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Students see victory on the battlefield

Posted: 18 March 2024

Eight ‘troops’ from West Nottinghamshire College saw victory on the battlefield, after dealing with bomb disposal, accuracy with firearms and responding to emergency incidents.

The college took part in The Army Engagement Team’s inter-college challenge, known as the Polar Bear Challenge. This was formerly known as the Desert Rat Challenge and is named after the Engagement Teams’ new brigade.

The Polar Bear Challenge saw West Nottinghamshire College compete with Derby College, Loughborough College, Brooksby Melton College, and the Military Preparation College in Nottingham. Student troops from each establishment involved in intense training of military tactics, techniques and procedures.

The Army Engagement Team exposed uniformed protective services students to a range of scenarios that tested their retention and application of knowledge they are being taught at college, at its at Chetwynd Barracks in Chilwell.

The challenge saw patrols undergo a period of training of tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). These were then applied throughout the day and tested in relevant scenarios, which are designed to give students a taste of life in the Army.

All college participants joined in these tasks including explosive ordinance disposal (bomb disposal), undertaking command tasks and scaling the climbing wall physical challenge. Troops also had to respond to an emergency incident involving an unconscious casualty, performing a primary survey followed by CPR and a secondary survey.

The groups were also introduced to the military village where they spoke to reservists from different regiments within the army, as well as having a go at marksmanship in the indoor shooting range.

Students who led West Nottinghamshire College to winning the challenge were Thor Smith, Cam Hopkinson, Harry Fretwell, Fiona Goodwin, Sav Kamienowski, Marianna Bule, Kayla Gilberthorpe and Jack Mellors.

Student Marianna Bule, 19, who would like to become a police officer and become a reservist alongside this career, said: “It was an amazing experience which everyone enjoyed. It allowed us to improve our teamwork and leadership skills whilst getting stuck into activities that we are passionate about and that are relevant to our future careers.

“It was a very competitive environment between the different colleges, everyone was determined to win and did their best in every challenge by being resilient and actively taking part.

“Things went wrong at times, but the team got back together and reevaluated the situation to improve and excel the second time. It has truly given me an insight of what life in the army is like from the experiences that the serving soldiers and reservists told us.”

Chetwynd Barracks’ Engagement Youth Warrant Officer class 2 Wayne Hall said: “The aim of this event was to provide an interesting and challenging competition replicated over two days. At the same time, it exposed students to life on a working Army camp and provided an opportunity to engage and interact with soldiers from a variety of roles and trades via a mini-military village.

“These students had a lot to live up to as the West Notts College team was the reigning champion from 2023. They worked as a close team with good communication and leadership skills. Fiona demonstrated strong leadership qualities and was happy to accept feedback from the group to ensure the team performed at its best.

“It was great to see these students again and we look forward to seeing how the college team perform next year. They are a credit to the college and their teacher Sam Fallows.”

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