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The Army have been working with a local college as part of a new integrated youth engagement pilot scheme to help develop the employability and life skills of young people in education. The pilot scheme also aims to raise awareness and understanding of the Armed Forces within our communities and build upon those relationships.

Headquarters 11 Infantry Brigade (11X) in conjunction with 1st Battalion Scots Guards (1SG) based at Mons Barracks in Aldershot have delivered the engagement programme to Bracknell and Wokingham College (BWC) for the past 6 weeks. The programme has consisted of 5 modules covering a wide range of activities including shared values and standards, leadership and development skills all of which are designed to help the students develop their life skills, employment skills and ability to work effectively in teams.

Captain Jason Manassie, 1SG Training Officer, who has been tasked with co-ordinating the events said, “Everyone really seems to have enjoyed the programme. The aim was to bring people out of their shells and develop leadership skills, there has been such a progress from module one. The students are utilising what they have learned and it’s great to see. The programme has been significant for us as a unit because it allows us to integrate with the local community and people can go away with a better understanding of not only what the Scots Guards are about but also the wider Army.”

Sean Brownlee (18) studies Travel and Tourism Level 3 at BWC, he said, “I volunteered to take part in the programme, I wanted to gain more leadership skills because sometimes I lack confidence. I am part of the Army Cadets and have signed up to become an Army Instructor but feel I could improve my skills in order to help me fulfil these roles. Marie Dorosan (18) added, “I came to improve my leadership skills as well, because it’s something I feel I really lack. I feel I have made progression, if there is one thing I can take away which the military guys have taught me it’s about ‘progression not perfection’. The skills I possess as a leader are good and they work, it’s just everyone leads in different ways.”

14 students from Bracknell and Wokingham College volunteered to take part and all of them completed the programme. Alongside developing the key skills already mentioned they have also been given the opportunity to learn additional skills such as interview techniques and planning, which would be beneficial in situations in everyday life. They also all conducted a Belbin test which has helped them all identify ‘what type of person’ they are. Jon Samson, Head of Student Services at BWC said, “Over the last couple of weeks I’ve seen these students all grow. Initially they all struggled to talk about themselves, they didn’t realise they had these soft skills to offer until now.

Principle and Chief Executive of BWC, Commodore (Ret’d) Campbell Christie said, “All of my full time students are on study programmes and the government expects me to deliver not just their main chosen subject but employability skills such as communication, teamwork and self discipline. These skills are essential to military training and this is something 11X and 1SG have really helped me to deliver. The programme has been superb. This is something I really hope works and if this pilot scheme takes off it is something we really want to be a part of.” Jon Samson added, “This programme has been exactly what the students needed.”

The pilot programme concluded with a presentation of certificates to all of the students for their hard work and dedication to competition. The certificates were presented by Commanding Officer 1SG Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Kitching MBE.

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