Year 8 students from Carterton Community College have joined our Level 1 Blue Skies Programme which launched at RAF Brize Norton on 9th November with an Inspiration Day. The day saw them being pushed to their limits taking part in dinghy drills, parachute jump training and lunch on board the A400M aircraft based with 70 Squadron.
The students have been selected by their school to take part in the first year of our Blue Skies programme and they rose to the challenge immediately. From the outset the students enjoyed learning more about the RAF base which is on their doorstep, taking part in ice breaker challenges to get to know each other and the squadron staff. This was followed by an excellent safety brief on the importance of teamwork in a crisis environment when a plane has pitched into the sea. Students asked some great questions and got to learn about the challenges faced by those who have to get into a survival dinghy.
Next it was time to practise the real thing. Dressed in an air suit and life vest, students took on the challenge of righting the dinghy and helping the whole team into the life raft, rescuing the ‘casualty’ ably played by Squadron Leader Patton and learning about the challenges on board such a raft.
An excellent lunch allowed students to explore the new A400M and find out more about its part in 70 squadron’s work at RAF Brize Norton. They heard about the importance of teamwork and communication when piloting such a large plane.
Finally, students were able to experience the sort of training that paras undertake. They learnt about listening, following instructions, safety as well as facing their fear of heights in a simulated parachute jump from the training platform.
This has been an excellent start to their Blue Skies journey which will teach them further about teamwork, communication and leadership skills. The RAF staff enjoyed working with this ‘great bunch of kids’. Squadron Leader Stu Patton said ‘It is wonderful to meet the young people of Carterton Community College and to see them working so well as a team.’
Flt Lt Leon Beamish said ‘It was amazing to see how quickly they started working together during the survival drills. They were clearly enjoying themselves and all getting involved.’
Mr Simon Hemsworth, teacher at Carterton Community College said, ‘The Jon Egging Trust is a great advocate for learning outside the classroom. The students have done the school, the Jon Egging Trust and themselves proud. Many thanks to RAF Brize Norton for all their efforts.’
Asked about their experience of the day, here is what some of the young people said:
‘The whole experience is brilliant.’ Josh
‘Today has really helped my confidence and I feel really proud of what I have achieved.’ Bradley
‘I thought I was going to say no to everything but I am glad I did it.’ Katie
Well done and thank you to our new Oxfordshire students and everyone who helped make the day such a success.