High school students will be put through their paces by a team of visiting soldiers next 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 at Castle Rushen (Monday), Queen Elizabeth II (Tuesday), Ramsey Grammar School (Wednesday), St Ninian’s (Thursday) and Ballakermeen (Friday).
Captain Hendrik Steutel, who will lead 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 next 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 instrumental in organising the visit by the 103rd Regiment Royal Artillery (Volunteers). The plans were set in motion following a conversation with the Regiment shortly after the signing of an Armed Forces Community Covenant for the Isle of Man.
The Minister said: ‘This is another example of the Covenant 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 to take part in a personal development programme with a difference. I hope it will really capture their imagination and help them to improve a wide range of important life skills.’
He added: ‘The soldiers from the regiment are positive role models and their visit will build on the excellent work undertaken by our Youth Justice Team. I’m sure the development days will bring out the best in our young people and help to prepare them for future opportunities.’