Army recruitment campaign aims for Milton Keynes’ brightest business brains

Date: 10 May 2016

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British Army Intelligence is looking to recruit from within Milton Keynes’ high tech business community. But Lieutenant Colonel Phaedra McLean, commanding officer of 6 Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion has told employers they should not fear losing the best of their staff. The roles are ‘part-time’ in the Army Reserve and the skills and experience gained in uniform are valuable back in the workplace.

Lt Col Mclean was speaking at a breakfast briefing organised by Milton Keynes Business Leaders Partnership held at Bletchley Park, home of the wartime codebreakers. She explained that the Intelligence Corps’ primary task is to provide Army commanders with intelligence support to assist their decision making. Its functions include counter intelligence, image analysis and signals and cyber intelligence.

‘Our bread and butter job is to collate information from a multitude of streams, look at it, analyse it, make an assessment and then get the right information to the right people at the right time, and sometimes we have to be very, very quick,’ she said.

6 MI Battalion is filled mainly with reservists and has its 63 MI Company based at a new Army Reserve facility in Water Eaton Road, Bletchley. Lt Col McLean said they are looking to fill a variety of roles but the Corps is not looking for wannabe James Bonds, Spooks or a Walter Mitty. ‘We need bright and intelligent professional people who will get specialist training and can work as a team in problem solving and decision making.’

Having a member of staff in the Army Reserve is an advantage for employers Lt Col MacLean said. ‘They get the benefit of their people having all that additional training and experience, and leadership and management skills are transferable between either roles.’

There is help and advice available for employers from the Army Reserve, particularly for small and medium sized businesses, and there is support if reservist staff are mobilized she said. Reservists must complete a minimum 27 days training a year including midweek evenings, some weekends and a two-week camp.

Lt Col McLean joined the TA as a Private in 1987 rising through the ranks alongside a 30-year career in the Cheshire Police. Now retired from the police, in 2015 she became the first female Army Reservist to command an Intelligence Corps Reserve Battalion.

Dr Philip Smith MBE chairman MK BLP, said: ‘I was approached by Phaedra at an Army reception event and when she explained what she did I was intrigued and felt there was a real opportunity for her to reach skilled people in MK through Business Leaders.

‘Her presentation today really motivated our members and I hope we can build a healthy relationship with the Army Reserve,’ he said.