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All Ship Shape at Bishop’s Forum thanks to Culdrose Sailors

13 June 2017
Last month over 90 trainee Sailors from RNAS Culdrose spent two days working at the Adventure Centre Bishop’s Forum just outside Penryn, near Falmouth in Cornwall.

The sailors worked on a number of projects, totalling 900 ‘man hours’ aimed at improving the landscape and facilities at the Cornish Charity’s site.

For the trainee sailors, this project provided part of their teamwork and leadership training; they also made use of Bishop Forums’ team building facilities and really got to know their fellow trainees.

Teamwork and leadership are fundamental skills that are required by any fighting force.  In their role protecting Britain’s interests overseas, these sailors could find themselves assisting a Dependant Territory or one of Britain’s allies rebuild after a natural or manmade disaster. 

It was great to see the trainees outside their normal training environment. We could see them develop in confidence.

Chief Petty Officer Air Engineer Mechanic Una Heffernan

The skills they utilised will prove vital in achieving such a task. Not only that, working for two days in the field, the sailors developed their teamwork, communication, planning and problem solving skills.

They were presented with an area that needed improving and, in their teams, they worked to fulfil the task.

Some of the work they completed included building paths in previously heavily over grown areas, building steps, clearing a rock climbing area to allow disabled access, erecting fences and building a children’s activity play area.

The sailors were from a number of different trades. Some were Naval Airmen Aircraft Handlers, responsible for firefighting and aircraft movement on board ships.

Others were Air Engineering Technicians; these personnel maintain the Royal Navy’s aircraft. There were also Naval Airmen Survival Equipment, the personnel who maintain and service the personal flying equipment and Aircrewmen who help fight the Navy’s helicopters.

During their professional training, these groups rarely mix. One of the very many benefits of their work together at Bishop’s Forum was that the different groups worked together and really got to know each other.

When asked about the benefits of the training one of the most popular answers related to this, they said it was really nice in that it broke down barriers and gave them an opportunity to get to know other trainees from other courses.

They also felt that it developed their lateral thinking, utilising their thinking skills outside their normal roles and that they could see themselves using these skills in a disaster zone for real.

To make the scenario more real they all stayed on the Bishop Forum’s site for the duration of the exercise.

They did not have access to mobile phones or the internet, so during their down time they played sport and board games. They were accommodated in portacabins or in tents.

One of the instructors, Chief Petty Officer Air Engineer Mechanic Una Heffernan said, ‘it was great to see the trainees outside their normal training environment. We could see them develop in confidence’.

Once they completed all their tasks, they attempted some of the team building and leadership tasks. The trainees found them rewarding and enjoyable.

It is hoped that more junior sailors form RNAS Culdrose’ leadership school will work at Bishop’s Forum’s in the future and that this is just a start of an excellent working relationship. 

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