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RAF Personnel swap planes for planks in a visit to HMS Collingwood

22 May 2017
Personnel from RAF Swanwick recently enjoyed a morning of leadership training at the Royal Naval Leadership Academy (RNLA) based at HMS Collingwood.

This was the first visit by a team from the Air Traffic Centre and they began their morning with discussions about leadership followed by ice-breaker exercises using ropes and planks.

These, as well as being fun, also serve to improve communication and morale within teams. WO Scott Matthewson RN, who guided the group throughout their visit, explained the value of these activities.

“As well as identifying natural leaders within the group, it also highlights what those leaders need to consider with reference to their own team’s dynamics. RNLA offer these activities on a regular basis to various groups but this is the first time we’ve welcomed RAF Swanwick personnel here."

As well as identifying natural leaders within the group, it also highlights what those leaders need to consider with reference to their own team’s dynamics.

WO Scott Matthewson

The first activity involved passing each member of the team through a set of ropes without any part of their body touching them.

This is designed to build cooperation and trust as each member has to rely on their colleagues to support them as they are passed through the obstacle. After completing this successfully the group moved onto the plank challenge where they had to negotiate a course using just two planks and six short metal poles which would be confiscated by WO Matthewson if left unattended by any of the group.

This exercise challenges both balance and problem-solving skills.

SAC Trudy Gaston organised the visit and commented, “The low ropes at RNLA is such a brilliant facility for us to come and use because it gets us out as a group together and helps immensely with team-building.

"We are a 24 hour shift workplace so we don’t always work closely together or see each other much if we are on different shifts.

"This visit is not only about building trust between ourselves, but also strengthening the bond between RAF Swanwick and HMS Collingwood that we already work closely with.”

Speaking of WO Matthewson she went on “It’s great that he’s offered to take us through this and help us to develop as a team. It’s everything that the military’s about – team-building, leadership and making the work environment better.”

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