Students experience Blue Skies in a Chinook helicopter

Students experience Blue Skies in a Chinook helicopter

Students from Robert Mays School in Odiham, Hampshire, had the flight of a lifetime on 5 February 2020. The 15 students, aged 13 and 14, took off in an in a RAF Chinook helicopter from RAF Odiham and had the exciting experience of flying 800 feet over the base. They also watched a safety briefing, helped guide and tow a Chinook out on to the flight line, and met the wide range of people who prepare the 30 metre long Chinooks for flight.

The day was part of a Blue Skies session – a JET programme which helps young people to improve their teamwork and leadership skills. The participating students were extremely impressed by what they saw:

“Today I have met a lot of inspiring people and they have shown me what a leader is and what it means to lead others” Blue Skies session student

Flight Lieutenant Thomas Campbell who helped look after the group on base said:

“I strongly believe that all young people have a huge amount of potential but some don’t realise the opportunities that are out there, and I would like to help those to see what can be achieved.”

Lee Mason Assistant Headteacher of Robert Mays School added:

“The Jon Egging Trust is absolutely fantastic in terms of helping our students. To see them today having to talk about leadership and teamwork and having to get involved in some tasks is really important when taking it into school to apply to their learning. It will also help them become sociable people who can go out into our community and give back. I will never forget the opportunity of going up in the Chinook and I want to thank everybody who made it possible for our students to experience that and have a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Our Blue Skies programme focuses on working with young people who face various problems such as being in care, being a carer or having suffered a traumatic experience. The sessions help to give participants the aspirations and confidence they need to follow their chosen path. 487 young people graduated from our Blue Skies programmes in the last academic year across the country.

We also run a slightly different youth development programme, called Inspirational Outreach. This aims to reach more young people by offering support packages to schools based on their needs. Sessions include talks, assemblies, lessons and visits that connect young people to inspirational mentors such as the Red Arrows, the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, injured service personnel and veterans, as well as individuals connected to STEM. More than 9,600 young people participated in our Inspirational Outreach sessions during the last academic year.

Image Credit: SAC Charlotte Hopkins (RAF)