Young members of a new Royal Navy Combined Cadet Force told of their excitement as the unit was officially launched (Tuesday, 10th May) at a Plymouth College.
The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) Royal Navy Section, part of the Government’s Cadet Expansion Programme, was officially opened at Plymouth University Technical College (UTC) with a parade, Royal Marines Band Plymouth and a unit flag-hoisting before an audience of civic and military VIPs, students, staff and parents.
Commodore Robert Fancy, Commodore Naval Training, based in Devonport Naval Base, inspected the newly-trained cadets at a ceremony hosted by Polly Lovell, Principal of the College. He said: “It is a huge privilege to open a brand new Royal Navy Cadet Force and especially so in Plymouth with the close ties with the Royal Navy.
“The cadet force will enrich the cadets’ experience of education at UTC Plymouth. UTC will deliver an excellent education in science and engineering and the CCF will add to this, giving them challenges such as leadership and team-building underpinned by the Royal Navy’s core values of commitment, courage, discipline, respect for others, integrity and loyalty.
“They will also get a chance to take part in many activities not normally available to other youngsters, such as kayaking and sailing.’’
He added that if the cadets wanted to join the Royal Navy then they would be warmly welcomed, especially those with an engineering career in mind.
Petty Officer Cadet Nicola Perry, 17, transferred from another sea cadet unit. She said: “Today was a really special event.’’
Cadet Annabell Mears, 16, wants to be a Royal Navy engineer. She said: “I’m a brand new cadet with no experience and so far we’ve done some seamanship skills and trained a lot for this parade. Luckily the drill was the best we’ve ever done.’’
Cadet Siobhan Mackie said: ‘’It was really nerve-wracking in front of everyone today, but an amazing experience. I’d like to join the Navy. I want to apply my experiences with the cadets to my learning and get a taste of life in the Navy.’’
The RN Cadet Section will further cement links with the wider Royal Navy. Plymouth UTC, which opened in September 2013, is one of six university technical colleges already affiliated to the Royal Navy.
Flag Officer Sea Training Rear Admiral John Clink (based at Devonport Naval Base) said: “The intention for Royal Navy involvement in UTC sponsorship is to support the development of young engineers in the UK. There are significant areas of the UK engineering industry that help to supply and support the engineering that makes the Royal Navy a strong global force.”
The Royal Navy is committed to the enduring success of the UTC concept by providing access to world class facilities and technical expertise to enrich the development of UTC students to generate the technicians and graduates of tomorrow.
The college’s fledgling combined cadet force already has 30 cadets with Lieutenant Kerry Eldershaw Royal Navy Reserves their new officer commanding. She is due to carry out the necessary training at Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.
The principal aim of the CCFs is to develop leadership skills among young people, and to give them a wider understanding of the Naval Service. Plymouth UTC has already run some CCF RN taster days for the students and leadership training for the cadets.