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UTC Reading students take on national field gun competition

From 2-7 July, UTC Reading students’ skills were put to the test as they competed in the Royal Navy Junior Leaders Field Gun Competition.

The contest is designed for young people aged 16 to 24 with little or no previous field gun experience. They compete in teams to build and transport a field gun and its equipment up and down an 85-yard track in the shortest possible time, stopping to complete various actions along the way.

18 UTC Reading students spent the week in Portsmouth to take part in the challenge. Each day they were required to complete several hours of training, with their “Number 1 Trainer” Kevin Laing, helping them to determine the best way to work as a team. They stayed on board HMS Bristol throughout the week, which was brought to a close with an afternoon of competing against teams from other schools and colleges on the final day.

The core values of the Royal Navy are courage, commitment, discipline, respect, integrity and loyalty. At the end of each training day, students were asked by their Number 1 Trainer to give an example of one of the core values required on the Field Gun track so they understood the value of the challenge. Some of these examples included:

  • Commitment: Committing to stopping the Limber on the Line.
  • Courage: Lifting the trail of the Field Gun and standing your ground when the Limber is coming back towards you and hooking on.
  • Discipline: Waiting for the calls.
  • Integrity: Owning up if they have made a mistake and not letting another crew member take the blame.
  • Respect: Respecting other crews.
  • Loyalty: Loyalty to your crew and working hard for each other.

Kevin Laing, UTC Reading’s Number 1 Trainer, was delighted with the progress the students made: “In my position as No.1 Trainer for UTC Reading for the Junior Leaders Field Gun Competition, I would like to pass on my appreciation in the manner your staff and students embraced the competition last week. I could not have asked for a more determined and motivated team. Your UTC ethos, which I read on your website, encouraging students and staff to continuously strive for improvement, was reflected in the way they worked tirelessly perfecting their Field Gun Drill during the week.”

Janet Elgar, STEM Technician at UTC Reading, commented: “We were extremely proud of our students’ efforts and they clearly gained a lot from the experience. Their teamwork, perseverance, communication and leadership skills were greatly developed, in particular through the emphasis that was put on the Royal Navy’s core values throughout the week. A huge congratulations to the students for all their hard work – we could not have asked for a better team.”


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