Portsmouth students get a taste of life in the navy

CPO Brian Bell (centre) talking through one of the practical problems
CPO Brian Bell (centre) talking through one of the practical problems
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STUDENTS in Portsmouth are seeing the reality of life at sea, thanks to a new initiative by the Royal Navy.

With the introduction of the Royal Navy Ratings Compass Challenge, students have been given the opportunity to engage with real life simulations, asking them to use teamwork and problem solving to organise a given scenario.

The workshops are taking place at HMS King Alfred, engaging with 40 local students.

The workshops are a joint venture between Captain Naval Recruiting and Commander Regional Forces, and culminates in an overnight stay onboard HMS Bristol in Portsmouth Harbour.

Sam Draper of Information Trust, who have partnered with the scheme, said: ‘The students are given the problem, saving 400 migrants on a boat, and they have to choose which ratings and which 20 pieces of naval equipment they need for the job.

‘It comes down to making choices, justifying decisions and solving problems. We throw curveballs and see how they react.’

Chief Petty Officer Graeme McCall is part of the Royal Navy’s diversity action team, and showed the students some survival skills that migrants would need if they end up in the sea.

He said: ‘This is a good way of explaining just how dangerous conditions can become at times.

‘It is fun dressing up, kitting-out in all the equipment and they don’t necessarily see the severity of the situation, but they experience working together as a team and doing something which is taking them completely out of their comfort zone.’

Siobhan Kelly, also from Information Trust, added: ‘If you had asked the students what the Royal Navy is beforehand, they would probably have said it was all about big boats, the sea and fighting wars.

‘Hopefully they now understand more about the roles and jobs available, as well as the real world problems the Royal Navy gets involved with.’

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