RLC deployed to Croatia on a OTX with 120 reserve personnel on Ex SAVA STAR in September.  The Regiment were working with Croatian forces conducting a dismounted infantry exercise. 

CO 156 Regt was keen to invite 5 employers to visit the exercise from Wed 14 – Fri 16 Sep 22, including one representative from RFCA, (Regional Employer Engagement Director Jan Cox).  The purpose of the visit was to further develop the good relationship the Regt has with its Armed Forces supportive employers, who will have members of their workforce deploying on EX SAVA STAR 22. 

156 with Croatian Forces

156 and Croatian Forces

Employers visiting the exercise had a first-hand opportunity to see and talk with their employees in a military environment, and to observe them training overseas with foreign forces as well as elements of UK Regular Forces.  It was hoped the experience they gained would further deepen the relationship between Defence and Employers, a crucial element of RF30, thereby securing employer buy in to the Covenant and support to the Defence Community. 

Jan with employers

REED Jan Cox, pictured with employers, Reservists and CO of 156


The visit was a a huge success, Kevin Hobbins; Safety Health & Environment Manager from First Milk took time to describe his experience on Ex Sava STAR:

  • How does your organisation support the armed forces community?
  • First Milk does not have many reservists in its ranks at the moment but does support the few we have as much as possible in terms of making time available for training, whether that be flexibility with holiday allocations, shift changes, time off at no cost to the reservist, etc. Going forward, we would like to support in many other ways and will promote the positive advantages of having employees as reservists because of the exceptional qualities they possess which benefits them on a personal basis as well as from a company one. We will also look at what`s involved with the armed forces covenant.

  • What insight has the exercise provided into reservist activity?
  • Was a great insight into what reservists do and gave everyone a good understanding that even though the RLC is known for logistics and supply all ranks are soldiers first. Fantastic insight into the basic soldiering skills that they all possess and train for. Really good to see reservists working in collaboration with Croatian forces but also taking the lead. Very proud that one of our employees is associated in this way.
First Milk

First Milk – Kevin Hobbins & Reservist Dean Skelton


  • How would you describe your experience on Exercise Sava star?
  • Great experience and very worthwhile. Got a really good insight into what reservists do from all walks of life and different skill sets. I can see how some of the military disciplines are transferrable into the reservists civilian occupations. Really impressed by the Brits taking the lead at times and how well they worked with their Croatian counterparts. Would recommend that more employers have access to the same experience in future. Also great to meet the chain of command who explained what the exercise was all about and delivered an excellent brief before everyone went out on the ground.

  • How will your organisation continue to support defence going forward?
  • We will consider signing up to the armed forces covenant to ensure our business continues to support our reservists. We will also look into how we can allow even more paid time off for our individuals and get more of our management team involved so that they have a better understanding about the flexibility and cooperation required. First Milk does have a reservist policy and we will undertake to review and amend in a positive way. Will also encourage employment from the Armed Forces community and ex servicemen and women.


Reserve Forces