SLAVF To Enlist Professionals
Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force (SLAVF) with its reputed history of more than 132 years, began its recruitment drive to enlist professionals from both public and private sectors after revitalizing its voluntary reserve in the SLAVF under the awareness programme, “Api Army” (We are Army).
This was formally announced on Tuesday (11) during a media briefing held at Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa theatre, attended by Military personnel and two state officials who are waiting to be enlisted shortly to the SLAVF voluntary reserve.
During the briefing, Military Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya called on professionals in the field of medicine, engineering, accountancy, agriculture, languages, hospitality, event management, technology, etc, to volunteer their services to the volunteer reserve as officers with the objective of reversing the SLAVF to its glory days prior to the 1980s.
Professionals under the age of 55 can now join the SLAVF depending on requirements and specific qualifications while simultaneously receiving enlistment and commissioning as Lieutenant Colonels, Colonels, etc in the SLAVF. The project was necessitated with the Army, now expanding its wings into many areas of public service with its active participation in ongoing mega development projects.
Those professionals, unlike others enlisting to the SLAVF, can continue to serve until they turn 55 years, wearing a rank. Such enlisted personnel are entitled to receive benefits of medicine, welfare, transport, insurance, salary, etc applicable to the relevant rank.
Similarly, a volunteering professional thus commissioned or non-commissioned has to obtain approval from his employee for enlistment to the SLAVF. These professional could be call out for active service when necessary, for example, in the event of national disasters, catastrophes, emergency situations, mega development work, etc.
The SLAVF with its inexplicable contribution to the development of the nation, ever since its early beginnings as a small force in 1896, has today grown to 103 battalions with 2800 officers and 65000 other ranks serving across the country.
Speaking to The Sunday Leader the volunteer force commander Major General Prasad Samarasinghe said that the decision to recruit civilians as volunteers was taken on the instructions of the Secretary Defence, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa through the commander of the army. “Prior to 1983 the volunteer concept was different, and it was considered a prestige to serve in the volunteer reserve. However with the war, the whole concept changed and due to the need at the time we had not recruited anyone into the volunteer reserve and instead we recruited personnel to the volunteer force on full time basis. Today there are more than 64,000 personnel still serving with us on a full time basis,” he said.
However he added that now as the war has ended and there is no need for combat personnel, the focus is mainly on the professionals in the various fields to obtain their services for the development and rebuilding of the country. “We have the capacity to recruit around 300 officers and 900 other rankers this year. We cannot take in more than that as we need to have the capacity to afford them training and other facilities as well. So we have to gradually start that real volunteer concept that existed prior to the 1980’s. These recruits will be granted ranks according to their experience and qualifications. When we recall them to serve with us, they will be paid, and thereafter they could return to their regular professions,” he explained.
Maj. Gen. Samarasinghe stated that only those employed, either in government service, private or those having their own businesses will be eligible to apply to the volunteer reserve, and upon being subject to selection will be assigned to a familiarization and basic training stint at the military academy in Diyatalawa for around three weeks each year.
Those who are selected for enlistment will be required to do the military uniform only during their period serving with the army and will have to adhere to the military laws. However when they are not in service they will be considered normal citizens of the country.
Further highlighting the benefits of joining the volunteer reserve, Samarasinghe said that young professionals also have the privilege of having a military matrimonial ceremony.
The applications will be available online from Monday and will close on the 31st of March, and the selection process will commence. According to Samarasinghe they plan to conduct the training of the selected recruits in May this year.