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Westcliff School combined Cadet Force learn the ropes at HMS Collingwood

25 July 2018
A group of students from one of the nation’s newest Combined Cadet Forces faced the challenges of HMS Collingwood’s Low Ropes Course recently.

Westcliff Combined Cadet Force has only been in existence for two months and was set up under the Cadet Expansion Programme, funded by LIBOR grants.

Cadets travelled from their school in Essex for a taste of naval life which began with a night spent on HMS Bristol, a Type 82 destroyer moored at Whale Island.

The following morning saw the 13-14 year-olds move to nearby HMS Collingwood where they were put through their paces on the Base’s Low Ropes Course.

Our Royal Navy section has only been up and running for around six months, but in this time, we have been astounded by the quality and variety of activities our Cadets have had access to.

Christina Bailey

These obstacles are designed to test not only the Cadets’ stamina and endurance but also their teamwork and problem-solving skills. Opportunities to challenge these can be lacking in today’s high-pressure educational environments where the emphasis is on constant success.

In contrast, the only way to successfully tackle the Low Ropes Course is for Cadets to work together and make mistakes so the whole team learns the best way to successfully complete the task.

It is also a safe and fun environment where students can learn the importance of employing universal health and safety principals to keep every member of their team safe and productive.

Cadet D. Cousins said of the visit, “I’m really enjoying it and I’m learning a lot of new skills.”

Cadet Adam Biggs agreed, saying, “It’s really enjoyable and I’m learning quite a lot of teamwork and leadership skills which have been conveyed in a very clear and concise way.”

Christina Bailey, who accompanied the group from the School said, “Our Royal Navy section has only been up and running for around six months, but in this time, we have been astounded by the quality and variety of activities our Cadets have had access to.

“Our self-made Summer Camp, including our visit to HMS Collingwood, was an incredible experience for myself and the Cadets.

“I would like to particularly thank our instructors on the day: Nikki Voller, WO1 Simon Cox and Bill Bilby who well and truly put the Cadets and their leadership skills to the test, both physically and mentally.

“They couldn't stop smiling and very much enjoy bragging about the fact they were able to complete a 'proper Navy obstacle course'! They have come away from the experience a more solid team and more confident Cadets.”

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