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SkillForce Pupils Set Sail To Boost Confidence and Resilience

Northumberland primary school pupils have developed their resilience and teamwork skills after completing a voyage along the River Tyne.

Twenty schoolchildren from Year 5 at St Michael’s Church of England Primary School on Howling Lane in Alnwick completed the two-day boat trip this month.

The excursion was organised by SkillForce and the Ocean Youth Trust sailing charity, and funded by the Whirlwind Trust.

During the trip, the pupils travelled from North Shields Marina to Newcastle upon Tyne covering a total distance of 20 miles. They learnt how to prepare themselves and the yacht for sailing, and about steering the vessel, and how to prepare meals.

Gavin Johnston, Headteacher of St Michael’s Primary, said: “This was an exceptional experience for our children.  They were positively glowing with the excitement of the voyage, working with new people, learning new skills and being together in this unique and stimulating way. Their ongoing work with SkillForce is of a very high quality. It is like having all the benefits of a residential experience every week.  They can’t wait for the next session to begin.”

The ocean voyage, from October 11th to 12th, complements the work that SkillForce already does with St Michael’s Church of England Primary School where it runs the SkillForce Junior Prince’s Award programme, which is supported by the charity’s Royal Patron HRH The Duke of Cambridge.

The award scheme, for 9 to 14-year-olds, comprises 40 hours of activities delivered in schools for two hours a week throughout the academic year by our Instructors who are predominantly ex-Services personnel.

The activities are designed to develop character, resilience, confidence, teamwork and problem solving skills and include teamwork challenges, community projects, first aid and an overnight residential.

More than 4,000 school pupils nationally have taken part in the award scheme, supported by investment company Standard Life, which is part of its work to help young people build skills and to help them prosper, since it launched in 2014.

Ben Slade, Chief Executive, SkillForce, said: “Our vision is to become the UK’s leading provider of character education and resilience training for children and young people drawing on the expertise of ex-Services personnel.”

He added: “We work with schools to help transform lives enabling children and young people to build character, self confidence and resilience. There is growing recognition that schools can play a vital role supporting the development of character traits that will help pupils to get on in education and life, which is where our programmes fit in.”


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