Armed Forces Week 2021
21 June 2021
As a signatory of the Armed Forces Covenant, the team at AIM team are showing their respect for the people who serve in the armed forces. The covenant is a pledge that we acknowledge and understand that those who serve or who have served in the armed forces, and their families, should be treated with fairness and respect in the communities, economy and society they serve with their lives.
As an employer, we can learn a lot from our armed forces personnel: leadership, integrity, commitment, teamwork, resilience, and of course the ability to perform under pressure. To celebrate Armed Forces Week we spoke with Petty Officer Ratu Tuisawau, a logistics expert in the Royal Navy, and partner of our very own Director of Compliance and Quality Assurance; Debbie Jump. We learned how and why he joined the armed forces and the challenges he faces in the line of duty.
“I was actually rejected from the British Army recruiting process before deciding to join the Royal Navy, to be fair all of my cousins and relatives joined the Army, so thought I’d be a bit different! It was a bit of a culture shock, coming to the UK from Fiji for the first time, and my first drafting was Faslane (HMNB Clyde) in December 2004… I’ve never been so cold in my entire life! I consolidated my trade training up there before I joined my first ship, and helped to destore HMS Victorious, not knowing that 13 years later I’d be going back to join as a submariner. The idea was to see the world on the Surface Fleet, go there, get the t-shirt, and then do it again under the surface! The most exciting part of my career has been joining the Submarine Service – it’s totally different from the norm and there’s so many myths and speculation to dispel! I was told I’d struggle coming from Surface Fleet, but I’ve really enjoyed it, even if I had to go without a shower for a week – my colleagues were right when they told me to bring wet wipes! The main challenge is the distance and the separation. But my British partner, Debbie, is used to it as her dad served in the Army when she was younger. She’s really independent, with a close-knit circle of friends and family. I know everyone will be there for her when I go away, so I’m relieved. I also have a lot of support from the Commonwealth network, and the Fijian community, as well as all the charities that work with the Navy. The support is enormous when we’re away, not just for us – but for our families too. I’m proud of the opportunity I’ve had to join the Armed Forces, I’ve taken all opportunities with both hands. I tell my Fijian colleagues and friends – look at me, if I can do it, you can too. I feel valued in every way, just like everyone else – this is a melting pot, and if there are issues, we can deal with them and bring them to the right forum. It’s quite empowering and nice to know that you belong – that you are the organisation. I’m not only a sailor in the Royal Navy but the epitome of the Royal Navy. That’s made this journey so beautiful, and it’s unique. So if I can help other people see it from that perspective I will.”
We greatly appreciate Ratu sharing his experiences with us and thank him for his service. To find out more information about how AIM, as a member of the Armed Forces Covenant, works to help members of the armed forces visit our 'Working for AIM' page and to find out more about the Armed Forces Covenant visit their website at www.armedforcescovenant.gov.uk.