The reservist


What is a reservist? 

  • There are around 30,000 volunteer reservists in the UK.
  • They make up around 15 per cent of the nation's total defence capacity. 
  • The Reserve Forces consist of civilians from a wide range of industries whose skills are used to great benefit within the Armed Forces.
  • They take part in regular evening and weekend training, as well as a two-week annual camp training exercise, which could be at home or abroad. 
  • They are likely to be mobilised at some point in their military career. 
  • Reservists gain specialist skills that they would not have had the opportunity to develop during their civilian career, often focusing on leadership and communication. This makes them an asset to any organisation that employs them in a civilian capacity.

Reservists can have the opportunity to complete courses that directly link to their profession including:

Full-time courses

  • MSc Disaster Management
  • MA Humanitarianism and Conflict Response 
  • MSc Tropical and Infectious Diseases 
  • MSc Tropical Paediatrics 
  • Diploma in Humanitarian Assistance 
  • MSc in Conflict Prevention and Peace Building 

Part-time/distance based courses

  • Diploma in Disaster and Catastrophe Medicine
  • MA International Disaster Management 
  • Online MA Global Health
  • MA Humanitarianism and Conflict Response 
  • MA Disaster Management 
  • Emergency Humanitarian Assistance 
  • Diploma in Tropical Nursing 

Short courses

  • Surgical Training for Austere Environments
  • Field Logistics in Emergencies
  • International Humanitarian Law 
  • Infectious Diseases in Humanitarian Emergencies
  • International Health Consultancy


Mobilisation is when a reservist is called upon to take part in military operations in the UK or overseas. Reservists know that there is a strong possibility of being mobilised from three months or less, to a maximum of 12 months. This period includes pre-deployment training, the operational tour and post-tour leave. 

The Ministry of Defence aims to give you and your employee sufficient notice of mobilisation (the day they have to report for duty). Wherever possible this will be at least 28 days’ notice for contingency (short notice) military operations and at least 90 days for pre-planned military operations. 

More information about mobilisation and managing all aspects of a reservists career can be found within our resources section.

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