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RAF Careers Day,

29 Oct. 2003

During the half term twenty-five youth hockey players accompanied by Welsh Hockey Union staff and members of the Welsh Hockey Youth Forum disembarked at the gates of RAF St.Athan. The main purpose for this invasion was to publicise hockey in the local area and promote future careers in the RAF. Players were invited to this day through contacts made by the Youth Forum to their clubs or schools.

After the groups were formed with equal numbers of boys and girls the day began in earnest! The youth players were handed special RAF t-shirts that although buried most of the girls made the group more identifiable. The programme for the day consisted of several separate topics to test the body and the mind.

The warm up was in true RAF style lead by the PTI, which succeeded in making sure everybody was moderately warm. The PTI ensured that no one was safe from embarrassment by testing our co-ordination or lack of! From the warm up, the groups separated off into the different areas already set up by RAF.

First on the agenda was some SAQ training. This session was also taken by the PTI, which meant we were in for some very physical work. SAQ stands for Speed Agility and Quickness meaning that all the exercises that we were to take part in were very relevant to the game of hockey. The explosion work was very game specific and a lot of fun, as being able to use the materials was challenging to say the least.

The SAQ training led us nicely into lunch, where we were all treated to lunch in the Sergeants Mess. After lunch we had more time to recover as we had a discussion on future possible careers in the RAF. This ended in a question and answer session where many queries were resolved.

Next up was the Personal Development part of the day. This allowed the players to demonstrate their abilities to ‘think outside the box’ and their leadership skills. Although the communication broke down in one particular group as the simple task of placing a bamboo cane on the floor went drastically wrong. In fact the bamboo cane actually started levitating!

Hockey training followed the Personal Development, where there was a chance to improve personal skills. Questionnaires where then answered by the young players which gave them the opportunity to express their own opinions on how the day functioned.

The day ended with a mini hockey tournament where the individuals were able to show off their individual skills and their newly found leadership skills. Overall the day generated lots of laughter and I am thinking an early night for many!

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