Army Gears Up!


Stafford based soldiers are to lead a joint project helping young people from Stoke to build all terrain buggies and pick up valuable engineering skills and qualifications along the way.

The initiative is a joint venture between the Army, the Prince’s Charities, Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Stoke-On -Trent College, Stoke-on-Trent Connexions and is part of a wider set of projects being run by the Prince’s Charities to regenerate the Burslem area of Stoke-on-Trent.

The project, which will be launched on 11 February at the college’s Burslem campus, is designed to teach the young people not only engineering, team work and life skills but also to give them formal qualifications.

Soldiers from 22 Signal Regiment Light Aid Detachment (Army mechanics who are part of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers REME) based at MOD Stafford, will lead the first of a series of six courses over the next two years.

Subsequent courses will be taught by soldiers from the local Territorial Army unit based in the Stoke-on-Trent area.

The first course, which will be held for two days a week over six weeks, will begin on 12 February at MOD Stafford where 15 young people aged between 16 and 19 will be given the opportunity to broaden their practical skills as well as study for a recognised City and Guilds qualification in Motor Vehicle Mechanics.

The Tactical Engineering Development (TED) course will give the youngsters not only hands-on experience but will also help enhance their educational performance and achievements.

Brigadier Gerhard Wheeler CBE, Commander of 143 (West Midlands) Brigade and head of the Army in the Midlands said:

“The British Army is delighted to be able to contribute to the regeneration of Burslem; we are up for the challenge. We pride ourselves on our ability to motivate young people to strive for success so this project is right up our street.  In helping young men and women from the area to develop the skills they need for employment or further education, we hope, in a small way, that we will be able to repay a community that has supported us so well in the past.“

Warrant Officer (Class 2) Raymond Miller, the Youth Engagement Warrant Officer for the project, said:

“The TED course is a fantastic opportunity for the Army to offer something back to our communities, particularly in Stoke-on-Trent. The young people who complete the course will gain a City and Guilds qualification in Mechanics as well as learning new skills such as team-work which they can take on to whatever they choose to do next. Teaching them in a military environment offers a great experience to our young soldiers in developing their own skills and using positive role models will also help motivate the local youths.”

The original project was launched in Burnley three years ago after the Prince’s Charities began a project to regenerate the area and has been developed to include partners including British Aerospace, A1 Road Services and other engineering companies in the area.

The idea of Tactical Engineering Development (TEDs) was originally devised by youth engagement soldiers from the Army’s 42 (North West) Brigade.

Paul Johnson, Assistant Director for Engineering and Motor Vehicle at Stoke-on-Trent College, said:

“The Burslem TED project sponsored by the Prince’s Charities, the Army, Local Authority and Stoke-on-Trent College will provide a great opportunity for young people in the area to take part in a range of activities including building an off road buggy that will provide training and support to enhance their work-ready skills, to enable them to progress into further training or employment.”

A spokesman for the Prince’s Charities added:

“We have valued our constructive partnership with the Army in both Burnley and recently in Redcar. We are delighted to be working closely with them in Stoke- On -Trent and know how much they bring to the young people on this programme.”

Councillor Alan Dutton, Stoke-on-Trent City Council cabinet member for education, said: “This is a really exciting chance for young people in the city to learn new skills and show what they can do.

“Council youth workers and career advisors are supporting the project. It is a highly innovative initiative and I applaud the work of all the partners in creating such a unique opportunity.

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