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Royal Navy gives school pupils taste of military life

26 July 2016
The Royal Navy opened its doors to school students to give them an insight into possible future careers.

The work experience students from Devon and Cornwall visited HM Naval Base Devonport in Plymouth and the basic training centre at HMS Raleigh in Torpoint.

They spent a week on a programme including an energetic start by taking the Royal Navy Fitness test  (a 1.5 mile run) followed by a brief on how sailors lead a healthy life.

They saw the MOD Police Dog section at work patrolling and training the dogs and were given the rare chance to see on board the large warship HMS Bulwark.  

It’s great to see the students develop over the period of the week.

Chief Petty Officer Carter

At HMS Raleigh where they were introduced to initial navy training and tried out their marksmanship skills in the indoor computerised firing range. 

The teenagers went on the water by having a river-based tour of the Naval Base on one of the Serco boats which help ferry personnel between ships at sea and visited the floating museum submarine Courageous.

Back on land they were shown around the medical and dental departments in HMS Drake and spent time with the Royal Marines of 1 Assault Group, the Navy’s small boat experts.

At Britannia Royal Navy College for officers, the students training on the low-ropes and leadership tasks to develop team-working and communication and again went on the water in a training boat.

Chief Petty Officer ‘Nick’ Carter said:  “It’s great to see the students develop over the period of the week. 

“They come from different schools and by the end of the week you can see them coming together as one big team.”

Warrant Officer Spike Way said:  “We have applications from up to 60 young people to come on our work experience programme and from them we select around 12.  

“The group we have this time are brilliant and mature.  I get a lot out of working with the work experience students myself.  I like to see them gelling as a team and I feed off their enthusiasm.”

Bethany Cox, aged 15, from Plymouth attends Torbridge High School.  She said:  “I want to get an insight into the Royal Navy, what it’s like, because I’d like to join when I’m older, possibly as a warfare officer.

“I quite liked the shooting we did at HMS Raleigh and the tour of HMS Bulwark was good.  I surprised myself by running the mile and a half.  I didn’t think I’d be able to do that.  I’ll take away the leadership and teamwork skills that we’ve learnt over the week.

“It’s been good too socialising with the other people and making friends.”

Alex Greening, aged 15, is a pupil of Kevicc School in Totnes.  He said:  “I’m here to learn about the Navy and just enjoy the week. 

“I want to join the Navy and do officer pilot training.  I enjoyed the trip on HMS Bulwark.  I’d never really been on a ship and it was a great experience.  I was surprised at how big it was, particularly the internal deck which stores the Royal Marines equipment.  I’ll use the experiences I’ve had this week on my CV, which will hopefully help me when I join.”

Jack Hutchin, 15, of Mount Kelly School, Tavistock, who has always wanted to join the Navy, said: “I was keen to see all the different career paths available during this week. 

I was amazed at how many different jobs there are in the Navy. I’d possibly like to be a pilot, especially of the new F35 jet which I saw at Farborough.’’

Ruth McCulloch, 15, of Plymouth High School for girls found the size of HMS Bulwark most fascinating. She said: “I’ve learned a lot during the work experience week. I’m not sure what to do when I leave school.

“But after this week I now might think about joining the Navy.’’

Siobhan Smith, 16, of Eggbuckland College, Plymouth, is considering a nursing career in the Navy after her week’s work experience:

“This week really opened my eyes to what the Navy offers as a career. It was really interesting, especially the medical centre.’’

Jim Pearce ( on behalf of Plymouth High School for Girls): "I attended the Generic Work experience "Wash-Up" at HMS Drake and what a wonderful experience it was.

“To see a group of students who, apart from two or three, were strangers at the beginning of the week moulded into a proactive progressive team pulling in one direction.

“They all clearly enjoyed the team building exercises and everything the Royal Navy has to offer and none were deterred from their combined desire to become part of the Royal Navy's future. Long may this extremely valuable experience continue.

“A special thank you must go to the RN personnel who took the time to make this a special week."

Lynn Harris, Careers Co-ordinator, Eggbuckland Community College, said: “It was obvious from the moment I met our two students at the course wash up that they had both thoroughly enjoyed the course and they had got so much from it in terms of leadership skills, team working and also working with new people. 

“They have also, based on what they have seen, decided to continue with their applications to join the Royal Navy.

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