Students were virtually joined by a range of representatives from the British Army, Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Marine Commandos, to celebrate and raise awareness of Armed Forces Day.
The main activity of the day was ‘A conversation with the Armed Forces’ guest panellists who discussed everything military and answered questions posed by students. The panel featured Sergeant Jay McIlroy, a representative from the RAF Motivational Outreach Team; Mark Oxley, Royal Navy Career Advisor; Lance Sergeant Robert Greeno, British Army Recruitment Co-ordinator; Valerie Johnson, an adult cadet at Army Cadet Force; and Pauline King, Assistant Regional Employer Engagement Director at Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association for Yorkshire and The Humber.
Lance Sergeant Greeno, been in the Army eight years and is currently serving with the Coldstream Guards. He said: “I think it’s really important that students get a clear understanding of what the Army offers. There are a lot of misconceptions of what the Army does, be that through film and television, or video games. The Army has seven different career streams that cover combat, logistics and support, to HR and finance – and everything in between.
“My advice to anyone thinking of an Army career would be to take a look – there is no two days the same and I’ve made friends for life whilst gaining all sorts of qualifications and life experiences I wouldn’t have had the chance to get if I hadn’t joined.”
Students were then joined by Royal Air Force veteran Jayne Hellowell, who shared her inspirational journey in the armed forces and spoke about the work that Barnsley Council do to support the Armed Forces Covenant and the armed forces community in Barnsley.
Louise Peppard, Senior Strategy Business Manager at Rotherham, Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust, shared with the students the Foundation’s Armed Forces Covenant journey and what it is like to have a son in the armed forces.
Speaker Gavin Day, UK Organisational Development Manager at Premdor, talked to students about his 15-year career in the armed forces; in the 23 Parachute Engineer Regiment Reservist, the dedicated Regular Army Engineer Regiment of 16 Air Assault Brigade.
Students also had the opportunity to listen to guest speaker Ronnie Erskine talk about his career in the RAF as an engineer spanning 23 years’ service, the different career paths available within the Armed Forces and shared an insight into what an RAF Engineer does on a day-to-day basis.
Students first heard from Richard Gettings, an ex-police officer and spokesperson for the Daparian Foundation. He was accompanied by military veterans Gareth Stanton and Andy Cunnington, both of whom have been diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The session covered topics to highlight what PTSD is, their own experiences with it, life in the military and the plans for The Daparian Foundation moving forward.
Richard said: “The Daparian Foundation are passionate about passing on to the students at Barnsley College the lessons we’ve learnt through our individual journeys with PTSD and hope very much that our lived experiences empower and enable them all to become their best selves. We are honoured to contribute to the College’s Armed Forces Day and hope that our involvement encouraged the students to consider an exciting and fulfilling career in our Armed Forces, whom the Nation is rightly proud of and indebted to.”
Lee Perks, Cultural Capital and Personal Development Co-ordinator at Barnsley College, added: “Following the signing of the Armed Forces Covenant, the Enterprise Team worked hard to create an event to celebrate and raise awareness of our Armed Forces by welcoming in some fantastic guest speakers. It is extremely important that we continue to do this across the College to help our students to not only understand the opportunities available to them in the Armed Forces but the support they can expect to receive when they have finished their service. Thank you to all of our speakers who attended our inaugural Armed Forces Day, I am extremely excited to start planning next year’s!”
Last updated: 24th May 2021