Blackpool students sound off at military camp

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Students at a Blackpool college were given a glimpse of just some of the challenges faced by Army men and women at a three-day training camp.

Teenagers from Blackpool Sixth Form College headed to the Army’s Altcar Training Camp near Liverpool on March 23.

There they met Captain Mark Lydiate and members of the Duke of Lancashire 4th Batallion Reserve Regiment, who split students into ‘squadrons’ and assigned them each a chaperone soldier.

Students underwent vital training in basher building, cooking in the wild, medical evacuations, searching techniques and concealment training.

They were also given the chance to get hands-on with advanced Army technology, as
 they used night-vision equipment to stalk enemy movements and provide a detailed description of what they saw.On March 26, students put their new-found skills to the test as each squadron went up against each other for the coveted title of ‘Best Section’.

Students were graded on activities such as drill, leadership activities, and night exercise.

Blackpool Sixth Form student Sabrina Leahy, 17, from North Shore, said: “I found the Army trip enjoyable as well as tough. The things we learnt will help massively in my future public service career as we learnt new skills such as radio operations and first aid which would be helpful or even essential in public service life.”

Another student, Jacob Lettice, 17, said: “The Army trip to Altcar Training Camp was excellent, and was a real eye-opener as to what the Army gets up to and the vast amount of opportunities within the public services. I had great fun, even though it was very tiring.

“The whole experience was very real. The standard of discipline also proved to be very high.

“The trip has broadened my horizons, but has also improved a number of skills and qualities such as teamwork, something which is vital within the police force, the public service that I want to join.”

A Blackpool Sixth Form staff spokesman said: “This was an invigorating experience for our students as they got to experience life in the British Army first hand.

“The leadership shown from Captain Mark Lydiate and his team of soldiers enabled our students to participate in a mouthwatering experience while meeting essential assignment criteria.

“The opportunity to become an Army reservist is as exciting as it comes, and will benefit any individual who wants a career in any of the uniformed public services.

“To build skills such as discipline, leadership and commitment while being paid to volunteer will give our students the chance to prepare for a glittering and prosperous career.”