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Specialist Engagement Team

  • Balbir Flora
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


At Sierra Leone, I was a Logistics Supplier.

Now, I'm part of a specialist engagement team

and what our job is to go out and about,

to go to community events, to go out to shows,

careers fairs and things like that.

And show the public that we're doing

as a member of the minority community, i.e. Sikh.

We've got members who are Hindus,

Muslims, Afro-Caribbeans, Africans,

females as well, from these communities.

We go out and try and promote that we are serving

and that they too have the opportunity

to be a part of our team.

And a lot of them are totally unaware

that they can actually join.

So to give you an example, we were in Manchester

last week at a big, charity event,

which was sort of to raise funds

for charities that support people in need,

including the attack on the arena last year.

So they were commemorating that as well

and remembering the people who got injured and killed.

And at that event, we sort of turned up in uniform

and people were sort of quite shocked

'cause they've seen the few army,

sort of reservists about or whatever.

So they're aware that people are in the army.

But you actually got people in the Air Force.

They're sort of, "Oh, I never knew

that we had Sikhs in the Air Force

or Hindus and stuff like that."

So you talk to them and then, obviously,

the next question is, "Is it racist?"

You know, and then you actually say,

"Well no, because, you know,

we've got zero tolerance policy

and we got procedures in place

and no tours in the military, especially Air Force.

You know, we will not take that kind of views."

And there's procedures in place that you can,

basically if somebody's harassing you

or something like that, you've got a process

which you can follow to address that.

So you know, when you explain that

to the community that's out there,

they're actually shocked that you know, we

sort of have got all this in place,

even to the point that, you know,

we've got chaplains representing the Sikhs

and these Buddhists, Muslims, in the Ahmadiyya

so if we need, not only just the cultural

or sort of the individual service type questions,

but if you've got religious needs as well,

you know, we provide those as well.

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