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Supporting our reservists: Matt's story

At Nationwide, approximately 30 colleagues alongside their civilian careers also serve in the military as reservists. As an Armed Forces Covenant Gold Award employer, we support our reservists by offering extra paid leave to attend annual training camps and exercises.

We recognise and value the skills and experience reservists bring to our Society. They help us make a greater impact and drive meaningful outcomes for our customers.

Matt, a Senior Risk Manager in Enterprise Data, balances his role at Nationwide with his duties as a Flying Officer in the RAF Intelligence branch. Read about how he uses his military experience to develop his leadership and decision-making skills in his civilian career.

Please introduce yourself.

I'm Matt Smith, a Senior Risk Manager within Enterprise Data Governance responsible for data our retention policy across Nationwide. For 27 days a year, I'm a Part-Time Volunteer Reserve (PTVR) with the Royal Air Force, commissioned as a Flying Officer in the Intelligence branch.

How many years have you served as a reservist in the forces?

I joined in February 2015, so that's just over 9 years now.

How are you supported as a reservist at Nationwide?

I get additional time off to allow me to undertake training and exercises, often referred to as 'annual camp'. This is a throwback to the 'old days' when it was a 2-week training camp. Today, it's more flexible and can be a mix of training courses and exercises. This year I'm acting as Intelligence Officer for 2 weeks of exercise 'Cobra Warrior', an exercise testing an airborne war game fought across 5 weeks over the UK and North Sea. I've also been supported to mobilise, (essentially going full-time into the RAF from October 2021 to April 2022) to cover regular personnel who were on exercise or already deployed.

How can a high-performing corporate culture benefit from the transferable skills and experiences reservists hold?

In the RAF I'm involved in decision making at a pace and with the importance that just isn't replicated in the corporate world. This accelerates my development beyond what corporate experience, workshops, or training courses can offer, making me a more effective professional. Additionally, working in multinational environments like NATO and the tri-service environment (Army, Navy, and RAF) provides reservists with unique perspectives and experiences unavailable in the corporate sector. This brings a diversity of thought to the corporate world that wouldn't otherwise exist.

How have you been able to apply your military skills and experience in your current role?

I'm a better line manager (or at least hope I am!) due to my reserve experience. The reserve team I lead all volunteer their weekends and are incredibly diverse. They provide a constant reminder that rank does not determine where the best ideas originate from. Bringing this to the corporate world, with elements of the mission command leadership training we receive, means I'm much more comfortable giving my team and peers the outline of what needs to be done then allowing them to define how they do it.  This results in their roles being more challenging but rewarding, they can see their ideas take flight, they're more comfortable with taking responsibility, and are more engaged in the success of our work.

What transferable skills have you used in your current role from your military background?

I'd identify leadership, decision-making, planning, communication, and on a very personal level increased self-confidence.

Find out more about our Armed Forces careers here.