In the latest in the 'Meet the CFAV' series we meet Captain Austin Butler the recently appointed D&I Officer for the County:
When and why did you join the ACF as a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer (CFAV)?
I was a cadet at Wakefield (1976 – 79) and I enjoyed my cadet years enormously. Major Mike Wootton (Assistant Commandant, Yorkshire North and West ACF) was an instructor at Wakefield during this period and he was inspirational. I joined the ACF as a CFAV in order to serve and to use the skills and experience I had acquired through life to mentor young people and to support them to achieve. I have derived a great deal of satisfaction from this, and I firmly believe, as a CFAV, I have a positive impact on the lives and prospects of the cadets with whom I come into contact. I became a CFAV in YNW ACF in January 2004 and I was motivated to do so by Major Mike Wootton.
What is your current ACF role?
I am the Diversity and Inclusion Officer.
How did you get to your current role in the ACF? (tell us a bit about your ACF journey, key moments / positions / achievements)
My greatest achievement as a CFAV is my service as a Detachment Commander. I had the good fortune to command Harewood Detachment in inner city Leeds for approx.10 yrs. I transformed it from what it was into a very well attended, high performing flagship detachment which was often referred to in Annual Inspection Reports as having “beacon status”. I achieved this largely singlehandedly. I also take great pride in having been Regimental Sergeant Major Instructor for Yorkshire North and West ACF and I consider this to be a further personal achievement.
I transferred to Humberside and South Yorkshire because it is inclusive, and people feel valued.
What it the most exciting / interesting thing you have done as a CFAV?
The most exciting and interesting thing I have done as CFAV was to serve as Regimental Sergeant Major Instructor under Colonel FT Owen. This was a time of great change with significant challenges, and it was hugely enjoyable.
What opportunities have you had as a CFAV that you would not have had outside the ACF?
The ACF offers a type of leadership development which is not available elsewhere and I have taken advantage of this.
What do you do in your civilian career?
I have recently retired from Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council. I was Senior Housing Officer (North) - I supported the Area Housing Manager through the effective management of my team of Area Housing Officers. My efforts hinged upon the provision of high-quality housing management through supporting people to sustain homes which were right for them and delivering services which aided the wellbeing and resilience of residents. Key to this process was involving tenants in decision-making, responding to complaints, and tackling anti-social behaviour. I achieved this through ensuring my colleagues carried out prompt and diligent enquiries into breaches of tenancy and anti-social behaviour and through ensuring appropriate interventions and remedies were put in place. I engaged daily with tenants. I worked in close multi-agency partnership with organisations including the police, social-services, and other statutory agencies to address crime and disorder and to support the community. I also attended multi-agency conferences related to the welfare and safety of Domestic Abuse Victims.
How has you experience as a CFAV helped in this role?
Colonel Owen’s focus on inclusive leadership and what I have learned through this has definitely been of assistance.
What do you do in your time outside of work and cadets?
My interests include history, particularly military history, and current affairs. I am an avid reader and whilst most of what I read is factual – biographies etc and books focussed on given periods, I also enjoy lighter reading. I have an extensive collection of books amongst which are a number of first editions. I enjoy listening to the radio, particularly Radio 4 (The Today Programme and World at One) and I also listen to GB News. I read the Daily Mail which I access on-line.
Further, I have a Yorkshire Terrier (Spartacus) – he is extremely energetic, and I take pleasure in taking him for long walks.
What would you say to anyone considering becoming a CFAV?
The benefits of becoming a CFAV are wide ranging and rewarding. They include developing new skills and working with colleagues from diverse backgrounds to support young people to achieve their potential. If you’re ready to volunteer, come and meet us and find out more (click the 'Join Now' link above).
If you are an existing CFAV and would like to be featured please contact the County Media Officer.