Cadets get taster of naval life

Sutton Valence School Combined Cadet Force (CCF) visited HMS Collingwood, Fareham, Hampshire, for a true maritime experience

Head of the naval section at the CCF unit, Lieutenant Dan Keep, accompanied 33 14- to 17-year-old cadets from the school near Maidstone to the Phase 2 Training Establishment where they experienced two days in the life of navy personnel.

Split into two groups, half went to the Royal Naval Leadership Academy (RNLA), where they were involved in practical leadership challenges on the low ropes section of the RNLA, designed to improve team building and communication amongst groups. The other half spent the day learning to sail with the Royal Naval Sailing Club at Whale Island, Portsmouth.

Newly-promoted Cadet Petty Officer Beth Webb said: “I really enjoyed the day. I didn’t know what to expect but it was fun. We really had to think about what we were doing and communicate well as a group to achieve the challenges. Today’s visit was useful for me; I want to pursue a career as a military psychologist and the activities run by the CCF have provided me with good routes into a career in the forces.”

Lt Keep said: “It was a good team building exercise. We hadn’t been to the RNLA before. Previously when we’ve visited we have seen the electronics section and had a tour of the weapons.

“The cadets are normally pretty good at communicating, but the challenges really got them talking. We’ve had a real high influx of girls in the junior years and have actually ended up with a whole female team who certainly gave the lads a run for their money.”

The CCF allows both girls and boys to develop self-discipline, responsibility, self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance, perseverance, a sense of service to the community and leadership. The visits allow for the continuous fostering and strengthening of the relationship between the Navy establishment and Sutton Valence School.

HMS Collingwood is the home of the Maritime Warfare School which contributes to the operational capability of the Fleet by providing first class training to all officers and ratings of the Royal Navy in their professional specialisations which include, Weapon Engineering, Communications, and Warfare.

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