Soldiers staging development days for high school students

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High school students are being put through their paces by a team of visiting soldiers this week as part of an innovative programme aimed at assisting personal development.

Members of the 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers) work with young people throughout the North West region to help improve communication, leadership, mechanical and teamwork skills.

The activities and training exercises are carefully structured to give participants an insight into the core values and standards required to serve in the Army.

The intention is to encourage skills and behaviours that will boost confidence and make young people more employable when they leave school.

Nine soldiers will be working in conjunction with members of the Isle of Man’s Youth Justice Team to deliver development days. The first one took place today (Monday) at Castle Rushen, and continue tomorrow at Queen Elizabeth II, Ramsey Grammar School on Wednesday, St Ninian’s on Thursday and Ballakermeen on Friday.

Captain Hendrik Steutel, who is leading the sessions, said: ‘These events are not about showing what the Army is like. We focus on helping young people to better themselves through their own hard work and effort. Hopefully participants will take away with them elements of our values and standards that will make them more employable and respected in the future.’

Members of the 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers), many of whom have served alongside regular soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, organise the personal development days as a way of supporting local communities. They will be working with up to 30 young people at each high school in the Isle of Man during the course of the week, guiding them through special command tasks, teamwork exercises and fitness assessments. Students will also have an opportunity to get to grips with one of the regiment’s highly-equipped Wolf Land Rovers, helping to diagnose a mechanical problem.

Juan Watterson MHK, Minister for Home Affairs and the Isle of Man’s Armed Forces Champion, has been involved in organising the visit. He said: ‘This is an example of the Armed Forces Community Covenant for the Isle of Man in action, clearly demonstrating what the Armed Forces can do for us, as well as what we can do for the Armed Forces. The visit will provide a fantastic opportunity for our young people.’

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