Meet Lance-Corporal Becky Ibrahim, a reservist from 71st (City of London) Yeomanry Signal Regiment and a Teaching Assistant in Ark Oval Primary Academy. Having served in the Army reserves for over 15 years, we wanted to know what keeps her interested in the reserves.
“The best part for me is the people I work with. They are like a second family to me and my two boys. We all support each other through thick and thin and generally have a good time together. That’s not to say we don’t have our ups and downs when training, but we respect the rank of each other and work well as a team to get the job done.”
“The Army Reserves offers a lot more now and gives you some amazing opportunities like gaining qualifications in a wide range on courses that are not all military based that can really support you and your civilian professional development.”
Lance-Corporal Ibrahim is lucky to have a supportive employer at in Ark Oval Primary Academy. Their head teacher is ex-military and is very understanding when it comes to Lance-Corporal Ibrahim’s role in the reserves. Having such a support employer enables Lance-Corporal Ibrahim to take full advantage of all tasks that come up and allows her to take leave when needed for any training or professional development opportunities. As a key role model to her students, they enjoy asking many questions about what it’s like being a soldier and some have even said they would like join when they are older.
“I’ve had an amazing 15 years and have managed to see and do so much, something I wouldn’t have been able to do as a civilian.”
During the COVID 19 response, Lance-Corporal Ibrahim continued to work at her school as they stayed open for Key Worker and Vulnerable children. Whilst on a shift pattern at school, any time she wasn’t due to be in the building Rebecca either worked from home or dedicated her time towards supporting her unit. Together, Lance-Corporal Ibrahim and her reservist colleague, Signaller Glenn Buckett, rapidly devised a plan that took advantage of both the technical skills from Reservists’ civilian careers and their wider networks to support the national effort at the local level.
Lance-Corporal Ibrahim said “Myself and Signaller Buckett worked together doing maintenance tasks, but wanted to do our bit to support. We then came up with the idea of making face shields to support our local community. This was a difficult task to put together but after a lot of hard work and perseverance, we managed to get this up and running with the support of our sqn who continue to put in a tremendous amount of time and effort into keeping this running.”
With the full support of both the military Chain of Command and the Reserve Forces & Cadet Associations, the Coulsdon Army Reserve Centre is now established as a PPE production facility, producing over 100 face shields per day for donation to care homes, schools and St John Ambulance. More than 3,000 sets have been produced to date with funding generated from civilian employers, other business contacts and donations of packaging from the Kent Air Ambulance which will currently cover the cost of around 7,000 sets.
Lance-Corporal Ibrahim comments “As a single mum of two energetic young boys, this has been no easy task juggling them, working at school and making the PPE to support the local community. But I love what I do, and I wouldn’t change it for the world!”