Mission-critical learning tools for military training and outreach
Learning in military settings needs to be hands-on, practical and engaging if it is to replicate the challenges military personnel face both in conflict and peacetime situations. Activities that build team-working, leadership and communication skills are essential. And activities that help to demonstrate the wide expertise of the armed forces in areas like engineering and science can be a key part of recruitment and outreach programmes.
According to careers advisers at the Royal Navy, skills crucial for military careers go way beyond the more obvious technical and physical capabilities. They include a whole range of transferable life skills like leadership, teamwork and problem solving.
Recruitment and outreach
How do you give a flavour of the kinds of challenges military personnel face in conflict situations, without replicating a whole conflict situation? How do you demonstrate to a class of 13-year-olds that a career in the military is a great way to harness and build skills in Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics? MTa’s flexible approach to experiential learning is proven as a successful part of recruitment and outreach programmes by armies, air forces and naval/marine units around the world.
Demonstrating STEM expertise is one of the most effective ways for military outreach programmes to get school students thinking about a career in the military, and schools and colleges welcome the opportunity for military personnel to help bring STEM subjects to life. MTa’s STEM kit has 24 experiential activities that encourage and support young people to explore, understand and develop a wide range of interpersonal and team skills with a focus on STEM subjects. You could use the kit to give students hands-on experience of the skills they can use and develop in military careers.
Defence Munitions Kineton, part of the UK Ministry of Defence have used the STEM kit both in schools outreach and in its internal training programmes. “Our instructors love how dynamic the kit is. We’ve used it with primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and even businesses who want to do some team building activities with us,” says Staff Sergeant Frazer Stark.
“This should be the first piece of STEM material you should buy. It’s versatile, it lasts and it’s cost effective. Combine it with a few laptops and a pneumatic rocket launcher and you’re all set to deliver STEM, adds Chris Mossman, Chief Technician, Defence Munitions Kineton
The STEM kit is equally at home demonstrating the skills learned in the Air Force. RAF High Wycombe Youth Activities Team have used MTa kits for youth engagement visits to schools and colleges.
“We use the kit with students of all ages, and we always have positive results … The students learn vital teamwork and communication skills from the activities, which are easy to deliver because of the comprehensive manuals that are provided with the kit, says Simon Owen, RAF High Wycombe Youth Activities Team.
“I would recommend MTa kit to anyone who works with young people and wants to help them develop teamwork, communication and other important skills that will help them while at school and later in life,” he adds.
Tough kits for tough environments
MTa’s training kits are also great for use outside the classroom and can be part of training programmes for new recruits, and for developing leadership skills as military personnel progress in their careers. A major benefit is that MTa kits are versatile, portable and highly durable, so they can be used anywhere, including on expeditions in tough environments.
“[Our instructors] love how tough the kit is. It’s hard wearing and has survived trips up and down mountains, across the country and the barracks,” says Staff Sergeant Frazer Stark, at Defence Munitions Kineton.
As well as the STEM kit, you could use MTa Team Kit to help develop more advanced team-working and communication skills. This kit contains 16 activities that encourage and support participants to explore, understand and develop a wide range of interpersonal and team skills.
Become a skilled facilitator
Military training personnel can get the most of MTa activities by becoming skilled facilitators who really understand the principles and philosophy of experiential learning by taking part in masterclasses through the MTa Academy.
Five trainers at RAF Halton, one of the Royal Air Force’s largest airbases, completed a three-day programme to better understand experiential learning, familiarize themselves with different kits, develop facilitation skills and receive feedback on their performance.
“The MTa course gave me the confidence to use the equipment effectively with the trainees, allowing them to develop personally and professionally. I now run regular team-building and leadership exercises, giving trainees the opportunity to work together, review their performances and have some fun” says Corporal Michelle O’Connell, who trains pilots who are awaiting trade training (SATTs) after completing their basic training.
Find out how you can run high- impact activities that give young people a real insight into the skills they can learn in the military with the MTa STEM kit. All 24 activites are hands-on and demand active engagement making them particularly popular with military personnel and school children alike. And special military versions of kits are available in appropriate colours and with matching holdalls so they don’t look out of place in the field.