On Wednesday 26 March Swindon Academy Students spread their wings at RAF Brize Norton as part of a programme by educational charity, SkillForce.
SkillForce is a charity that works in schools, drawing on the skills of predominantly ex-forces personnel, to inspire young people to succeed. Taking 11 students and two members of staff from Swindon Academy, the group were treated to an action packed educational visit at 24 Squadron RAF Brize Norton. This is the Operational Conversion Unit for the current Hercules C130J and the forthcoming A400M.
The students were treated to a briefing by Flight Sergeant Ozzy Hicks before they were given access to the flight simulator, where each student was given the opportunity to undertake a simulated flight. The students enjoyed this experience thoroughly. Following the simulator, the students were taken to a training Hercules. This allowed the students to experience what HM Force personnel experience on a daily basis, including emergency drills, which tested the students’ ability to react under pressure.
SkillForce Instructor Will Mortimer said: ‘’ The students were given an understanding of what real Forces experience on a daily basis, including emergency drills, which tested the students ability to react under pressure and work as a team. Learning by doing is core to what our charity is about. I am hugely grateful to Flight Sergeant Ozzy hicks of 24 Squadron for his time and bringing learning to life. Our students know the armed forces are a big part of the community in Wiltshire. It was key that they saw how hard they work and the skills they have. ‘’
The trip culminated in a visit to the Air Traffic Control Tower, where students were given a guided tour of the Ops room and the Command Tower itself. One of the groups watched a Sea King Helicopter come into land on the runway.
Helen Rebello, one of the teaching staff who accompanied the students on the trip said ‘’ The visit to Brize Norton present a fabulous opportunity for the students lucky enough to go. Flying the simulator and seeing the Air Traffic Control at work demonstrated engineering and technology action, while the emergency drills proved to several pupils that they could cope with a pressurised situation and overcome their fears.’’
The SkillForce approach when working with young people is to engage, prepare and develop young people for their future. Using activity based learning in the classroom and beyond, SkillForce instructors’s inspire young people and raises levels of achievement and confidence.