High school students have been pushed to the limits of their endurance by military instructors, to help improve their leadership skills.
Fourteen teenagers from the Uniformed Services course at the Duchess High School in Alnwick attended a special course held at RAF Boulmer, designed to develop confidence through a series of mentally and physically challenging exercises.
The three-day event was run by the RAF Boulmer Youth Activities team, who were keen to enhance the students’ leadership, teambuilding, problem solving and communication skills.
And from the start, they were expected to wear a military combat uniform and make use of the equipment and food that would last them for the duration of the course, including a training rifle, which they had to ensure was kept with them at all times.
They also had Senior Aircraftman Gemma Kendall to whip them into shape and they were soon left-right-lefting like professionals. After an introductory lesson in preparing field rations, they spent the first day being taught camouflage and concealment, emergency first aid and leadership skills theory, before bedding down in tents for the night - or at least part of it, as two students had to remain on duty at all times.
Day two began with a 5.50am wake-up call, followed by a run at 6.30am and a morning of leadership instruction. And if that was a tough start, it was nothing compared to the afternoon, where the students ran a two-mile circuit of the Operations Site, taking it in turns to carry a stretcher laden with a 70kg dummy from the half-way point.
The final day saw another early morning PT session followed by a kit inspection and on to the final exercise of the course, the Fall of Trust, which involved each student falling from height backwards into the arms of his or her team-mates.
Wing Commander Jamie Sharp, Acting Station Commander, presented the students with certificates and said: “Leadership, teambuilding, and communication are all important skills, not only for your future careers, but for life in general and I am sure that some of the advice you were given at RAF Boulmer will stand you in good stead in the future.”
Neil Brown, Uniformed Services tutor, said: “A three-day course such as this is invaluable training for the students.
“The organised programme was both challenging and educational and all of the students thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Sergeant Neil Parry, who organised the event, said: “The RAF staff were impressed by the enthusiasm and commitment of the students and what they had achieved. The Duchess Community High School already has a good reputation with RAF staff here, but this group has certainly increased that reputation.”