UTC Reading students and alumni competed in the Royal Navy Junior Field Gun Challenge this July under the banner of ‘ALET (Activate Learning Education Trust) Warriors.
The week-long event involved students working together to assemble a field gun (small canon), transporting it across the track at speed, firing and then disassembling it.
The challenge is designed to inspire the scientists, engineers and technicians of the future. It helps them to build essential skills for the world of work, including team work, self-reliance, resilience and communication.
The week was a huge challenge for the team, but extremely rewarding and very enjoyable.
No. 1 Trainer, Kev, said: “I had the pleasure of being the No.1 Trainer for students from the respective UTC’s to form one crew under the banner and team name ‘ALET Warriors’ during the Junior Leaders Field Gun Competition.”
“The aims of Junior Leaders Field Gun is to develop Royal Navy core values and leadership in students from the various colleges and universities. The core values in the Royal Navy are known as C2DRIL (Courage, Commitment, Discipline, Respect, Integrity and Loyalty). All Field Gun trainers promote C2DRIL to the students throughout the week as it is also an essential component to lift, pull, push and drag a one tonne Field Gun and limber up and down a Field Gun Track”.
“I trained UTC Reading for the previous two seasons but this was the first time I had trained a combined Crew. Success in Field Gun is never achieved alone and it is essential that the entire Crew of 18 bond together as one at the earliest opportunity.”
“Taking into account the Crew were from two separate colleges, they bonded immediately and the manner they embraced the competition was fantastic. The attitude, work rate and commitment of every single student was absolutely first class from the moment they walked off the bus at HMS Collingwood on Monday morning to their last competition run together.”
“The teamwork and togetherness of the Crew was second to none. Some Military Field Gun Crews take weeks to bond, some never really do, very few bond the way ALET Warriors did within a week! It was a very proud moment for me when one of the senior Field Gunners at Collingwood informed me he could not believe they were not a Military Crew due to the focus, concentration and discipline during one of their training sessions on Day 2!”
“ALET Warriors made their mark and won a few hearts during Junior Leaders Field Gun week. Field Gun can be a brutal, cruel, unforgiving sport at times and the margins for lifting silverware are fine. They were very close to reaching the Grand Final this year and even closer to winning but silverware gets returned after a year. The memories, friendships and lessons learnt from this week will last a lifetime!”
“One last thank you from me is to the teachers. Janet, Ewan and Mark were brilliant; they ensured everything behind the scenes was sorted out, allowing myself and the rest of my trainers to focus on the main task of training Field Gunners.”
Former UTC Reading student, Hashavyah Osei-Bonsu, who has just completed his foundation Motorsports Engineering Degree at Oxford Brookes University, said:
“This is the third year I’ve taken part in the Junior League Field Gun Challenge and my second year of being Team Captain. The challenge has had a really big impact on me, firstly on my leadership skills, how to lead under pressure and how to motivate people to really believe in themselves. Secondly, it has helped me to realise my own ability and potential. You see in everyone who takes part in Field Gun that it is a significant event in their lives. I’m really keen to help UTC Reading to succeed in the challenge in the future and help the college to show the Royal Navy that we’re serious about winning!”
Thank you to the Royal Navy for giving our students the opportunity to take part in the competition, and to the fantastic trainers who gave our students an unforgettable experience.