Today is Armed Forces Day. At Datalynx, we are proud to support our armed forces whenever we can and are grateful for the work they do. In particular, we are supportive of ex-servicemen with the right skills who seek employment with us, and of our staff who wish to serve as Reservists. We spoke to Capt. Graham Naismith, who leads one of the Datalynx project teams. Graham is a Captain in the Army Section of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF).
“I was initially motivated by my children doing cadets but they’ve moved on now and I’m still there. I instruct intermediate and advanced First Aid and Navigation. These are two skills that provide great value outside of the CCF, and I’m very proud of some of the first aid incidents our cadets have been involved in both during and after cadets. Our CCF is in a state school that my children went to – it’s entirely voluntary, so you’re teaching kids that want to be there and I think that’s key. I love teaching and put a lot into my lesson plans. I realise that the more you put in the more you get out.”
“I have had many memorable experiences, but if I had to pin one down, it would be this quote that we received from a former cadet. You may inspire none, some or many, but occasionally you get visibility of a few. I vividly recall the MASH (Advance First Aid) weekend she talked about. I put so much time and effort into it and took a day off work to make it work (I lied to my wife about this!). The fact that it potentially inspired someone to become a doctor makes it all worthwhile. I’m privileged – many teachers inspire, but few know.”
‘Captain Naismith spoke to us near the start of our time in the contingent, I distinctly remember him saying that over our lives we would end up with about 10 memories that would never leave us, and he guaranteed us that at least one of those would come from our time in CCF. I find it incredibly hard to think that over time I will forget some of the events that have happened, and so after being asked to write this piece summing up my time in the contingent I have decided to write about memories I never hope to forget. The first major event for me, came not even a year after joining the contingent. In my many drafts of my personal statement, there was one consistency, I always mentioned the first M.A.S.H. weekend. The moment the smoke bomb went off, CCF cemented my decision to try to become a doctor, and now at the end of my time I have four offers to study Medicine next year, which undoubtedly CCF helped me get, as in every interview I could answer at least one question with a lesson that I have learnt in my time with the contingent, that would make me a better leader or team player or teacher, all vital things for being a doctor.’
“There are parallels between my CCF work and my “day job”. Datalynx’s MD has really good core values; he is about doing the right thing, and it’s a superb thing to lead people knowing that such a positive ethos exists and that it can be instilled into one’s team. That is an absolutely amazing thing. At CCF it is exactly the same – six core values: Courage, Discipline, Respect for Others, Integrity, Loyalty and Selfless Commitment. So I’m part of two organisations, with completely different aims, that work in exactly the same way. Many companies, and arguably cadet units, talk about this, but our company and unit practice what they preach. It did cement my view about the very basics of being a great worker; if you have the six core values of cadets/army then you will be a great employee.”
“I wouldn’t say either has changed me much – I’ve just found two places that have my values and that is extraordinary. Both show me that it’s really important to find and reward the good. I have amazing people in my team at work and amazing senior NCOs at cadets. What I will say is that in business you have many different and specialist roles. And the recruitment process I think can be very primitive (ad, CV, 30 min interview, appointment). I believe you can establish how good someone is by fundamental values – morals, on time, hard work, discipline, smart, questions, respect, etc. It’s so simple and cadets promotes this: I see cadets that I think would be superb employees. Our cadets participate in the Duke of Edinburgh Gold scheme but I think that’s a basic form of cadet life. CCF is way beyond this – someone that goes to a high rank in a cadet unit would be someone I would be looking to give a job to.”
“For anyone thinking about joining a cadet force, I’d firstly say that it’s the right thing to do – help people and be of value to society. You’re working with people who, if they do well at cadets – and that doesn’t mean excelling in each discipline – are golden nuggets for employment. An outstanding cadet will be an outstanding employee without a doubt.”