On Monday 10th July 2023, a group of Year 10 pupils travelled from Risedale to Otterburn Training Camp in Northumberland for a four-day work experience with the Armed Forces. The Outreach Team based at Marne Barracks in Catterick delivered the course.
As soon as the pupils stepped off the minibus they were immediately treated as if they were new recruits in the Army and were expected to follow all instructions with military precision and due diligence. They marched to their classroom and received their first briefing, informing them about course expectations and conduct guidelines followed by a delicious lunch in the cookhouse.
The pupils received classroom-based lessons including learning the six-section battle drills and practical lessons in the field where they could put their newfound knowledge into action. They learnt how to create shelters using ponchos and took part in section attacks in some pretty gruelling weather conditions. They cooked meals for themselves using traditional Army ration packs, wore combat uniforms, including helmets with scrim and applied camo cream to their faces. They also received medical training, which taught them vital battlefield and everyday life skills.
The pupils had to work in sections, where they were mixed with another school as a team to overcome and adapt to the different scenarios and obstacles they were presented with. As a result of their team-building experience, the pupils developed many life skills likely to benefit them in the future regardless of whether they choose to pursue a military or civilian career.
Isabelle Young (10 Brierley) was not initially sure about a career in the military but reflected by saying,
"The course has been really good. It has taught me a lot about the medical side of the military. It was a great experience, everyone was very supportive and we all had a laugh too.”
The pupils also had the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session with recruits who attend the Army Foundation College in Harrogate. The session provided a real insight into life after school for those heading for a career in the Army.
Katie Hill (10 Higham) had already shown an interest in the forces and said,
"I think it was a really good experience. I liked how we were able to talk to the recruits from Harrogate because I was able to ask them lots of questions and I am now a lot more confident about what I want to do."
Lewis Littler (10 Southworth-Gedye) said,
"It was a really good course. I already knew I wanted to go to Harrogate, but being able to ask questions and find more information has made me want to do it even more."
Oliver Cooke (10 Higham) said,
“After taking part in the Army Work Experience programme I know now that I would definitely like to pursue a career in the Army.”
Risedale SEN Administrator Miss Hardstaff said,
“Despite the course being both mentally and physically challenging the pupils excelled and put their all into everything that was thrown at them.”
“The reality of being away from home and school was something that all our young people found challenging but they proved that they were more than capable of conducting themselves in a positive manner which they should be extremely proud of.”
“The feedback I have received from the instructors was outstanding! I am delighted that all the pupils enjoyed the course and I am hopeful that we will be able to work in partnership with the military again to support further opportunities like this in the future.”
Thank you once again to the Outreach Team in Catterick for delivering such a brilliant experience and huge congratulations to the pupils for successfully completing the course.
Army Work Experience 2023