COLLEGE pupils in Portsmouth enjoyed a school trip with a difference when their teachers surprised them with a tour of the Royal Navy’s future flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth.
The £3.1m behemoth calls Portsmouth Naval Base home and was recently the stomping ground for a trip enjoyed by Year 10 pupils from UTC Portsmouth.
Opened by astronaut Major Tim Peake in December 2017, the college encourages stem subjects – those in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – and has links with a number of defence giants, including the Royal Navy.
The trip was made possible by UTC Portsmouth’s Royal Navy liaison officer in a bid to give the pupils a better understanding of the engineering roles available to them if they seek a career in the force.
Warrant Officer Stuart Clayton said: ‘I had to keep the visit a surprise from the students as I wasn’t at all sure that it would come off, owing to the ship’s programme and with all of the D-Day 75 commemoration activities taking place.
‘The students had completed practical engineering tasks at HMS Sultan and HMS Collingwood earlier in the week and visiting the ship allowed them to see all of that engineering first hand.’
The pupils took to the ship less than a month after it returned to Portsmouth, having sailed up to Rosyth, Scotland, for maintenance.
There, it was a stone’s throw from HMS Prince of Wales – the second of the Royal Navy’s new Elizabeth-Class aircraft carriers – which is currently under construction.
Teacher Amanda Marshall, who accompanied the pupils on to the ship as part of a week of engineering-based activities, said: ‘The visit to HMS Queen Elizabeth was definitely the highlight of the week.
‘The scale of the engineering task to build and run the ship is enormous and it just highlights to our students what can be achieved with hard work and determination.
‘All of my colleagues are very envious that they didn’t get the opportunity to come along!’
HMS Queen Elizabeth is expected to complete her second phase of F-35B jet trials later this year, following her ‘Westlant’ deployment to the USA in 2018.
The journey saw her stop close to New York city and marked a catalogue of milestones in measuring the new jets’ capabilities.