Blue Skies Inspiration Day at RAF Valley

Blue Skies Inspiration Day at RAF Valley

On 14 October 2015, 14 Level 1 students from Ysgol Uwchradd Caergybi (Holyhead High School) attended an Inspiration Day hosted by Station personnel based at Royal Air Force Valley, Anglesey.

The aim of the session was to introduce the students to the Station and some of the personalities they would be working with over the 4 month Blue Skies programme. This is really important with pupils of this age (12- 13), as anything unfamiliar can seem quite daunting.

By being invited onto the Station the students got to know each other and started to develop an understanding of teamwork and it’s importance in so many aspects of life.

The day started with the students being met by Flt Lt Giles Croft. We went straight to the Moran building, which is where IV(R) Sqn operate from. The Station Commander, Group Captain Pete Cracroft was the first Inspirational speaker. He explained what his role was on the station and the importance of teamwork. The students seemed quite surprised when he informed them of how many different sections there are on the station and the amount of personnel, both military and civilian under his command and control. Questions were asked of the Station Commander and a few laughs were even managed.

SSgt Mark Beckett was next along with the RAF Police Sgt. They both explained their roles and again how teamwork is vital to the running of the station. Communication was included in this session. By now you could see the “penny drop” regarding the importance of team work to be successful.

The first visit was to the fire section. The students were given a short talk about the role of the fire fighters and teamwork and communication. The fun and interesting part of this visit was the chance for a few of the students to extinguish real fires (in a controlled environment) whilst using different types of fire extinguishers. A lot of fun was had and a look around and climb aboard a fire engine was another highlight of the visit. The Fire fighters who took the session were extremely helpful and had a real laugh with the students.

The next visit was to the Air Traffic Control Tower. Here the students were given an insight into the importance of communication in a real situation. As aircraft were taking off and landing, they listened to the controllers communicating with the pilots and even managed to observe a Tornado aircraft landing. Not only was verbal communication demonstrated but also non verbal. This was done in the form of RADAR and this complicated system was explained to the students, with plenty of questions being asked and answered.
After lunch the students completed a “round robin” of visiting the survival equipment store, where they got to try on various items of clothing and equipment that the pilots use, a privileged experience of flying in a couple of the flight simulators and a visit to climb in one of the HAWK T2 jets that the pilots fly at RAF Valley. A huge amount of enjoyment was had during these activities and a lot of learning also took place.

The days visit finished off with a short talk from the Station Warrant Officer and then a recap on the day’s activities before the drive back to school.