On 15 January 2020, the Royal Navy Engagement Team visited a group of 30 Public Services students at the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London’s Tottenham Centre, to deliver workshops designed to improve students' soft skills. Soft skills are usually defined as the attributes that people need to be able to work in a team and get on with others, and include things like communication skills, teamworking and leadership.

This visit was arranged in collaboration with the Royal Navy to allow Public Service students to practice specific unit content relating to Teamwork, Leadership, Self-Discipline, Command and Control. The aim of the event was to develop collaboration and teamwork between students – essential skills for the modern workplace.

Split into three groups, the students completed four tasks revolving around building, shooting, cooking and teamwork.

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The groups were tasked with building a two metre tall ‘satellite’ from the building blocks provided. This structure then needed to be adapted to withstand the ‘wind test’ by Lt Commander Sim Low, one of the attendees from the Royal Navy Engagement Team.

Students then moved on to a shooting range simulator, where their hand-eye coordination skills were put to the test on the laser similator before going head-to-head in a number of challenges.

Teams also got a chance to try some of the foods in a standard ration pack that the Royal Navy uses in their operations. The final challenge saw students work together to manoeuvre from one side of a spider web structure to the other without touching the web.

Level 3 Public Services student, T, said, “The building task was the hardest because the pieces were hard to put together and we had to change it when the ‘wind’ was added to test the strength of the structure.

“I learned a lot during the cooking task. We found out all about the ration packs that are used in the Navy. It was cool seeing things you can’t get in a normal shop. 

“The final team building exercise was the Spider challenge. This was where, as a team, you had to move from one side to the other of a spider web-like structure without touching the rope. It was difficult, but we worked together and we completed it. It was fun working as a team.”

Lt Commander Sim Low said, “It is important for students to be exposed to days like this and learn new skills.

“The Navy engagement project goes to schools, colleges and youth centres up and down the country. We deliver these soft skills workshops to encourage teamwork and communication among young people in England.

“We also raise awareness for the jobs the Royal Navy do worldwide, including providing aid to third world countries and protecting ships against piracy. People's perception of the armed forces can sometimes be negative, but we want to help show the high level of teamwork and communication skills that we need, to carry out the good work we do around the world.

“During these events we are happy to share our experiences and help educate people about the role. It isn’t our main goal, but we are always happy to help those who want to, to find out more about joining the Royal Navy.”

Curriculum Manager for Sport, Public Services and Key Stage 4, Brendan Berry, said, “It was a highly productive day that enabled our Public Services students to engage with the Royal Navy SET Team. The broad range of activities provided by the Navy gave the students the opportunity to display the skills they have gained during their time with us over the past two years. The day's activities enabled students to consolidate things they are learning on their course, including Teamwork, Leadership, Self-Discipline, Command and Control.

“I cannot thank the Royal Navy enough for working with our students and creating an engaging day that brought practical enrichment and a greater understanding of the role and purpose of the Royal Navy. The team upheld the ethos and finest traditions of service from the Royal Navy, and we look forward to them returning this spring to work with our Sports Students at our Enfield Centre.”

Studying Public Services at CONEL offers more than just a qualification. As well as days like this one, students are exposed to events like Pan London, where this year almost 70 CONEL students on our Public Services and Media courses played a key role in the successful running and planning of the event.

Opportunities like these helped CONEL gain a 94.6% student satisfaction rating and enabled 86.8% of our Public Services students to pass their exams.

Completing a Public services course at CONEL College could lead you to professions such as:

-Police Officer: Annual Pay £41,600

-Police Community Support Officer: Annual Pay £26,520

-Probation Services Officer: Annual Pay £29,120

-Ambulance Paramedic: Annual Pay £41,080

-Army Soldier: Annual Pay £18,125

-Army Officer: Non-graduate cadets: Annual Pay £26,000

-Merchant Navy Deck Officer: Annual Pay £26,000

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The Public Services workforce is very large. According to the Office for National Statistics, some 5.42 million people are employed in the UK's public sector - accounting for 16.5% of all those in paid work (June 2019). There are a wide range of career paths available, including in healthcare and the NHS; law enforcement and security (in the Armed Forces, fire service or the police); social care (for example, as a social worker) or in teaching.

If you want to kick-start your career in Public Services, your journey starts here: https://www.conel.ac.uk/courses/public-services.html

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