Everyone at our Asda Leith store is so proud of our deputy manager Derek Player who's training to become an officer in the Royal Navy Reserve.
Asda is supporting Derek by granting two months' leave this summer so he can complete his training to become a midshipman.
Officer cadet Derek, who's 43 and has worked for Asda in central Scotland for 25 years – the last three at Asda Leith – trains on evenings and weekends at HMS Scotia shore base at Rosyth.
He said: "My training this summer is an accelerated officer's programme which brings together about 18 months or two years' worth of training all in one go so it sort of speeds up the training process.
"It's all about earning my commission and becoming an officer hopefully and passing out in September. Once that is done, it's about completing my training so I can be deployed. That's about another 12 months' away.
"I wanted to join the Navy full time as a young man but I couldn't back in the day. It went out of my mind until I met a friend who encouraged me to go along to the open day and that was a couple of years ago. The application process is quite intense it takes about a year to complete particularly as a mature candidate such as myself as the physical elements are quite tough."
He said Asda had been very supportive of his naval role.
He said: "As an employer, Asda has always been ahead of the curve, both in terms of colleague relations and now, I'm also finding, in relation to my Royal Navy Reserve commitments. I am really proud to work for a company that is so progressive - committed to equality and respect for all colleagues.”
Store manager Neil Cameron said: “I can't help but respect how Derek has navigated the last 12 weeks with his team through an enormous period of change for our business.
"His strength of courage and resilience - core military attributes - are some of the inspirational qualities he has brought to his career with Asda”.
And our store's community champion Sharon added: "All of us here at Asda Leith are so proud of Derek and we wish him all the best in his training."