‘Skillforce draws on our experiences and helps teenagers’

USING EXPERIENCE Natasha Berry  is a Skillforce instructor
USING EXPERIENCE Natasha Berry is a Skillforce instructor
Devida Bushrod (front) with (l-r) Maddy Bushrod (13),  Devida's husband Jason, Mark Loudon (nine), mum Sarah Loudon, Ruth Loudon (10), and Angela Kerfoot. Picture Ian Hargreaves  (171556-1)

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I JOINED the Royal Navy in 2002 aged 18 and served for 10 years, before leaving in April 2012.

I served on HMS Ark Royal, HMS Illustrious, HMS Southampton and HMS Dauntless as well as working for the Maritime Battle staff.

When I left, I joined Skillforce, taking part in their military to mentors programme, a 10-week course.

The course also covered a work placement, which I did at Priory School in Portsmouth.

On completion of the course, I became a Skillforce instructor for the Solent area.

I wanted to give something back, to help students who are similar to what I was like. And to pass on key life skills that I learnt in the Royal Navy like leadership, communication, teamwork and problem-solving – inspiring and motivating them to believe in themselves and helping them get to the next stages in life.

Skillforce engages young people by drawing on our on experience of the forces. We develop the young person’s skills and prepare them – either for education, work or training.

We use activity-based learning to get results and help develop the young person’s character, their confidence and self-awareness.

At the end, the young people are more employable, have greater awareness of their own skills, and are ready to take the next step in their lives.

SkillForce lessons happen in school time and on school premises and the course works alongside normal lessons.

We use recognised qualifications and awards to deliver a positive outcome for the student.