One of the Royal Navy’s most senior Admirals gave a newly formed Royal Marines Combined Cadet Force section the official seal of approval at Ernest Bevin College in Tooting, South London.
Vice Admiral Jonathon Woodcock OBE, Second Sea Lord and Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff took time out from his busy schedule in Portsmouth to attend the Grand Opening ceremony of the college’s Royal Marines CCF Detachment, which was hosted by Rukhsana Sheikh, Principal of Ernest Bevin College.
“We are very excited to launch the Combined Cadet Force at Ernest Bevin College because of the opportunities it will provide for our students, particularly in gaining leadership skills and expanding their horizons,” said Rukhsana. “We are grateful for all the support we have received from both the Royal Marines and Royal Navy in preparing for our cadets’ first parade and look forward to the expansion of the unit and the opportunities this will bring.”
Admiral Woodcock inspected the Cadets before he took the salute and made a formal address to assembled VIPs, parents and staff at the college. The creation of the new unit makes Ernest Bevin’s cadets only the second CCF Royal Marines Detachment in the whole of London.
Geography teacher Captain Nick Mason is The Royal Marines CCF Contingent Commander . He has taught at Ernest Bevin’s since 2008 and previously served in the British Army as a platoon commander with the Mercian Regiment. “It’s been a fantastic day for the College and I‘m really proud of our cadets,” said Nick.“To be at the start of something that is going to be big makes me very proud. The way it’s all come together has been great and It’s also been a good experience for the parents, who’ve come along to see what we are doing and understand that this is all about leadership, teamwork and communication.”
The New RM CCF unit is part of the Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP), which aims to instil values in young people that will help them get the most out of their lives, and contribute to their communities across the country.
The pupils are developing qualities such as self-discipline, loyalty and respect, strong leadership, teamwork and resilience. The programme focuses on CCF units ensuring that as many pupils from a state school have the chance to experience the life-enriching activities of military cadets as part of school life. This creates positive benefits in all areas of school life including the character skills strongly valued by employers such as leadership, teamwork, communication, integrity and career progression.
The CCF is a voluntary youth organisation that operates in state and independent schools across the country. Each section; Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army or Royal Air Force is administered and sponsored by its respective service, in Ernest Bevin’s case the Royal Navy.
“I’ve been in the Cadets for about six months and it’s been interesting and really good,” said Lance Corporal Areeb Sheikh (17) and in year 12. “I like being part of a group like this and I’m gaining a lot of confidence, working together with others. I get a lot of pride being one of Ernest Bevin’s, Royal Marines Cadets.”