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Ministry of Defence apprentices rebuild school garden

27 July 2016
A Royal Navy admiral congratulated Ministry of Defence apprentices on their school community project.

Vice Admiral Jonathan Woodcock, Second Sea Lord, was a special guest at Drake Primary School in Plymouth where the apprentices are rebuilding a wildlife garden.

Adm Woodcock said: “Apprentices are fundamental to the Royal Navy’s future.

“I’m delighted to meet the apprentices at Drake School where they are broadening skills and helping the community. I am sure they will be a great asset to the MOD and Navy in the years ahead.’’

It’s very much hands-on and we literally get our hands dirty, which is great.’

James Cooke

12 Defence Equipment and Support apprentices from HM Naval Base, Devonport,  carried out their community project as part of their formal training prior to taking up placements within HM Dockyard to continue their apprenticeship, as support engineers working alongside Royal Navy ships and submarines.

The school project benefits the children’s science education and gives the apprentices experience of teamwork and leadership and project management.

They designed the area’s improvements, budgeted for the materials and worked out the logistics and divided the labour.

Team leaders are James Cooke and Owen Hoffmeyer.  James said: “This is very rewarding. You only have to see the faces of the children when they see what we’ve done - that’s gives us all a lot of job satisfaction.

“The teachers are also very appreciative. This tests our leadership skills and how we work together. It’s very much hands-on and we literally get our hands dirty, which is great.’’

School Headteacher Joe Roberts said: “I’m very pleased with the work of the apprentices.

“They’ve worked very hard and are a pleasure to have on the premises. 

“The children can’t wait to make the most of the environmental area which they have transformed. 

“It used to be an untamed area hard to access. 

“We don’t have the funds for the labour, so they have done that for free for which we are very grateful to the MOD.

“This is a small school with minimal green area which is on a slope. They have built a path and steps, a ‘bug hotel’ and a rotting wood habitat.

“So, it’s now accessible and a great outdoor classroom for teaching science.’’

Lorna Stubbs, the Apprentice Development Manager said: “It is important that the local community can see how MoD personnel can contribute to their community, and in wider terms, it is essential that we engage young children within the science, technology, engineering and maths initiative. 

“If we can capture their imagination early, they may be our future apprentices.”

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