Recently VLUK were approached by the army engagement team to discuss potential reciprocal opportunities to benefit our learners. Barry and Lee, army enrichment officers, approached Neil Ouldridge, Head of Learner Experience, to come up with ideas of how we could work together to promote the army as well as enriching our learner’s education.
On Wednesday 1st December 2021, Neil, Barry and Lee and the learners from our Long Eaton United Campus were fortunate enough to be invited to the Military of Defence Army base in Stafford.The day started at 10am with a presentation from the Army that was shaped around looking at the 200 plus Career Trades that the Army have to offer, along with the fantastic sporting opportunities that can go alongside a career in the Army for sports performers at all levels of ability.
The learners were then invited to play a football fixture against The Queens Gurkhas Signals Regiment, who are based at the Staffordshire M O D. The Queens Ghurkhas wanted to use this as an opportunity to prepare for their defence of The Nepal Cup, of which they have been proud winners for the past 2 years. They even flew a player in from Somalia to play in the game!
Despite the game taking place in 90 minutes of torrential rain, Long Eaton united went on to win the game 7-2, but more importantly the game was played in a great competitive spirit, with many high ranking Army personnel commenting on the fabulous behaviour, conduct and maturity that our learners displayed both on and off the pitch.
Following on from the match, we were entertained with a presentation from The Queen’s Gurkhas Regiment, with the most poignant part hearing about the journey a Gurkha will need to undertake from starting off as a young boy in Asia to fulfilling their dream of serving as a Gurkha in the Army.
During the rest of the academic year all of our campuses, sport and performing arts, will have the opportunity to get involved in events with the army. Current discussions include the Edinburgh festival and more involvement with girls football.