A group of youngsters from Devon schools went behind the scenes to be shown life in the Royal Navy.
The work experience week showed a wide range of career opportunities as a trainee officer at Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, or rating at HMS Raleigh and life on board a warship at Devonport Naval Base, how the Ministry of Defence Police dogs are trained and keeping fit as a sailor on shore or at sea.
The students were amazed at the variety of jobs and potential careers in the Navy. In HMS Drake in Plymouth they were put through their paces by the Navy’s physical training instructors in their own version of the Royal Navy fitness test and toured the Royal Navy diving unit. They also toured the museum submarine Courageous and amphibious command control ship HMS Bulwark.
At Britannia College they sailed on board a training boat to learn seamanship skills on the river and enjoyed learning how to captain a ship on the bridge of the virtual trainer. The Royal Marines in Devonport Naval Base showed off their weaponry, amphibious vehicles and engineering skills.
At HMS Raleigh, the Navy’s basic training school, they were tested on the assault course, boarded the moored training boat where board and search skills are learned, observed fire-fighting training and ship’s damage control drill and took part in some parade drill.
Holly Toms, 14, of Plymstock School, said: ”I came on this work experience programme because I was interested in being a warfare officer in the Navy. Now I’m interested in joining the Navy as a rating instead of an officer because of what I’ve seen and heard on the programme. I liked going to HMS Raleigh and seeing how the sailors used the weapons and the drill. My dad was in the Navy as a gunner and he’s been on many ships.
“I like the idea of joining the Navy because of the job security and going round the world which you wouldn’t get from working in a shop and the physical side of it.’’
William Bellamy, 16, of Ivybridge Sixth Form College, said: “I came on the work experience programme to see what a warfare officer does. I spoke to some very enthusiastic and well-motivated people and the visit has made me even more interested. There are lots of benefits and it appeals much more than a nine-to-five job.’’
Mattias Bodman, 17, of Kingsbridge College, said: “This was the perfect way to see the Navy at work. I’m still undecided about what job I want to do, but that’s only because there is so much choice of roles in the Navy. The highlights of this visit were a trip on a rigid inflatable boat and look round HMS Bulwark to see how the Navy live on a warship.’’
Cameron McCance, 14, of Devonport High School, Plymouth, said: “It was a really week seeing the Navy. The highlights for me were meeting the Royal Navy and now I’m thinking of joining the Navy. I’m interested the Navy police or perhaps the pilots.’’
Lynn Harris, Careers Co-ordinator at Eggbuckland Community College in Plymouth said: “This work experience placement provides students with a fabulous insight into the variety of careers and lifestyle available within the Royal Navy, as well as an understanding of the level of fitness required to pass the recruitment process. Students visit several of the RN training establishments to complete activities therefore improving their knowledge and core employability skills e.g. communication, team working, problem-solving.’’
The Royal Navy Work Experience Week is an enlightening, challenging, fun event supporting students to make informed choices about their futures.