Margareta Johansson of the 27th Home Guard Battalion wanted to do something different from her daily work in healthcare, and joined the Swedish Women´s Voluntary Defence Organisation in 2010. In 2010 she completed her primary education for volunteer staff, and after that she joined the Home Guard, Sörmlandsgruppen. Although she is in for the sixth year, each year has brought new challenges.
Today, she is participating as an Intelligence Assistant in a staff consisting of five officers from different countries.
− I solve all possible problems and learn new things everyday. The best thing is to meet new people from other countries and to work as a team. It’s about being a team player, she says.
The job includes, among other things, gathering information, collating, analyzing, processing and compiling for the manager. She also helps with all the reports that come in and keeps an eye on what's most important.
− There are many similarities between what I do in my job as a caretaker and what I do in the Home Guard, but this is incredibly exacting, especially to work with the English language. I only see the benefits of being here and have a lot to bring home to my battalion, says Margareta Johansson.
Meeting between cultures challenging but very rewarding
Lieutenant Commander Paula Wallenburg from the First Submarine Flotilla is currently in the middle of the Advanced Staff Course; after working as a commander on a submarine for a couple of years, she was posted ashore in 2012 and has since been an exercise planner and sub-surface controller in the flotilla HQ. She is participating in the exercise as part of her education and is posted in the peacekeeping NATO force, BFOR's headquarters at J3 Maritime.
− I and my Finnish and Latvian colleagues have an overview of the short-term, medium and long-term planning. We support issues relating to the maritime environment that are not covered by J3 Plans and J5's area of responsibility. We also strengthen JOC, the Joint Operations Center, with, for example, writing or expertise in time-sensitive cases, Paula Wallenburg explains.
The greatest challenge to date she reckons is learning to work together with the so-called comprehensive approach, an all-encompassing perspective that includes more parties in society. And to take that step into coordination instead of giving orders and tasks.
− Then the meetings between cultures are a significant challenge, but perhaps also the most fruitful, says Paula Wallenburg.