Stn Trg Day 30 Apr 21

Due to COVID-19 restrictions this training day was different to most of its predecessors, as we couldn’t mix personnel from around the station for face to face training. FDS worked very hard to come up with a programme that would be interesting and valuable to everyone.

We aimed to get a mix of facilitators from around Stn, the wider RAF and some external training providers and the hard work paid off, as we were left with a daunting list of 36 different serials. We had to organise, advertise, manage and finally pray that Teams or Skype were on their best behaviour. In fact, the programme was so daunting that FS Wright plotted an elaborate escape and booked onto her AMLC! In fairness, this was her last opportunity to do it via distance learning, rather than spending 2 weeks at Halton, so I think we would have all done the same.

FDS is very thankful for all the ideas and volunteers from around station that came running to our calls for aid (or were potentially pushed our way by their superiors). We managed to get great facilitators from 1ISR, 51 Sqn, 54 Sqn, 8 Sqn, 39 Sqn, XIII Sqn and ISTAR Force A2 to give a great insight into their ethos and heritage or their roles in Air Power and operations. Particularly impressive was the dedication of Flt Lt Reece, who stayed up until 0300 in the USA to talk about 39 Sqn. Under the leadership banner we had two interactive sessions, OC FDS was first out to bat with a workshop on Conquering Effective Thinking and Flt Lt’s Sale, Deeble and Green ran an Action Centred Leadership Scenario. The other station volunteers were Sgt Rundle running 2 popular Mental Resilience workshops and the CI team delivering an interactive session on Leading Effective Change.

We were fortunate to also get some excellent external facilitators to support our training day. Sgt Horrocks delivered a session about the Human Performance work he implemented during Op AZOTIZE, that could bring about big changes from the way PTIs work in the future. Michelle Turner, former RAF Sgt, shared her very personal journey from the heartbreak of medical discharge to competing in the Invictus Games, that left even the most emotionless Yorkshireman with something in his eye. Dr Dave Sloggett was the most popular session of the day; considered a world expert in Hybrid Warfare, he delivered a fascinating brief in this subject. Look out for more briefs from him later in the year.

Working within the COVID-19 protocols we also managed to get some lucky personnel out of the office, doing something practical and interacting with others, face to face. On station, Sgt Grice and Cpl’s Thompson and Jansen got to grips with the new state of the art Low Ropes course, Sgts Robertson and Yarwood ran some Mobile Team Challenge sessions – both highly recommended for anyone wanting to organise some team building. But the personnel I was most jealous of were FS Renaud, Sgt’s Smith and Harrison and Cpl’s Housley-Stott and Rands who all took groups climbing or walking in the Peak District or mountain biking at Sherwood Pines in great weather conditions. It took a lot of effort, paperwork and last-minute LFDs but we managed to get some groups on the hill; we have been without AT for way too long.

The day went fantastically well, so a big thank-you to all the facilitators and attendees for making it a big success. Even Teams and Skype held up relatively well, barring a few minor issues…and the one presentation where the STO sent out the wrong link – but no one mentioned that. The next station training day will be held in Sep, please look out for advertisements on Teams.