A UNIVERSITY’S first student nurse to complete her Army Reservist Training has marked an important milestone in a partnership with the Armed Forces.

Hayley Fairweather, 26, took her oath of allegiance during a special ceremony on the University of Sunderland campus, before officers of the 251 Medical Squadron, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Sir David Bell, and academics from the nursing team.

The university has a longstanding relationship of mutual support with the Army’s Medical Services and in particular 251 Medical Squadron at Seaburn.

Students interested in the reserves take part in team-building activities, leadership exercises and trauma days, creating an awareness of medical careers in the Armed Forces. Working with the Defence Medical Services offers skills aimed at those wishing to join the military after qualification.

The third-year nursing student, whose father was in the Royal Marines and whose brother is in the Royal Navy, said: “It’s such a proud day for me to take the oath of allegiance.

“I always had a big interest in the Armed Forces, but never previously had the guts to go and do it. But once I found out about the link-up between the university and 251 Medical Squadron, I signed up for the team-building days and it went from there.

“I would recommend that any student to sign up, it’s great for building confidence, teamwork and leadership skills.”

The University signed their Armed Forces Covenant with a pledge to establish employment opportunities for Service leavers and recognise the unique skills many possess, directing them to suitable educational programmes and courses.

The University was also recognised with an Employer Recognition Scheme Silver awards for the major contribution an organisation is making with initiatives such as employing veterans, supporting individuals transitioning out of the Armed Forces into a new career and providing flexibility for Reservists.

Former nursery nurse Hayley was attested by Major McDermott-Moses and was followed by another nursing student, Gavin Middlemass, who has also taken his oath of allegiance and is now able to serve his country as an Army Reservist.

The 32-year-of Sunderland was inspired to become a nurse after caring for his elderly relatives, and seeing first-hand the work the community nurses do.

Now in the second year of his nursing course, the former contact centre worker joined the Army Reserves after speaking to WO1 Mustard at an open day.

Simone Bedford, team leader for undergraduate nursing, said: “Attestation of our first student nurses is an incredibly proud day for us all.

“As a veteran myself I recognise the importance of team building and leadership skills especially within nursing, so for us to have the opportunity to work with the Army Reserves and give us their expertise in that field is fantastic.

“It complements the partnership work we’re doing with the Armed Forces and reinforces the Employer Recognition Scheme Silver award we achieved.”