When Regimental Medical Officer Maj Mike Claydon heard about the Flexible Duties Trial, he felt it would be an ideal solution to ease the pressure of Army life on his young family. The trial is the forerunner to Flexible Service, which will be introduced next year. Mike chatted to Army&You about his experience…

MIKE heard about the Flexible Duties Trial from a fellow medical officer who was in a similar position.

“I’d returned from an overseas deployment which had not been easy on my wife, who was pregnant with our second child,” he said.

“Our conversations had turned to life outside the Army, so the opportunity for some stability with a toddler and a new-born was very attractive.”

Seal of approval

Mike is currently employed on full-time limited deployability (FD1), which means he is not liable for operational deployments or separation for more than 28 days.

He said: “I was granted ten months on FD1 to coincide with the date that I was due posting. The application process is relatively logical and straightforward.

“It required the approval of the chain of command up to the CO as well as confirmation from the RAO that I was eligible.

“My CO was aware of our need for stability and was very supportive.

“There was some concern from the medical centre that it would reduce my work output but I was able to persuade them that, as I would be around, it would have the opposite effect.”

Being in barracks for an extended period has enabled Mike to better manage his workload within normal working hours and tackle some important but non-urgent projects.

“This has increased my job satisfaction,” he added. “And I’ve been able to help look after our children as well as invest more in our marriage.

“We are now more aware of the benefits the Army can offer in terms of community and quality of life.”

The direct benefit the trial has had on Mike and his family during a busy stage in their lives has helped to set the conditions for a long career in the Army – and it is something that he would encourage others to do.

“As an option that is open to all at some point in their career I think it will be an enabler for long military service,” he said.

Find out more about Flexible Service by visiting gov.uk

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