Monthly Archives: July 2016

Lord Lieutenant of Kent’s Inter-Schools Challenge

This year’s Lord Lieutenant’s Inter-Schools Challenge has been won by a team from Rainham Mark Grammar, which defeated teams representing seven other schools from throughout Medway on Tuesday, 12th July in a gruelling day of challenging activities designed to develop team spirit, test courage and stamina, build communication and teamwork skills.


Lead organiser Challenger Troop CIC, along with the Royal School of Military Engineers (1 RSME Regiment), facilitated a range of command and communication-based activities for 10 teams of 10 KS4 students from the eight participating schools at the event, the fourth of its kind, which took place at Brompton Barracks, Gillingham ME7 5DQ.  Each team had 10 challenges to complete in a set time and were scored on the result. Assessment was based on overall team performance; effort, participation, team-member engagement, leadership, communication, teamwork and completion of the task in the time allocated were all taken into consideration.

Dr Bhargawa Vasudaven, representing Lord Lieutenant of Kent, Viscount De L’Isle, presented a trophy to the winning team from the Rainham Mark Grammar School. Mayor of Medway, Cllr Stuart Tranter presented awards for the runner-up, Team One from Gravesend Grammar School. In addition, a ceremonial plaque was presented by 1 RSME to Team Two from the Howard School for completing their Tower of Hanoi Challenge in the fastest time and awards for the Most Outstanding Individual Team-Member’s Contribution to the Team and Task were presented by The High Sheriff of Kent, Mrs Kathrin Smallwood.

Jo Blackwell, Director of Operations for Challenger Troop, said “This event is very much in the spirit of the Armed Forces Community Covenant, where local communities come together to support the Armed Forces community and encourage activities which help to integrate this into local life. As a provider of uniformed youth leadership and engagement programmes, we see on a daily basis how the values and standards of the Armed Forces can help and support disengaged young people in our community. Today we have seen some outstanding examples of leadership, camaraderie and teamwork.”

The event will take place next year around the second week in July and anyone who would like to support the event or would like more information should contact

QinetiQ signs Armed Forces Covenant at Farnborough International Airshow

QinetiQ has pledged its continued support to UK servicemen and women by signing the Armed Forces Corporate Covenant at Farnborough International Airshow 2016.

Chief Executive Officer Steve Wadey met with Defence Minister Philip Dunne on Thursday, 14 July to sign the Covenant, which ensures fairness and equal opportunity for Service and ex-Service personnel, Reservists and their families.


Originally signed by QinetiQ in August 2013, the Covenant has been updated to clarify the company’s commitments to its reservists, including improved line manager training and enhanced leave benefits. QinetiQ grants its employees 15 days a year in which to carry out duties as reservists in the Armed Forces.

Steve Wadey, QinetiQ CEO, said: “It is vital to recognise the role of our reservists, who go the extra mile in serving our country. They make a valuable contribution to our company by helping us to understand our customer, and to the Armed Forces through their innovation and commercial expertise. I have signed the Covenant because I strongly believe it is important for companies to support and encourage those who wish to go above and beyond in the name of public service.”

Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Defence Procurement, said: “I am delighted that QinetiQ – which already employs reservists and veterans – has signed the Corporate Covenant. I hope it encourages more defence suppliers to come forward and join over 1,000 private and public sector employers to have signed the pledge. Our personnel and their families play an invaluable role in our society and it is only right they get the recognition and support they deserve.”

Allison Lambert is Aviation Manager for QinetiQ’s Weapons business, and a Navy reservist specialising in air traffic control. She said: “After serving in the Royal Navy for almost 30 years, I didn’t want to cut my ties when starting a new career. Becoming a reservist has allowed me to maintain my military contacts and give something back to the Navy for its investment in my training. The great advantage for me is the mutual exchange of information that comes from being part of both industry and military. We have a common understanding that makes it easier to get the job done.”

Thomas Harvey is an Aircrew Systems Integration Engineer at QinetiQ and a reservist with the Royal Air Force (RAF). He said: “My service with the RAF allows me to see my work from the customer’s point of view. When I evaluate technology at QinetiQ, I have a first-hand understanding of how it needs to work in the field. When I’m with the RAF, my technical knowledge of a new system can help the user to adopt it. The benefit is a two-way street and it motivates me to do the best job I can.”

In 2014, The Ministry of Defence presented QinetiQ with a silver award in the Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. The MOD highlighted QinetiQ’s HR policy that supports reservists, its participation in Armed Forces Day, and its support of cadet units and spousal employment.

Donnington Bridge Cadets show off their skills

Sea Cadets and Army Cadets from Donnington Bridge in Oxford were keen to show the local community that they know how to spend their time during the summer hols.

Organised by Quebec Company of the Oxfordshire Army Cadet Force the evening consisted of both Sea Cadets and Army Cadets putting on displays and showing off their expertise in weapon handling, First Aid and survival in the field which included navigation and cooking.

The event was organised and planned by the Cadets themselves, which also demonstrated that the youngsters can organise and put on a great show!


Sea Cadets Chloe Harvey and Megan Boorman from Kidlington in Oxford – both girls go to Gosford Hill School. Chloe has only been in the Sea Cadets for a year and her friend Megan for two. Chloe has just qualified for the Southern Area Rowing competition. She said, “This weekend we are taking part in the Paddle Sports event which is over a 2K course – if we win we will go on to the nationals.” Megan said, “Being a Cadet offers so many different experiences that we wouldn’t get elsewhere.”


Demonstrating the Field Craft were Army Cadets from Oxfordshire Army Cadet Force based at Donnington Bridge.

L-R Cadet Travis Arnold from Cowley, Lance Corporal Tony Karaphannit from Headington, Lance Corporal Laoti Limbu (stood up) from Rose Hill, and Lance Corporal Aleaha Stuart also from Headington.


Testing out the field rations and learning to cook in the field. Travis Arnold who has been in the Cadets for a year and goes to North Field School in Oxford, and Lance Corporal Jacob Legg from Headington who goes to Cheney School.


Oscars for Cadets who are very good actors too!

Acting and simulating injuries and casualties can be very realistic, and help to bring reality to learning vital First Aid skills. Lewis Sherman 13 who had a broken arm, Callum Francis who had bad burns to his face, and Nick Watson who had glass embedded into his arm. Nick and Callum are new recruits to the Cadets and Callum who has only been in for 4 weeks said, “I have only just joined and it is great I love it.”


First Aid is a vital skill to learn, and the Army Cadet Force is committed to instructing Cadets in saving lives and treating serious injuries. Lance Corporal Laoti Limbu demonstrates how to give first aid to Nick Watson who has glass embedded into his arm.


The Lord Mayor of Oxford Councillor Mohammed Altaf-Khan visited the Cadets at Donnington Bridge during their open evening.

Showing the Mayor around the Stands were, Corporal Megan Norwood from Abingdon who has been in the cadets for 4 years. Megan is waiting on her exam results and hopes to go to Oxford Brooks to study Forensic Science in September and Bugler and Musician, Sergeant Instructor, member of the Corunna Band and Bugles, Michael Hankins.


Sergeant Major, Warrant Officer Class 2 Clare Sands, who works for West Oxfordshire District Council is Captain of the Clay Pigeon Shooting Team. She showed off her team’s winning trophies during the opening evening.

The Oxford Cadet Clay Shot Gun Team have just won the 2016 Tri Cadet Services National Championships. Two teams of 4 from the Oxfordshire Army Cadet Force took part in the Championships in June which was held at the Cambridge Gun Club.

Clare who is an Adult Instructor said, “I have been Captain of the team for the last 3 years, we have competed for 8, so I am very proud of our achievement, all our training has paid off, we beat them all!”

Shooting Stars – Congratulations

This weekend has seen 2 shooting Teams from Hants and Isle of Wight ACF competing at a National level against ACF, AAC, CCF, ATC and Canadian teams at ISCRM (Inter Services Cadet Range ‘Meeting) Bisley, the best of approx.48,000 Cadets.


A Team: CSM Bridgeman, Sgt McCulloch, Cpl Winter and Cadet Flanagan – Coach – Major Geernaert-Davies

B Team: Cpl Reynolds, Cpl Weatherhead T, Cpl Jewell and L.Cpl Killner – Coach 2Lt Ford-Hunt

Butts Parties: Cadet Weatherhead K and Cpl Ward

From Friday through to Sunday they gave their best, shooting 8 different competitions over 300yds, 500yds & 600yds ranges, in some very bad weather at points.

This is the first year that 5 members of the Hants & IoW Individual scores were within the top 100, all were presented with their NRA cadet 100 badges at the end of the final matches.

CSM Bridgeman, Sgt McCulloch, Cpl Winter, Cpl Reynolds & Cadet Flanagan.

During the main Award Ceremony the A Team received:

  • 3rd place, Babcock Trophy, 5 CCRS Bronze Medals, Long Range Aggregate Team scores achieved in the Individual 600yds, The Patriot Shield 500yds and the Frankfort Shield 500yds, one for each Firer and Coach, Major Geernaert-Davies.

Cpl Winter also achieved the following medals and cups:-

  • 1st place Cadet of the top 100, received the Lady Gwendolin Guinness Challenge Cup and NRA Gold Medal
  • 1st place from highest scores Cadet 100, received: Rifle Brigade Challenge Cup and Gold Medal.
  • 1st place, Bosom Trophy, Top ACF Cadet Grand Aggregate, received the Wilson Cup and Gold Medal
  • 2nd place, aggregate of Individual, Patriot, Frankfort and Watts Bowl, NRA Silver Medal
  • Athelings tie
  • Inter Cadet Force Final, Gold Medal and Challenge Cup, part of the team of 8 representing ACF
  • Inter Cadet Force Final, Gold Medal and Earl of Derby Cup,  part of the team of 8 representing ACF


Well done everyone, you have worked hard to get to where you are.

A MASSIVE thank you must go to our 2 Butts parties, without their commitment to support us we could not have entered these competitions, again Thank You.

The story doesn’t end here, Cadet Flanagan is off on the CLIM course in Canada for 6 weeks advancing his shooting and coaching skills. CSM Bridgeman and Cpl Reynolds along with Sgt McCulloch and Cpl Winter are on the cadet Imperial later this week, with Cpl Winter joining the Athelings team in Canada in a couple of weeks time.

All have been successfully nominated to attend these courses from the hard work they have put in to represent themselves and be ambassadors for Hants and IoW ACF.


Congratulations all, well done and good luck.


Ace Shot Sam Franklin (Surrey) shoots in Canada

Corporal Sam Franklin (16) from Addlestone, Surrey joined the Army Cadets three years ago. He has had a fantastic opportunity to and train with the renowned 2nd Northern Ireland Battalion of the Army Cadet Force (ACF) in a target rifle training course before attending a target rifle completion held at Bisley, England.


He will be spending four days on a rifle range at Bunswick Camp learning how to improve his marksmanship skills with expert advice on hand, on a one to one basis.

The coaching course is a build up to a two day competition where over 620 hundred cadets compete from all over the UK.  This event is by far the biggest in the cadet calendar.

The competition is held each year for Army Cadets, Air Training Corps, the Sea Cadets and the Combined Cadet Force and is known as the Inter-Services Cadet Rifle Meeting.

The Two day competition will be held at Bisley, England.  Bisley is to shooting what Wembley is to football.  Shooters travel from all over the world to compete on the hallowed ranges.  Bisley was opened in 1888 by Queen Victoria who fired the opening shot.

Sam is the only cadet to be selected from Surrey to travel to Canada for 6 weeks. There he will join other cadets from all over the UK to take part in the Cadet Leadership and Marksmanship Course (CLIM). The course is held in Connaught near Ottawa for cadets under 16 and half years old.

While in Canada he will receive further coaching and compete in more competitions, and he will also go on adventurous activities including canoeing.

Sam said “I feel very special to be good enough to make it here and I hope with the coaching I have received will do my family and my Detachment at Addlestone proud.  I’ve made lots of new friends from across the Irish Sea, some of them will see again in Canada too.  Without the cadets I would never have had such opportunities as I have had”. Sam also said “the Canadians have different rifles to us and I am looking forward to trying theirs out too.”

Alastair Allison MSc, CISM, SIRM, Chief Risk Officer from Zurich Insurance Plc (UKGI) talks about his career in the military and skills that can transfer into risk


  • Former Chair of the Institute of Risk Management’s Cyber Special Interest Group
  • Project manager and co-author of the IRM publication Cyber risk for risk practitioners
  • Guest lecturer at University of Portsmouth on the IRM Risk Culture publication.

I left the Royal Air Force in 2002 after 16 years’ service in the fighter control specialisation – air defence of the UK specialising in electronic warfare. Despite struggling to find what I wanted to do, I got a job working for Amey Vectra as a risk consultant for a short while before taking a post as enterprise risk manager for Paradigm Secure Communications on the £3.2bn satellite communication programme for the UK Military; the SKYNET 5 project, which was a real success for me on a personal and professional level. I was at Paradigm for nearly 6 years and I joined a risk consulting division within a software company as head of Risk Services working with global companies such as Rolls Royce, Rio Tinto and Saudi Aramco. I was then asked to join Zurich Insurance to head up the Information Governance transformation programme. Since joining Zurich I have progressed to Head of Risk and most lately to the Chief Risk Officer for UK General Insurance

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Transition to Civvy Life

I personally found the transition to be difficult as I did not have a plan but I was lucky to have some support from other ex RAF people who helped me find that all important first job. Since then I have taken matters into my own hands; I have gained an MSc in Corporate Risk and Security Management, gained other qualifications and experience within my chosen area of expertise and created opportunities as a result. I prefer to operate in specialist areas than general roles but the military background enabled me to succeed in both by blending my new skills with the leadership and management skills from the RAF. By seeking new challenges and stepping out of my comfort zone, I have shown I am adaptable and open-minded to change and I think this is a great asset to all employers.

The business landscape constantly shifts and the competition needs to be responded to. As a consequence, being open to change and dealing with it in a positive frame of mind has helped me to see through many moments of change that would faze others. Yes it has been unsettling but facing up to the uncertainty and dealing with ambiguity are key skills service personnel have and they have served me well.



Skills transferred from RAF days

Enterprise risk management: This is a key skill of most military staff even if it is called other things. Any leadership role will help develop such skills but the basic skills required to “know your enemy” and how you can develop tactics to counter the enemy is basic risk management. Broaden that across the organisation and you have the “Enterprise” element.

Risk management: Practitioner in project, programme and corporate risk management including the use of quantitative models to support effective decision making and distribution of funding.

Information governance: Establishing Information Governance frameworks and practices within a UK subsidiary of Zurich and providing expertise to Global initiatives. The basic security rules in the Joint Services Manual stood the test of time. Military staff understand classification and security of data so these skills transferred very easily. This is a key risk to be managed in most businesses these days

Programme/project risk: Quantitative analysis of capital projects and programmes to determine confidence of delivery to time and cost prior to contract signature and to ensure ongoing confidence in delivery schedules post-contract. I learnt the basic skills in the RAF and continued to develop them further.

Training: Training needs analysis. course design and delivery of awareness and staff training regimes to affect cultural change of behaviours to protecting customer data or in support of implementing risk management methodologies and tools. I think anyone in the military will recognise these skills.

Alastair talks about the value of being involved with the Institute of Risk Management:

“I have heavily invested in training within my team fully aligned to the IRM to complete both the Certificate in Risk Management and the Diploma.  We have changed the   requirements of the risk roles to strengthen risk professionalism and to provide credibility in the business based on best practices.  This has involved over 14 staff across the business taking these qualifications in the last 12 months and we have completed over 12 other short courses to specifically learn new skills and get fresh insight into current risk practices.  These have included Risk Reporting, Developing KPIs, Risk Workshop facilitation, Fundamentals of Risk Management and several others – staying competent is a key factor in this role”.

MP Crispin Blunt visits Surrey ACF Part.2

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Lance Corporal Josh Blackstone, 16, is a student in his first year at Reigate College and has been a member of Reigate Detachment for two years.  He said “I want a career in the military – either the Paras or the Marines – and so I thought joining the ACF would give me an insight.  It’s a lot of fun and I get a lot out of it.  My favourite activities are the weekend exercises, shooting and fieldcraft.

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Cadet Justin Kent, 13, is a pupil at Reigate School.  Justin is from Florida in the United States and joined the ACF a year ago.  Sadly he is due to leave the UK shortly with his family but hopes to rejoin the detachment when they come back next year.  He said “I want to be a Navy Seal and in the US we don’t have anything like the Army Cadets.  I’ve really enjoyed the fieldcraft and the weekend training and I think it’s given me an idea of what it might be like if I did become a Navy Seal one day”.


Cadet Charlie Hill, 15, is a pupil at Eagle House School in Sutton.  Charlie has been a member of Banstead Detachment ACF since January this year.  He said “I want to join the Army when I leave school; my Great Grandad was with the Middlesex Regiment on Gold Beach.”  He added “I really enjoy the Weekend exercises – staying out in the in the field – although I’m not so keen on doing night sentry though!  I’ve made lots of new friends and I’m looking forward to going on camp.

Vlad Jaruss

Cadet Vlad Jaruss, 13, has been a cadet with Redhill Detachment ACF for eight months and is a pupil at Warwick School.  He said “I was going through town and I saw a poster advertising the ACF.  I then went online and I liked the look of the opportunities and of being in uniform.”  He added “Now I’m here I especially enjoy drill and shooting and the fitness.  With shooting it’s really difficult getting all the shots close together. “

Ella Brown

Cadet Ella Brown, 13, is a pupil at Royal Alexandra and Albert School in Reigate where she is a boarder and also member of the ACF Detachment at the school.  She said “About nine months ago I was the cadets on parade at Remembrance and I thought “Yes, that’s me” and as I was bored at the weekends I thought I’d give it a go”.  Ella enjoys First Aid and the Field Training Weekends.  She said, “It’s great to be in a scenario and the casualty evacuations and first aid are fun”.

MP Crispin Blunt visits Surrey ACF

Reigate Detachment ACF based in Albion Road were delighted to receive a visit from the MP for Reigate, Mr Crispin Bunt on Thursday 30th June.

Mr Blunt inspected all twenty three cadets who were on parade, and took time to speak to them all, before watching demonstrations of them conducting first aid and skill at arms training.


Mr Blunt, himself a former Army Officer with the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary’s Own) said “Meeting motivated Cadets and instructors plainly enjoying what they do was a particular pleasure. Serving in the Army Cadets helps begin a habit of voluntary public service to our society that is an unqualified good. The Surrey detachment on parade were a credit to the Queen’s uniform.”

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PI Jack Phillips, 21, is a volunteer adult instructor with the Reigate Detachment Army Cadet Force.  A former ACF cadet himself from Dorking, Jack works at Gatwick Airport.  He said “I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my time as a cadet and I found I missed it.  Now I have a bit of life experience and so I think it’s good to come back as an adult in a mentoring role.  I like to think that I’m a face here at the unit that the cadets can trust and talk to and that they feel welcome”.  He added “On a personal level I want to do as many courses as I can – there are so many opportunities for both cadets and adult volunteers – I’d like to do Activity First Aid and then advanced First Aid, as well as all the fieldcraft and the Duke of Edinburgh training qualifications.”

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Corporal Ellie Simpson, 15, has been a cadet with Redhill Detachment ACF for the past three years.  A pupil at The Warwick School she said “I joined the ACF as it looked really interesting and I wanted to meet new people.  I’ve met some of closest friends at ACF and have done loads of different things.  Going on the two annual camps has been the most fun.

Juliana Crone

Lance Corporal Juliana Crone, 14 is a pupil at St Bede’s School and has been a cadet with Reigate Detachment ACF for almost three years.  She said “I joined because my Mum said it would look good on my CV with all the different activities and qualifications you can get.  I’ve made really good friends and I enjoy it.  It makes me different from other people”.



Employer Engagement event on board HMS Victory Part.2

Councillor Frank Jonas the Armed Forces Champion accepted the MOD Silver Employer award on behalf of Portsmouth City Council.

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Denise addressed the Silver Award winners which included her own Hospital NHS Trust. She said, “I am so proud to represent the Royal Naval Reserve.”

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Royal Navy Reservist Denise Wright, who works as a Nurse t the Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, is a member of HMS King Alfred based on Whale Island in Portsmouth 

Mr Heppenstall addressed the Silver Award recipients and said, “Three years ago QinetiQ accepted the same award, I congratulate you all, continue to do what you have signed up for, and remember the challenge – Silver is good but there is much more to do, Gold is the next step!”

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Mr Joe Heppenstall, Resourcing Lead at QinetiQ and the company’s Reserves Champion 

Captain Matt Loughrey, Commander of Brompton Academy Combined Cadet Force said, “We have been set up now for around 18 months and our contingent Army section is up to 40 – 50 strong.”

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Matt Loughrey accepted the Silver Award on behalf of Brompton Academy, a forward thinking and vibrant Academy based in Gillingham Kent. One of the first state schools to establish and develop a thriving Combined Cadet Force. 

More photos can be seen here

Employer Engagement event on board HMS Victory

Thirteen organisations and businesses from across the South East of the England were awarded the highly prestigious Silver Employer Recognition certificate by the Ministry of Defence.  The ceremony was held on board the magnificent and historic ship, HMS Victory, in Portsmouth.

Awards were presented by the Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire Mr Nigel Atkinson, Naval Secretary,  Rear Admiral Simon Williams and Major General John Crackett, Director of Army Reserves.

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The Ministry of Defence Silver Award Winners were: Arqiva, Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust, Brompton Academy, Buckinghamshire New University, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Jacobs, Jankel Armouring Ltd, MKC Training Services Ltd, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Portsmouth City Council, Redhills, Sunstone IP Systems Ltd, Virgin Media, Woking Borough Council 

The Employer Recognition Scheme was launched in 2014 by the Prime Minister to recognise employer support for the wider principles of the Armed Forces Covenant.  The Scheme encompasses bronze, silver and gold awards for employers that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to Defence and the Armed Forces community.

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Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust were presented with a Silver Award 

Arqiva is a leading UK communications infrastructure provider, connecting people through TV, radio, mobile phones, WiFi and the internet. Customers include the BBC, ITV and Sky plc.

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Miss Victoria Hall accepted the Silver Award on behalf of Arqiva

Fiona Murphy Regional Manager for Redhills, who is a Combat Medic and Army Reservist and a member of the Princess of Wales’s Regiment, accepted the Silver award from the Lord Lieutenant. Redhills is the UK’s  largest asbestos and environmental consultancy offering asbestos management, consultancy and training services.

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Fiona Murphy accepted the Silver Award on behalf of her employer

More photos can be seen here