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Students rise to Royal Navy challenge

19 January 2017
A special team of sailors working alongside an education charity are bringing some of their own real world experiences to life for students involved with the ‘Royal Navy Ratings Compass Challenge’.

The joint Royal Navy venture between Captain Naval Recruiting (CNR) and Commander Regional Forces (CRF) has brought together teams from several London Boroughs to take part in the challenge.

Using HMS President near Tower Bridge, over 60 students gathered for the third of five unique workshops that the Royal Navy is partnering with ‘Transformation Trust’.

The ‘Ratings Compass Challenge’ is designed to engage students with real life simulations, asking them to use teamwork and problem solving to decide who within a chosen team will take on a responsibility for a given scenario. 

It comes down to making choices, justify decisions and solving problems.

Sam Draper

The workshops are mirrored down in Portsmouth at HMS King Alfred, engaging with a further 40 local students.

“They have the problem, saving 400 migrants on a boat and they have to choose which ratings and which 20 pieces of naval equipment they need for the job,” said Sam Draper, of Transformation Trust.

“It comes down to making choices, justify decisions and solving problems.

“We throw in curveballs and see how they react. It’s about making valued assessments, valued judgements and adapting their first ideas to changing situations.”

But the challenge is not all classroom based and at HMS President, the home of the Royal Naval Reserve in the City of London; the students got hands-on practical experience with some of the Royal Navy’s latest equipment.

Chief Petty Officer Graeme McCall is part of the Royal Navy’s Diversity Action Team, showed the students some survival skills that migrants would need if they end up in the Sea.

“It’s a way of explaining how dangerous conditions can become.

“It’s fun dressing up, kitting out in all the equipment and they don’t necessary see the severity of the situation, but they experience working together as a team and doing something which is taking them completely out of their comfort zone.”

The Challenge culminates with an overnight stay on-board HMS Bristol in Portsmouth Harbour, where students get a chance to get a look at a real Royal Navy Warship and carry out a series of problem solving tasks during their stay.

“If you had asked the students before; What is the Royal Navy? They would have said it was all about big boats, the sea and fighting wars,” said Siobhan Kelly a programme manager for Transformation Trust.

“Hopefully they now understand more about the roles and jobs available and the real world problems the Royal Navy gets involved with.”

“We work with over 1300 secondary schools across the country, providing enriched opportunities for students in deprived areas. We establish the student’s core transferable skills; time management, working as a team and defining their strengths as well as their hands on skills, which is where the Royal Navy comes in.

“Like many of our other programmes, we special in designing, delivering and evaluating bespoke programmes in partnership with all sorts of organisations who want to build and diversify their talent pipeline.

“This particular programme is set to open doors and let students see what opportunities there are in the Royal Navy and the Forces as a whole.”

However, the final word has to go to Maia of Harris Academy in Beckenham, “It’s really good and pushes you to the limits. I’m finding it very motivating and getting to experience some amazing things that I never would have before. It’s getting better and better.”

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